Endocrine Tests

Endocrine Lab Testing and health information

Do you have an endocrine disorder?

We provide comprehensive diagnostic testing to diagnose and monitor early endocrine disorders such as diabetes, thyroid diseases, pituitary disorders, and adrenal gland issues.

The endocrine system regulates your hormones, which are the chemical messengers that control all of your body’s functions. When something goes wrong with this system, it can lead to a group of conditions that affect the way your body uses its hormones. They can cause problems like obesity, infertility, diabetes, and various health problems, including thyroid nodules and Graves disease. These endocrine disorders are a group of conditions that affect how your body uses its hormones. They can cause serious health problems if left untreated.

If you want to learn more about endocrine disorders and the lab tests that can help you, click on the title of the articles below.

Endocrine Disorders and Lab Testing - What You Need to Know

Lab tests for Endocrine disorders are available at Ulta Lab Tests. We offer a comprehensive range of diagnostic testing services to help detect and monitor the early stages of the disease, including diabetes, thyroid diseases, pituitary disorders, adrenal gland problems, and more.

If you’re looking for accurate results that are available in 1 to 2 business days after specimen collection, then our lab testing services are perfect for you. We provide fast access to high-quality diagnostic testing to get started on treatment as soon as possible.

Don't delay until it's too late; order the endocrine lab tests that are best for you from the list below.


Name Matches

Description: ACTH is a blood test that measures the amount of the adrenocorticotropic hormone in the body’s system. The results can be used to help diagnose or monitor a hormone imbalance or a specific condition or disease related to the pituitary gland.

Also Known As: Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Test, Corticotropin Test, Cosyntropin Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Plasma

Test Preparation: Collect specimen between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. If drawn at any other time, the reference ranges do not apply

When is an ACTH test ordered?

When a cortisol test reveals aberrant results or when someone has indications or symptoms of excess or inadequate cortisol, an ACTH test may be recommended.

Cortisol excess can induce the following symptoms:

  • Obesity
  • Fat between the shoulders
  • Red, rounded face
  • Skin that is fragile and thin
  • Purple lines on the abdomen
  • Muscle loss
  • Acne
  • Skin problems
  • Excessive body hair
  • Fatigue

High blood pressure, low potassium, high bicarbonate, high glucose levels, and occasionally diabetes are all common with these symptoms.

People with low cortisol levels may have symptoms such as:

  • Muscle wasting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of weight
  • Skin pigmentation increases, even in places not exposed to the sun
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Cravings for salt

Low blood pressure, low blood glucose, low sodium, high potassium, and high calcium are frequently found in conjunction with these symptoms.

Several of the following symptoms are commonly associated with hypopituitarism:

  • Appetite loss
  • Fatigue
  • Menstrual cycle irregularity
  • Sexual organ dysfunction
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Urination during the night
  • Unprecedented weight loss
  • Hot flashes
  • sensitivity to cold

When a pituitary tumor causes symptoms, the affected person may also experience symptoms related to the compression of adjacent cells and nerves. The tumor, for example, can modify the pattern of headaches. It can also impair the nerves that control vision, creating symptoms like "tunnel vision," localized visual loss, or "double vision."

What does an ACTH blood test check for?

Adrenocorticotropic hormone is a hormone that promotes cortisol production. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands that regulates glucose, protein, and lipid metabolism, suppresses the immune system's reaction, and aids in blood pressure regulation. This test determines how much ACTH is present in the blood.

The pituitary gland is responsible for producing ACTH. The pituitary gland is a network of glands that work together to create hormones that operate on organs, tissues, and other glands to govern systems throughout the body. It is located below the brain in the center of the head.

ACTH levels rise when cortisol levels are low and fall when cortisol levels are high. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone in response to a drop in blood cortisol levels. This causes the pituitary gland to produce ACTH, which in turn stimulates the adrenal glands, which are small organs at the top of each kidney, to produce cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Conditions affecting the hypothalamus, pituitary, or adrenal glands can disrupt the regulation of ACTH and cortisol production, causing the glands to generate more or less of the hormones. This can result in signs and symptoms linked with cortisol excess or insufficiency. Cushing disease, Addison disease, and hypopituitarism are all conditions that impact ACTH. Some tumors outside of the pituitary, such as those in the lungs, can also produce ACTH, which raises cortisol levels.

Lab tests often ordered with an ACTH test:

  • Cortisol
  • Cortrosyn Stimulation test
  • Dexamethasone Suppression Test
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where an ACTH test is recommended:

  • Addison Disease
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes

How does my health care provider use an ACTH test?

ACTH blood tests are used to detect, diagnose, and monitor problems related with excessive or deficient cortisol in the body, usually in conjunction with cortisol tests. These circumstances include:

  • Cushing disease is characterized by high cortisol levels caused by an ACTH-producing tumor in the pituitary gland.
  • Cushing syndrome refers to the symptoms and signs of high cortisol levels; it can be caused by an adrenal tumor, adrenal hyperplasia, steroid use, or an ACTH-producing tumor outside the pituitary, such as in the lungs.
  • Cortisol production is reduced in Addison disease due to adrenal gland injury.
  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency: pituitary dysfunction causes decreased cortisol production.
  • Hypopituitarism is pituitary dysfunction or injury that causes the pituitary to produce less hormones, notably ACTH.

Because the level of ACTH generally varies in the opposite direction of the level of cortisol, measuring both can assist distinguish between some of these diseases.

If abnormal levels are found, a healthcare professional will do additional testing to confirm the results and discover the cause.

What do my ACTH test results mean?

The interpretation of the results can be difficult in many circumstances. ACTH and cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day. ACTH levels are normally highest in the morning and lowest at night. It will increase cortisol production, which will follow the same daily rhythm as ACTH but rise later in the day and fall later in the evening. This diurnal rhythm is frequently disrupted by conditions that influence ACTH and cortisol synthesis.

ACTH and cortisol patterns associated with various illnesses of the adrenal and pituitary glands.

An adrenal tumor, steroid treatment, or hypopituitarism can all cause a reduction in ACTH.

Cushing disease and ectopic ACTH cannot be reliably distinguished from cortisol and ACTH measurements alone. Other tests are also performed to aid healthcare providers in determining this distinction. When some medications are given to promote or repress hormone synthesis, testing the change in cortisol levels might assist the healthcare practitioner establish the correct diagnosis.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Endocrine Panel

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • DHEA Sulfate, Immunoassay [ 402 ]
  • Estradiol [ 4021 ]
  • FSH and LH [ 7137 ]
  • Hemoglobin and Hematocrit [ 7998 ]
  • IGF-I, LC/MS [ 16293 ]
  • Lipid Panel [ 7600 ]
  • Progesterone, Immunoassay [ 745 ]
  • Prolactin [ 746 ]
  • Sed Rate by Modified Westergren (ESR) [ 809 ]
  • T3 Total [ 859 ]
  • T4 (Thyroxine), Total [ 867 ]
  • Testosterone, Free (Dialysis) and Total MS [ 36170 ]
  • TSH [ 899 ]

Brief Description: DHEA Sulfate is a blood test that is measuring the levels of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate in the blood. It is often used to diagnose any problems in the adrenal glands such as cancer or a tumor. It can also be used to evaluate the cause of early puberty in young boys and male characteristics or appearance in women.

Also Known As: DHEA-SO4 Test, DHEAS Test, DHES1 Test, Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a DHEA Sulfate test ordered?

When excess androgen production is suspected and/or a health practitioner wants to analyze a person's adrenal gland function, a DHEAS test, along with other hormone testing, may be requested.

It can be assessed when a woman exhibits signs and symptoms of amenorrhea, infertility, and/or virilization. The intensity of these alterations varies, but they may include:

  • A huskier voice
  • Hair on the face or on the body that is excessive
  • Baldness in men
  • Muscularity
  • Acne
  • The Adam's apple has been enlarged
  • Breast size has shrunk

It may also be ordered if a young girl exhibits evidence of virilization or if a female infant's external genitalia are not clearly male or female.

When young males show indicators of premature puberty, such as a deeper voice, pubic hair, muscularity, and an enlarged penis before the age of typical puberty, DHEAS may be evaluated.

What does a DHEA Sulfate blood test check for?

Male sex hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is found in both men and women. This test determines the amount of DHEAS in your blood.

DHEAS:

  • At puberty, it aids in the development of male secondary sexual traits.
  • Can be transformed into more strong androgens like testosterone and androstenedione by the body.
  • It has the ability to transform into estrogen.

DHEAS is almost entirely produced by the adrenal glands, with minor contributions from a woman's ovaries and a man's testicles.

It's a good indicator of how well the adrenal glands are working. Overproduction of DHEAS can be caused by malignant and non-cancerous adrenal tumors, as well as adrenal hyperplasia. DHEAS can be produced by an ovarian tumor in rare cases.

DHEAS excess:

  • In adult men, it may go unnoticed.
  • In young boys, it can cause early puberty.
  • Menstrual irregularities and the development of masculine physical traits in girls and women, such as excess body and facial hair
  • Can result in a female infant being born with genitals that aren't clearly male or female

Lab tests often ordered with a DHEA Sulfate test:

  • Testosterone
  • ACTH
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Prolactin
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where a DHEA Sulfate test is recommended:

  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Adrenal Insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

How does my health care provider use a DHEA Sulfate test?

The dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate test is ordered in conjunction with testosterone and other male hormones assays to:

  • Examine the adrenal glands' performance.
  • Differentiate DHEAS-secreting disorders produced by the adrenal glands from those caused by the testicles or, in rare cases, the ovaries
  • Adrenocortical tumors and adrenal malignancies can be diagnosed with this test.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of congenital and adult-onset adrenal hyperplasia.

DHEAS levels are frequently examined in women, along with other hormones like FSH, LH, prolactin, estrogen, and testosterone, to help diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome and rule out other reasons of infertility, lack of monthly cycle, and excess facial and body hair.

DHEAS levels, along with other hormones, may be requested to examine and diagnose the cause of young females developing masculine physical traits and young boys developing early puberty.

What do my DHEA-S test results mean?

A normal DHEAS level, together with other normal male hormone levels, suggests that the adrenal gland is working properly. When an adrenal tumor or cancer is present but not secreting hormones, DHEAS may be normal.

A high DHEAS blood level could indicate that the person's symptoms are caused or exacerbated by excessive DHEAS production. An elevated level of DHEAS, on the other hand, is not used to make a diagnosis of any particular condition; rather, it usually signals that further testing is required to determine the source of the hormone imbalance. An adrenocortical tumor, Cushing illness, adrenal cancer, or adrenal hyperplasia, as well as a DHEAS-producing ovarian tumor, can all cause high DHEAS.

DHEAS levels may be high in polycystic ovary syndrome, but they may also be normal, as PCOS is usually associated with ovarian androgen production.

Adrenal insufficiency, adrenal dysfunction, Addison disease, or hypopituitarism, a disorder characterized by low levels of pituitary hormones that govern the generation and secretion of adrenal hormones, can all produce low DHEAS levels.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A prolactin test is a blood test that measures the Prolactin levels in your blood's serum, and it is useful in identifying unexplained problems with breastfeeding, menstrual cycles, and infertility.

Also Known As: PRL Test, Prolactin Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Prolactin test ordered?

Prolactin testing may be requested in the following situations:

  • If someone is experiencing prolactinoma symptoms such as inexplicable headaches, breast nipple discharge, and or vision impairment.
  • Infertility or irregular menstrual periods in a woman.
  • A male that has low testosterone or has signs such as diminished sex drive, nipple discharge, or infertility.

When a person has a prolactinoma, prolactin levels may be requested on a regular basis to track the tumor's progress and response to treatment. They may also be ordered at regular intervals to check for the return of prolactinoma.

When a doctor suspects a person has a pituitary condition such hypopituitarism, prolactin levels, as well as other hormone levels like growth hormone, may be requested.

Prolactin concentrations are sometimes measured when a person has an illness or is receiving medication that may impair dopamine production.

What does a Prolactin blood test check for?

The anterior region of the pituitary gland, a grape-sized structure located at the base of the brain, produces prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that promotes lactation and is found in low concentrations in men and non-pregnant women. This test determines how much prolactin is present in the blood.

Dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter, regulates and inhibits prolactin release. Prolactin levels are typically high throughout pregnancy and shortly after childbirth. The hormones prolactin, estrogen, and progesterone enhance the production of breast milk during pregnancy. Prolactin aids in the initiation and maintenance of breast milk supply after childbirth. If a woman does not breastfeed, her prolactin level quickly returns to pre-pregnancy levels if she does not nurse. Suckling by the infant has a vital function in the release of prolactin if she does nurse. The amount of prolactin emitted by the pituitary, as well as the amount of milk produced, have a feedback system.

A prolactinoma, a pituitary gland tumor that generates excessive prolactin production, is a common cause of an unusually raised prolactin level. The most frequent type of pituitary tumor is prolactinoma, which is usually benign. They are more common in women, but they can also be found in men. The size and location of the tumor, as well as the unintended effects of excess prolactin, such as milk production in a woman who is not pregnant or nursing and, occasionally, in a man, can cause problems.

When the anterior pituitary gland and/or tumor grow large enough, they can put pressure on the optic nerve, causing headaches and visual abnormalities, as well as interfering with the pituitary gland's other hormones. Prolactinomas in women can induce infertility and menstrual abnormalities, while in men, they might cause a gradual loss of sexual function and libido. Prolactinomas can cause damage to the surrounding tissues if they are not treated.

Lab tests often ordered with a Prolactin test:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Testosterone
  • DHEA-S
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • Estrone
  • Estriol
  • Progesterone
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where a Prolactin test is recommended:

  • Pituitary Disorders
  • Infertility
  • Pregnancy
  • PCOS
  • Thyroid Diseases

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Prolactin test?

Prolactin levels can be used for a variety of purposes. Prolactin is a hormone generated by the pituitary gland, and its major function is to assist pregnant and nursing women in initiating and maintaining breast milk production.

Prolactin testing, in combination with other hormone tests, may be used to:

  • Determine what is causing the production of breast milk that isn't related to pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Find out what's causing men's infertility and erectile problems.
  • Determine the reason of a woman's menstrual irregularity and/or infertility.
  • Detect and diagnose prolactinomas, track their therapy, and look for recurrences.
  • Examine anterior pituitary function or any other pituitary problems.

What do my prolactin test results mean?

Prolactin levels in the blood of men and nonpregnant women are usually very low. Prolactin levels must be analyzed according to the time of day they are taken. Over the course of a 24-hour period, the levels will rise during sleep and peak in the morning. A person's blood should be drawn 3 to 4 hours after they wake up.

During pregnancy and while the mother is nursing, a high amount of prolactin is typical.

High prolactin levels can also be noticed in the following:

  • Prolactin-producing and -releasing tumors
  • Eating disorders such as  anorexia nervosa
  • Hypothalamic diseases
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Other tumors and disorders of the pituitary gland

Low levels of prolactin are not normally treated, but they could indicate a general decline in pituitary hormones caused by a pituitary condition such hypopituitarism.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A Comprehensive Metabolic Panel or CMP is a blood test that is a combination of a Basic Metabolic Panel, a Liver Panel, and electrolyte panel, and is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions and diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.

Also Known As: Plasma CMP Test, Plasma Chem Test, Plasma Chem-14 Test, Plasma Chem-12 Test, Plasma Chem-21 Test, Plasma Chemistry Panel Test, Plasma Chem Panel Test, Plasma Chem Screen, Plasma Chemistry Screen, Plasma SMA 12, Plasma SMA 20, Plasma SMA 21, Plasma SMAC, Chem Plasma test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Plasma

Test Preparation: 9-12 hours fasting is preferred.

When is Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Plasma test ordered?

A CMP is frequently requested as part of a lab test for a medical evaluation or yearly physical. A CMP test consists of many different tests that give healthcare providers a range of information about your health, including liver and kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood sugar levels. To confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis, abnormal test results are frequently followed up with other tests that provide a more in depth or targeted analysis of key areas that need investigating.

What does a Plasma Comprehensive Metabolic Panel Blood test check for?

The complete metabolic panel is a set of 20 tests that provides critical information to a healthcare professional about a person's current metabolic status, check for liver or kidney disease, electrolyte and acid/base balance, and blood glucose and blood protein levels. Abnormal results, particularly when they are combined, can suggest a problem that needs to be addressed.

The following tests are included in the CMP:

  • Albumin: this is a measure of Albumin levels in your blood. Albumin is a protein made by the liver that is responsible for many vital roles including transporting nutrients throughout the body and preventing fluid from leaking out of blood vessels.
  • Albumin/Globulin Ratio: this is a ratio between your total Albumin and Globulin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase: this is a measure of Alkaline phosphatase or ALP in your blood. Alkaline phosphatase is a protein found in all body tissues, however the ALP found in blood comes from the liver and bones. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage, gallbladder disease, or bone disorder.
  • Alt: this is a measure of Alanine transaminase or ALT in your blood. Alanine Aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the highest amounts in the liver with small amounts in the heart and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage.
  • AST: this is a measure of Aspartate Aminotransferase or AST. Aspartate Aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in the heart and liver, with smaller amounts in the kidney and muscles. Elevated levels are often associated with liver damage.
  • Bilirubin, Total: this is a measure of bilirubin in your blood. Bilirubin is an orange-yellowish waste product produced from the breakdown of heme which is a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The liver is responsible for removal of bilirubin from the body.
  • Bun/Creatinine Ratio: this is a ratio between your Urea Nitrogen (BUN) result and Creatinine result.
  • Calcium: is used for blood clot formation and the formation and maintenance of bones and teeth.
  • Carbon Dioxide: this is a measure of carbon dioxide in your blood. Carbon dioxide is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.
  • Chloride: this is a measure of Chloride in your blood. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that works with other electrolytes such as potassium and sodium to regulate the body’s acid-base balance and fluid levels.
  • Creatinine: this is a measure of Creatinine levels in your blood. Creatinine is created from the breakdown of creatine in your muscles and is removed from your body by the kidneys. Elevated creatinine levels are often associated with kidney damage.
  • Egfr African American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells.
  • Egfr Non-Afr. American: this is a measure of how well your kidneys are functioning. Glomeruli are tiny filters in your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood for removal while retaining important substances such as nutrients and blood cells.
  • Globulin: this is a measure of all blood proteins in your blood that are not albumin.
  • Glucose: this is a measure of glucose in your blood. Glucose is created from the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and is the body’s primary source of energy.
  • Potassium: this is a measure of Potassium in your blood. Potassium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in cell metabolism, nerve and muscle function, and transport of nutrients into cells and removal of wastes products out of cells.
  • Protein, Total: this is a measure of total protein levels in your blood.
    Sodium: this is a measure of Sodium in your blood. Sodium is an electrolyte that plays a vital role in nerve and muscle function.
  • Urea Nitrogen (Bun): this is a measure of Urea Nitrogen in your blood, also known as Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN). Urea is a waste product created in the liver when proteins are broken down into amino acids. Elevated levels are often associated with kidney damage.

Lab tests often ordered with a Plasma Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test:

  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein

Conditions where a Plasma Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test is recommended:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypertension

How does my health care provider use a Plasma Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test?

The comprehensive metabolic panel is a broad screening tool for assessing organ function and detecting diseases like diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP test may also be requested to monitor known disorders such as hypertension and to check for any renal or liver-related side effects in persons taking specific drugs. If a health practitioner wants to follow two or more separate CMP components, the full CMP might be ordered because it contains more information.

What do my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel test results mean?

The results of the tests included in the CMP are usually analyzed together to look for patterns. A single abnormal test result may indicate something different than a series of abnormal test findings. A high result on one of the liver enzyme tests, for example, is not the same as a high result on several liver enzyme tests.

Several sets of CMPs, frequently performed on various days, may be examined to gain insights into the underlying disease and response to treatment, especially in hospitalized patients.

Out-of-range findings for any of the CMP tests can be caused by a variety of illnesses, including kidney failure, breathing issues, and diabetes-related complications, to name a few. If any of the results are abnormal, one or more follow-up tests are usually ordered to help determine the reason and/or establish a diagnosis.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Brief Description: Testosterone, Free (Dialysis) and Total, MS is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in both male and female patients, and diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction, infertility, virilization, polycystic ovary syndrome, and delayed or early puberty in children.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone, Free Testosterone, Testosterone Free and Total

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Free and Total Testosterone test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The test is frequently ordered in conjunction with the FSH and LH tests in males who are experiencing delayed or slow puberty. Although the age at which puberty begins varies from person to person, it usually begins around the age of ten. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of delayed puberty:

  • Muscle mass development is delayed.
  • Voice not getting lower or a lack of body hair growth
  • Growth of the testicles and penis is slowed or delayed.

When a young boy appears to be going through an early puberty with clear secondary sex traits, the test can be ordered. Various malignancies and congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause early puberty in boys due to elevated testosterone.

When a woman has irregular or no menstrual cycles, is having trouble getting pregnant, or displays masculine traits such as abundant facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and/or a low voice, testosterone testing may be done. Testosterone levels can rise as a result of malignancies in the ovary or adrenal gland, as well as other illnesses including polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What does a Testosterone Total and Free blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. Although it is thought to be a "masculine" sex hormone, it is found in both men and women's blood. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's also made by the adrenal glands in both males and females, as well as the ovaries in females in modest amounts.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass. Estradiol is the major sex hormone in females, and testosterone is converted to it in women.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Free and Total test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Free and Total test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Testosterone Free and Total test?

In men, women, girls, and boys, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles. Although it is thought to be a "male" sex hormone, it is found in both males and females.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Delayed or early puberty in boys
  • In both men and women, sex drive has decreased.
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male and female infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Virilization and hirsutism in girls and women

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Males: 

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Early puberty in males due to an unknown cause
  • Adrenal hyperplasia in toddlers and babies

Females:

Testosterone levels in women are typically low. Increased testosterone levels can mean one of the following things:

  • Ovarian or adrenal gland tumor
  • PCOS
  • Adrenal hyperplasia that occurs at birth.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Helpful in assessing testicular function in males and managing hirsutism, virilization in females.

Description: Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in both male and female patients, and diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction, infertility, virilization, polycystic ovary syndrome, and delayed or early puberty in children.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Free Testosterone Test, Testosterone Free and Total Test, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The test is frequently ordered in conjunction with the FSH and LH tests in males who are experiencing delayed or slow puberty. Although the age at which puberty begins varies from person to person, it usually begins around the age of ten. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of delayed puberty:

  • Muscle mass development is delayed.
  • Voice not getting lower or a lack of body hair growth
  • Growth of the testicles and penis is slowed or delayed.

When a young boy appears to be going through an early puberty with clear secondary sex traits, the test can be ordered. Various malignancies and congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause early puberty in boys due to elevated testosterone.

When a woman has irregular or no menstrual cycles, is having trouble getting pregnant, or displays masculine traits such as abundant facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and/or a low voice, testosterone testing may be done. Testosterone levels can rise as a result of malignancies in the ovary or adrenal gland, as well as other illnesses including polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What does a Testosterone Total and Free with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. Although it is thought to be a "masculine" sex hormone, it is found in both men and women's blood. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's also made by the adrenal glands in both males and females, as well as the ovaries in females in modest amounts.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass. Estradiol is the major sex hormone in females, and testosterone is converted to it in women.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

SHBG is a liver-produced protein that strongly binds to the hormones testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol. SHBG distributes these hormones in the blood as physiologically inactive versions when they are bound. This test examines the amount of SHBG in the blood and is most commonly used to determine whether a person has too much or too little testosterone.

In men, SHBG binds roughly 45 percent to 65 percent of testosterone in the blood, with the rest weakly and reversibly linked to albumin. Only around 2% to 3% of testosterone is accessible to tissues as free testosterone, but testosterone that is weakly linked to albumin is also bioavailable and can be rapidly absorbed by the body's tissues.

In women, a somewhat higher percentage of testosterone is bound to SHBG in the blood than in men. SHBG is important in controlling the quantities of bioavailable male sex hormones and estrogens circulating throughout the body in women. Because SHBG has a stronger affinity for the androgens testosterone and DHT, women with low SHBG may experience signs and symptoms of androgen excess.

A total testosterone test does not differentiate between bound and unbound testosterone; instead, it determines the total amount of testosterone present. In many circumstances, this is sufficient to determine if testosterone production is excessive or inadequate. However, if a person's SHBG level is abnormal, the total testosterone level may not accurately reflect the amount of testosterone available to the person's tissues. When a person's indications and symptoms do not match the results of a total testosterone test, a SHBG test may be conducted.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test?

In men, women, girls, and boys, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles. Although it is thought to be a "male" sex hormone, it is found in both males and females.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Delayed or early puberty in boys
  • In both men and women, sex drive has decreased.
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male and female infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Virilization and hirsutism in girls and women

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • The sex hormone binding globulin test can be performed to determine whether a man has low testosterone or if a woman has too much testosterone. It can be used in conjunction with other tests to assess a person's sex hormone status.

SHBG is a protein that binds to testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol, among other hormones. SHBG distributes these hormones in the blood as physiologically inactive versions when they are bound. Changes in SHBG levels can have an impact on the amount of hormone accessible to the body's tissues.

To assess a person's current hormonal balance, tests for albumin and one or more additional sex hormones, such as prolactin, estradiol, and LH may be conducted.

In men

In order to diagnose the cause of infertility, diminished sex drive, or erectile dysfunction in an adult male, SHBG and total testosterone levels may be ordered. When total testosterone findings are contradictory with clinical symptoms, measuring SHBG in addition to testosterone is extremely beneficial.

Total testosterone in the blood is measured without distinguishing between bound and unbound testosterone; rather, it determines the total amount of testosterone in the blood. In many circumstances, this is sufficient to determine if testosterone production is excessive or inadequate. However, if a person's SHBG level is abnormal, the total testosterone level may not accurately reflect the amount of testosterone available to the body's tissues.

With a simple total testosterone assessment, health practitioners can estimate bioavailable testosterone by measuring SHBG. Because less testosterone is accessible to the body's tissues, increased SHBG in males may be linked to symptoms of low testosterone levels.

Total testosterone should be measured in the initial screening for testosterone deficiency, according to the Endocrine Society's professional standards. If the results are abnormal, the test is repeated the next day. They propose one of the following if repeat readings are low-normal and/or SHBG is abnormal:

In women

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce modest amounts of testosterone in women. Even little increases in testosterone production can throw off the hormone balance, resulting in symptoms including irregular or missed periods, infertility, acne, and excessive face and body hair. These and other signs and symptoms are common in polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder marked by an overproduction of male sex hormones. SHBG and testosterone testing may be helpful in detecting and evaluating excess testosterone production and/or decreasing SHBG concentrations, as well as in evaluating women with PCOS.

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Males: 

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Early puberty in males due to an unknown cause
  • Adrenal hyperplasia in toddlers and babies

Females:

Testosterone levels in women are typically low. Increased testosterone levels can mean one of the following things:

  • Ovarian or adrenal gland tumor
  • PCOS
  • Adrenal hyperplasia that occurs at birth.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Please note: If Testosterone, Total, Males (Adult) Only #873 is ordered for a pediatric or female patient, the lab will automatically change the test to and charge for Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Description: Testosterone, Total, Male is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in male patients, diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction and infertility.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Testosterone Total Test, Male Testosterone Test, Testosterone Male Test, Testosterone Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

This test is for male patients 18 years of age and older only. Pediatric and Female patients will need to order Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Due to changes in testosterone levels throughout the day, two morning (8:00-10:00 a.m.) specimens obtained on different days are recommended by The Endocrine Society for screening.

This test can report a value up to 3000 ng/dL. any number >3000 will be stated as >3000.

When is a Testosterone Total Male test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

What does a Testosterone Total Male blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's made by the adrenal glands in males.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Total Male test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Total Male test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How is this test used by my health care provider?

In men, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Decreases sex drive
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: Testosterone, Total, MS is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in both male and female patients, and diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction, infertility, virilization, polycystic ovary syndrome, and delayed or early puberty in children.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Testosterone Total Test, Female Testosterone Test, Pediatric Testosterone Test, Ultrasensitive Testosterone Test, Uncapped Testosterone Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Testosterone Total test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The test is frequently ordered in conjunction with the FSH and LH tests in males who are experiencing delayed or slow puberty. Although the age at which puberty begins varies from person to person, it usually begins around the age of ten. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of delayed puberty:

  • Muscle mass development is delayed.
  • Voice not getting lower or a lack of body hair growth
  • Growth of the testicles and penis is slowed or delayed.

When a young boy appears to be going through an early puberty with clear secondary sex traits, the test can be ordered. Various malignancies and congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause early puberty in boys due to elevated testosterone.

When a woman has irregular or no menstrual cycles, is having trouble getting pregnant, or displays masculine traits such as abundant facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and/or a low voice, testosterone testing may be done. Testosterone levels can rise as a result of malignancies in the ovary or adrenal gland, as well as other illnesses including polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What does a Testosterone Total blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. Although it is thought to be a "masculine" sex hormone, it is found in both men and women's blood. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's also made by the adrenal glands in both males and females, as well as the ovaries in females in modest amounts.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass. Estradiol is the major sex hormone in females, and testosterone is converted to it in women.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Total test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Total test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Testosterone Total test?

In men, women, girls, and boys, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles. Although it is thought to be a "male" sex hormone, it is found in both males and females.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Delayed or early puberty in boys
  • In both men and women, sex drive has decreased.
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male and female infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Virilization and hirsutism in girls and women

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Males: 

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Early puberty in males due to an unknown cause
  • Adrenal hyperplasia in toddlers and babies

Females:

Testosterone levels in women are typically low. Increased testosterone levels can mean one of the following things:

  • Ovarian or adrenal gland tumor
  • PCOS
  • Adrenal hyperplasia that occurs at birth.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Calcitonin concentration is increased in patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma. Calcitonin concentrations may be used to monitor disease.

Most Popular

Description: A T3 Total test is a blood test that measures triiodothyronine levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Total T3 Test, Triiodothyronine Test, T3 Test, Bound T3

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T3 Total test ordered?

When a person's TSH test results are abnormal, a total T3 test may be recommended. When a person has symptoms that imply hyperthyroidism, it may be requested as part of the investigational workup, especially if the free T4 level is not elevated.

The following are possible signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Total T3 may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor a known thyroid disease or to assess the efficacy of hyperthyroidism treatment.

What does a T3 Total blood test check for?

T3 is one of two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ near the base of the throat that sits flat across the windpipe. Thyroxine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T3 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's physiologically active form. Tests can determine the amount of free T3 or total T3 in the blood.

A feedback system controls T3 and T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone when thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop, which prompts the pituitary gland to create and release thyroid-stimulating hormone. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to create and/or release more thyroid hormones as a result of TSH. T4 is the most common thyroid hormone produced. This hormone is generally inactive, but in the liver and other tissues, it is transformed into the considerably more active T3.

If the thyroid gland produces too much T4 and T3, the person may have symptoms like uneasiness, hand tremors, weight loss, sleeplessness, and puffiness around dry, itchy eyes. The person's eyes may be unable to move normally and appear to be glaring in some circumstances. The eyeballs may also appear to bulge in some circumstances.

If the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, the person may experience weight gain, dry skin, lethargy, and constipation, which are all signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and a slower metabolism. Thyroid hormone levels in the blood might be low or high due to thyroid malfunction, or in rare cases, insufficient or excessive TSH production due to a pituitary issue.

Autoimmune illnesses are the most common causes of thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, but it can also be caused by thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, or high TSH production. Total T3 can be used to diagnose and monitor the impact of certain disorders on thyroid hormone production.

Lab tests often ordered with a T3 Total test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T3 Total test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T3 Total test?

Thyroid function is measured with a total triiodothyronine test. It's usually ordered to assist identify hyperthyroidism, but it can also be used to track a person's therapy for a thyroid problem.

Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are generated by the thyroid gland. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. Thyroid-stimulating hormone boosts T4 and T3 synthesis and release. The liver and other tissues convert T4 into T3 as needed.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood tests.

Because the majority of T3 is coupled to protein, total T3 can be influenced by protein levels and binding ability, but free T3 is unaffected. Some professional standards, however, advocate total T3, thus either test can be used to evaluate thyroid function. To assist diagnose Graves disease, an autoimmune illness that is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism, free T3 or total T3 may be ordered together with thyroid antibodies.

Following an abnormal TSH, a total T3 test is generally done, especially if the free T4 test is not high.

What does my T3 Total Test result mean?

Thyroid hormone levels that are high or low suggest a mismatch between the body's needs and supplies, but they don't inform the doctor what's causing the excess or deficiency.

If someone is being treated for hyperthyroidism with anti-thyroid medication and their free or total T3 levels are normal, the medicine is likely beneficial in treating the illness. If the free or total T3 or free T4 levels are high, the medication isn't working to address the problem, and the person may be having hyperthyroidism symptoms.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results


Most Popular

Description: A T3 Free test is a blood test that measures unbound triiodothyronine levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Free T3 Test, Free Triiodothyronine Test, FT3 Test, T3F Test, Unbound T3 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T3 Free test ordered?

When a person's TSH test results are abnormal, a free T3 test may be recommended. When a person has symptoms that imply hyperthyroidism, it may be requested as part of the investigational workup, especially if the free T4 level is not elevated.

The following are possible signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Free T3 may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor a known thyroid disease or to assess the efficacy of hyperthyroidism treatment.

What does a T3 Free test check for?

T3 is one of two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ near the base of the throat that sits flat across the windpipe. Thyroxine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T3 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's physiologically active form. Tests can determine the amount of free T3 or total T3 in the blood.

A feedback system controls T3 and T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone when thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop, which prompts the pituitary gland to create and release thyroid-stimulating hormone. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to create and/or release more thyroid hormones as a result of TSH. T4 is the most common thyroid hormone produced. This hormone is generally inactive, but in the liver and other tissues, it is transformed into the considerably more active T3.

If the thyroid gland produces too much T4 and T3, the person may have symptoms like uneasiness, hand tremors, weight loss, sleeplessness, and puffiness around dry, itchy eyes. The person's eyes may be unable to move normally and appear to be glaring in some circumstances. The eyeballs may also appear to bulge in some circumstances.

If the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, the person may experience weight gain, dry skin, lethargy, and constipation, which are all signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and a slower metabolism. Thyroid hormone levels in the blood might be low or high due to thyroid malfunction, or in rare cases, insufficient or excessive TSH production due to a pituitary issue.

Autoimmune illnesses are the most common causes of thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, but it can also be caused by thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, or high TSH production. Total T3 can be used to diagnose and monitor the impact of certain disorders on thyroid hormone production.

Lab tests often ordered with a T3 Free test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T3 Free test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T3 Free test?

Thyroid function is measured with a free triiodothyronine test. It's usually ordered to assist identify hyperthyroidism, but it can also be used to track a person's therapy for a thyroid problem.

Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are generated by the thyroid gland. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. Thyroid-stimulating hormone boosts T4 and T3 synthesis and release. The liver and other tissues convert T4 into T3 as needed.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood tests.

Because the majority of T3 is coupled to protein, total T3 can be influenced by protein levels and binding ability, but free T3 is unaffected. Some professional standards, however, advocate total T3, thus either test can be used to evaluate thyroid function. To assist in diagnosing Graves disease, an autoimmune illness that is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism, free T3 or total T3 may be ordered together with thyroid antibodies.

Following an abnormal TSH, a free T3 test is generally done, especially if the free T4 test is not high.

What does my T3 Free result mean?

Thyroid hormone levels that are high or low suggest a mismatch between the body's needs and supplies, but they don't inform the doctor what's causing the excess or deficiency.

If someone is being treated for hyperthyroidism with anti-thyroid medication and their free or total T3 levels are normal, the medicine is likely beneficial in treating the illness. If the free or total T3 or free T4 levels are high, the medication isn't working to address the problem, and the person may be having hyperthyroidism symptoms.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results


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Description: A T4 Total test is a blood test that measures thyroxine free levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.

Also Known As: Total T4 Test, Total Thyroxine Test, T4 Test, T4, T4 Total Test, Bound T4 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T4 Total test ordered?

When a person exhibits symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, a Total T4 test may be administered, especially if a TSH test result is abnormal.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid problem, Total T4 testing, along with other thyroid tests, may be requested on a regular basis.

Thyroid testing will most likely be ordered early and late in the pregnancy, as well as for a period after delivery, to monitor the mother and baby in pregnant women with thyroid abnormalities.

In the United States, thyroid hormone screening is routinely performed on babies as part of newborn screening programs.

What does a T4 Total blood test check for?

The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped structure that lays on the windpipe towards the bottom of the throat, produces one of two primary hormones: thyroxine. Triiodothyronine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T4 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's biologically active form. This test determines how much Bound T4 is present in the blood.

A feedback loop controls T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone, which encourages the pituitary gland to generate and release thyroid-stimulating hormone when the amount of T4 in the blood drops. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to produce and/or release more T4 as a result of TSH. TSH release is blocked as T4 content in the blood rises.

T4 accounts for over 90% of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland releases accumulated T4 into circulation when the body requires it. T4 is either free or bound to protein in the blood. The amount of free T4 in the body is just about 0.1 percent of total T4. In the liver or other tissues, T4 is converted to T3. T3, like T4, is mainly attached to protein, however the physiologically active forms of T3 and T4 are the free versions. Free T3 in circulation is 4 to 5 times more active than free T4.

Dry skin, weight gain, cold intolerance, weariness, and irregular menstruation are among signs of hypothyroidism that occur when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T4 due to thyroid malfunction or insufficient TSH. Myxedema, or severe untreated hypothyroidism, can cause heart failure, convulsions, and coma. Hypothyroidism in children can slow growth and sexual development.

When the thyroid gland generates too much T4, the rate of a person's body functions increases, resulting in hyperthyroidism symptoms such as anxiety, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, puffiness and dry itchy eyes, and hand tremors.

The most prevalent causes of thyroid dysfunction are connected to autoimmune illnesses. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, while hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto thyroiditis. Thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, and excessive or insufficient TSH production can all induce hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. By measuring Total T4, the influence of these variables on thyroid hormone synthesis can be recognized and monitored.

Note: Free T4 Index (T7) will only be calculated and reported if test code code 861 (T3 Uptake) is ordered as well.

Lab tests often ordered with a T4 Total test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Free
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T4 Total test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T4 Total test?

Total thyroxine tests are used to assess thyroid function and detect thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, after the thyroid stimulating hormone level has been found to be abnormal.

The thyroid gland produces T4 and another hormone called triiodothyronine. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. TSH promotes the thyroid gland's synthesis and release of T4 and T3.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood testing. The total T4 test has been around for a long time, but it is influenced by the quantity of protein in the blood that can bind to the hormone. The active form of thyroxine, free T4, is unaffected by protein levels. Many people believe that the free T4 test is a more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone activity, and it has largely supplanted the total T4 test.

A Total T4 test can be used in conjunction with or after a TSH test, and occasionally with a free T3 test to:

  • Help diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by detecting too much or too little thyroid hormone.
  • Differentiate between thyroid disorders.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of pituitary diseases
  • Assist in the diagnosis of infertility in women
  • In an individual with a known thyroid condition, track the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Monitor patients with pituitary disease to ensure that their thyroid is still operating, and thyroid hormone medication should be monitored if it isn't.
  • Monitor patients with thyroid cancer whose tumors respond to TSH. TSH and T4 levels will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that adequate thyroid hormone is being administered to maintain TSH low while keeping T4 high.

In the United States, babies are routinely tested for T4 and TSH levels to rule out congenital hypothyroidism, which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.

Thyroid abnormalities can sometimes be detected using Total T4 and TSH, however professional opinions differ on who should be screened and when they should start.

Thyroid antibodies, as well as a Total T4 test, may be ordered if a health practitioner suspects someone has an autoimmune-related thyroid problem.

What does my T4 Total result mean?

In general, high total T4 levels suggest an overactive thyroid gland, while low total T4 levels suggest an underactive thyroid gland. The test results are not diagnostic in and of themselves, but they will urge the health care provider to conduct additional testing to determine the reason of the excess or deficiency.

A range of temporary and chronic thyroid disorders are linked to both decreased and increased total T4 levels. A pituitary gland issue could be indicated by low total T4 levels along with a low TSH level, or by high total T4 levels combined with a high TSH.

When thyroid tests are done to monitor treatment for thyroid or pituitary diseases, the results will tell the doctor whether the treatment is working and/or if a dose adjustment is required. People with hyperthyroidism, for example, have their total T4, total T3, and TSH levels examined on a regular basis while taking anti-thyroid medicines to ensure that the drugs are effective and to reduce doses if thyroid hormone levels fall too low. TSH and total T4 levels are monitored on a frequent basis in hypothyroid patients to ensure that the correct dose of thyroid hormone is being given to bring TSH levels back to normal.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A T4 Free test is a blood test that measures thyroxine free levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.

Also Known As: Free T4 Test, Free Thyroxine Test, FT4 Test, T4F Test, T4 Free Test, Unbound T4 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T4 Free test ordered?

When a person exhibits symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, a free T4 test may be administered, especially if the TSH test is abnormal.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid problem, free T4 testing, along with other thyroid tests, may be requested on a regular basis.

Thyroid testing will most likely be ordered early and late in the pregnancy, as well as for a period after delivery, to monitor the mother and baby in pregnant women with thyroid abnormalities.

In the United States, thyroid hormone screening is routinely performed on babies as part of newborn screening programs.

What does a T4 Free blood test check for?

The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped structure that lays on the windpipe towards the bottom of the throat, produces one of two primary hormones: thyroxine. Triiodothyronine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T4 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's biologically active form. This test determines how much free T4 is present in the blood.

A feedback loop controls T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone, which encourages the pituitary gland to generate and release thyroid-stimulating hormone when the amount of T4 in the blood drops. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to produce and/or release more T4 as a result of TSH. TSH release is blocked as T4 content in the blood rises.

T4 accounts for over 90% of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland releases accumulated T4 into circulation when the body requires it. T4 is either free or bound to protein in the blood. The amount of free T4 in the body is just about 0.1 percent of total T4. In the liver or other tissues, T4 is converted to T3. T3, like T4, is mainly attached to protein, however the physiologically active forms of T3 and T4 are the free versions. Free T3 in circulation is 4 to 5 times more active than free T4.

Dry skin, weight gain, cold intolerance, weariness, and irregular menstruation are among signs of hypothyroidism that occur when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T4 due to thyroid malfunction or insufficient TSH. Myxedema, or severe untreated hypothyroidism, can cause heart failure, convulsions, and coma. Hypothyroidism in children can slow growth and sexual development.

When the thyroid gland generates too much T4, the rate of a person's body functions increases, resulting in hyperthyroidism symptoms such as anxiety, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, puffiness and dry itchy eyes, and hand tremors.

The most prevalent causes of thyroid dysfunction are connected to autoimmune illnesses. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, while hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto thyroiditis. Thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, and excessive or insufficient TSH production can all induce hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. By measuring free T4, the influence of these variables on thyroid hormone synthesis can be recognized and monitored.

Lab tests often ordered with a T4 Free test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T4 Free test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T4 Free test?

Free thyroxine tests are used to assess thyroid function and detect thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, after the thyroid stimulating hormone level has been found to be abnormal.

The thyroid gland produces T4 and another hormone called triiodothyronine. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. TSH promotes the thyroid gland's synthesis and release of T4 and T3.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood testing. The total T4 test has been around for a long time, but it is influenced by the quantity of protein in the blood that can bind to the hormone. The active form of thyroxine, free T4, is unaffected by protein levels. Many people believe that the free T4 test is a more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone activity, and it has largely supplanted the total T4 test.

A free T4 test can be used in conjunction with or after a TSH test, and occasionally with a free T3 test to:

  • Help diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by detecting too much or too little thyroid hormone.
  • Differentiate between thyroid disorders.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of pituitary diseases
  • Assist in the diagnosis of infertility in women
  • In an individual with a known thyroid condition, track the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Monitor patients with pituitary disease to ensure that their thyroid is still operating, and thyroid hormone medication should be monitored if it isn't.
  • Monitor patients with thyroid cancer whose tumors respond to TSH. TSH and T4 levels will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that adequate thyroid hormone is being administered to maintain TSH low while keeping T4 high.

In the United States, babies are routinely tested for T4 and TSH levels to rule out congenital hypothyroidism, which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.

Thyroid abnormalities can sometimes be detected using free T4 and TSH, however professional opinions differ on who should be screened and when they should start.

Thyroid antibodies, as well as a free T4 test, may be ordered if a health practitioner suspects someone has an autoimmune-related thyroid problem.

What does my T4 Free result mean?

In general, high free T4 levels suggest an overactive thyroid gland, while low free T4 levels suggest an underactive thyroid gland. The test results are not diagnostic in and of themselves, but they will urge the health care provider to conduct additional testing to determine the reason of the excess or deficiency.

A range of temporary and chronic thyroid disorders are linked to both decreased and increased free T4 levels. A pituitary gland issue could be indicated by low free T4 levels along with a low TSH level, or by high free T4 levels combined with a high TSH.

When thyroid tests are done to monitor treatment for thyroid or pituitary diseases, the results will tell the doctor whether the treatment is working and/or if a dose adjustment is required. People with hyperthyroidism, for example, have their free T4, free T3, and TSH levels examined on a regular basis while taking anti-thyroid medicines to ensure that the drugs are effective and to reduce doses if thyroid hormone levels fall too low. TSH and free T4 levels are monitored on a frequent basis in hypothyroid patients to ensure that the correct dose of thyroid hormone is being given to bring TSH levels back to normal.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Most Popular

Description: A TSH test is a blood test that measures thyroid stimulating hormone levels in your blood’s serum and is used to screen for and monitor treatment of thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test, Thyrotropin Test, TSH test, Thyroid Test, TSH Screen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a TSH test ordered?

When a person has symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, or an enlarged thyroid gland, a doctor may order a TSH test.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors.
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss is a common problem.
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid disease, TSH may be ordered at regular intervals. The American Thyroid Association suggests waiting 6-8 weeks after changing a person's thyroid medication dose before testing their TSH level again.

In the United States, TSH screening is routinely performed on newborns shortly after birth as part of each state's newborn screening program.

What does a TSH blood test check for?

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces thyroid-stimulating hormone. TSH causes thyroxine and triiodothyronine to be released into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland. These thyroid hormones aid in the regulation of the body's energy usage. This test determines how much TSH is present in the blood.

The feedback mechanism that the body utilizes to maintain consistent quantities of thyroid hormones in the blood includes TSH and its regulatory hormone, thyrotropin releasing hormone, which comes from the hypothalamus. TSH synthesis by the pituitary gland increases as thyroid hormone concentrations fall. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland that lays flat against the windpipe at the base of the throat, to produce and release T4 and T3. Thyroid production turns on and off to maintain generally steady levels of thyroid hormones in the blood when all three organs are operating regularly.

When the thyroid produces excessive amounts of T4 and T3, the affected person may have hyperthyroidism symptoms such as high heart rate, weight loss, agitation, hand tremors, itchy eyes, and difficulty sleeping. The most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease. It is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system creates antibodies that mimic TSH, causing the thyroid hormone to be produced in excessive levels. As a result, the pituitary gland may produce less TSH, resulting in a low blood level.

Weight gain, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance, and weariness are all symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces fewer thyroid hormones. In the United States, Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism. It's an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing inflammation and destruction as well as the generation of autoantibodies. The thyroid generates low levels of thyroid hormone in Hashimoto thyroiditis. The pituitary gland may create more TSH, resulting in a high blood level.

TSH values, on the other hand, do not necessarily indicate or predict thyroid hormone levels. TSH is produced abnormally in some persons and does not work properly. Despite having normal or modestly increased TSH values, they frequently develop hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone levels can be high or low in a variety of thyroid illnesses, regardless of the amount of TSH in the blood.

TSH levels may be elevated or lowered in rare cases due to pituitary dysfunction. In addition to pituitary dysfunction, an issue with the hypothalamus can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Lab tests often ordered with a TSH test:

  • T3 Free
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies
  • Thyroid Panel

Conditions where a test TSH is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a TSH test?

Thyroid function and/or symptoms of a thyroid problem, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, are frequently assessed with the thyroid-stimulating hormone test.

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces TSH. It's a part of the body's feedback system that keeps the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine in check and helps regulate the pace at which the body burns calories.

TSH tests are typically ordered in conjunction with or before a free T4 test. A free T3 test and thyroid antibodies are two further thyroid tests that can be ordered. TSH, free T4, and free T3 are sometimes ordered as part of a thyroid panel.

TSH is used to:

  • Diagnose a thyroid issue in a patient who is experiencing symptoms.
  • Check newborns for an underactive thyroid.
  • Monitor thyroid replacement therapy.
  • Monitor treatment of hyperthyroidism that involves medication.
  • Assist women in diagnosing and monitoring infertility issues.
  • Assist in determining the pituitary gland's function
  • Screen adults for thyroid issues and diseases.

What does my TSH blood test result mean?

A high TSH level could indicate that:

  • The person being examined has an underactive thyroid gland that isn't responding well to TSH stimulation owing to acute or chronic thyroid dysfunction.
  • If a person has hypothyroidism or has had their thyroid gland removed, the dose of thyroid hormone replacement medicine may need to be changed.
  • A patient with hyperthyroidism is taking too much anti-thyroid medication, and the dosage needs to be reduced.
  • There is a problem with the pituitary gland, such as a tumor that causes TSH levels to be out of control.

A low TSH level could imply the following:

  • An overactive thyroid gland
  • Thyroid hormone prescription taken in excess by patients being treated for an underactive thyroid gland.
  • Inadequate medication in an individual being treated for hyperthyroidism; nevertheless, after successful anti-thyroid treatment, TSH production may take a time to recover. This is why the American Thyroid Association recommends testing for thyroid hormones as well as TSH levels throughout treatment.
  • The pituitary gland has been damaged, preventing it from releasing enough TSH.

An abnormal TSH result, whether high or low, suggests an excess or deficiency in the quantity of thyroid hormone available to the body, but does not pinpoint the cause for the abnormal result. Additional testing is frequently performed after an abnormal TSH test result to determine the reason of the increase or decrease.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Androstenedione is useful when evaluating patients with androgen excess and managing patients with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).

Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol 2 Specimen Test, 2 Specimen Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test, Cortisol Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Cortisol 2 Specimen test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol 2 Specimen blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cortisol 2 Specimen test:

  • Cortisol Saliva
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol 2 Specimen test is recommended:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol 2 Specimen test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

ACTH stimulation is a test that measures the amount of cortisol in a person's blood before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. Cortisol levels will rise in response to ACTH stimulation if the adrenal glands are functioning normally. Cortisol levels will be low if they are damaged or not working properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol Total test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the person examined responds to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol, the problem is most likely due to insufficient ACTH production by the pituitary. If the person does not respond to the ACTH stimulation test, the problem is most likely to be with the adrenal glands. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are underactive as a result of pituitary dysfunction and/or insufficient ACTH synthesis. Adrenal injury causes decreased cortisol production, which is referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease.

Once an irregularity has been found and linked to the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or another source, the health practitioner may utilize additional testing, such as a CT scan, to determine the extent of any gland damage.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol 3 Specimen Test, 3 Specimen Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test, Cortisol Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Cortisol 3 Specimen test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol 3 Specimen blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cortisol 3 Specimen test:

  • Cortisol Saliva
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol 3 Specimen test is recommended :

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol 3 Specimen test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

ACTH stimulation is a test that measures the amount of cortisol in a person's blood before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. Cortisol levels will rise in response to ACTH stimulation if the adrenal glands are functioning normally. Cortisol levels will be low if they are damaged or not working properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol Total test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the person examined responds to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol, the problem is most likely due to insufficient ACTH production by the pituitary. If the person does not respond to the ACTH stimulation test, the problem is most likely to be with the adrenal glands. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are underactive as a result of pituitary dysfunction and/or insufficient ACTH synthesis. Adrenal injury causes decreased cortisol production, which is referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease.

Once an irregularity has been found and linked to the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or another source, the health practitioner may utilize additional testing, such as a CT scan, to determine the extent of any gland damage.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Cortisol is increased in Cushing's disease and decreased in Addison's disease (adrenal insufficiency)

This is a 4 specimen blood test


Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol 5 Specimen Test, 5 Specimen Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test, Cortisol Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Cortisol 5 Specimen test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol 5 Specimen blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cortisol 5 Specimen test:

  • Cortisol Saliva
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol 5 Specimen test is recommended:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol 5 Specimen test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

ACTH stimulation is a test that measures the amount of cortisol in a person's blood before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. Cortisol levels will rise in response to ACTH stimulation if the adrenal glands are functioning normally. Cortisol levels will be low if they are damaged or not working properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol Total test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the person examined responds to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol, the problem is most likely due to insufficient ACTH production by the pituitary. If the person does not respond to the ACTH stimulation test, the problem is most likely to be with the adrenal glands. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are underactive as a result of pituitary dysfunction and/or insufficient ACTH synthesis. Adrenal injury causes decreased cortisol production, which is referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease.

Once an irregularity has been found and linked to the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or another source, the health practitioner may utilize additional testing, such as a CT scan, to determine the extent of any gland damage.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol 6 Specimen Test, 6 Specimen Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test, Cortisol Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Cortisol 6 Specimen test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol 6 Specimen blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a a Cortisol 6 Specimen test:

  • Cortisol Saliva
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol 6 Specimen test is recommended:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol 6 Specimen test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

ACTH stimulation is a test that measures the amount of cortisol in a person's blood before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. Cortisol levels will rise in response to ACTH stimulation if the adrenal glands are functioning normally. Cortisol levels will be low if they are damaged or not working properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol Total test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the person examined responds to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol, the problem is most likely due to insufficient ACTH production by the pituitary. If the person does not respond to the ACTH stimulation test, the problem is most likely to be with the adrenal glands. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are underactive as a result of pituitary dysfunction and/or insufficient ACTH synthesis. Adrenal injury causes decreased cortisol production, which is referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease.

Once an irregularity has been found and linked to the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or another source, the health practitioner may utilize additional testing, such as a CT scan, to determine the extent of any gland damage.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Most Popular

Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol AM Test, Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Specimen must be drawn between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Test is not recommended for patients receiving prednisone/prednisolone therapy due to cross reactivity with the antibody used in this test.

When is a Cortisol AM test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol AM blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. A certain amount of cortisol must be produced for normal adrenal, pituitary gland, and brain function.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cortisol AM test:

  • Cortisol PM
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol AM test is recommended:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol AM test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Among other things, the hormone cortisol controls how proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates are metabolized. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. Cortisol production and release are triggered by ACTH in the adrenal glands. A certain amount of cortisol must be produced for normal brain, pituitary, and adrenal gland function.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

The purpose of ACTH stimulation is to compare the levels of cortisol in a person's blood before and after receiving an injection of synthetic ACTH. If the adrenal glands are healthy, the reaction to ACTH stimulation will be an increase in cortisol levels. Low amounts of cortisol will result if they are broken or not functioning properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol AM test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the subject of the examination reacts to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol levels, the issue is most likely brought on by the pituitary's insufficient production of ACTH. The adrenal glands are most likely the source of the issue if the subject does not react to the ACTH stimulation test.

 

An additional test, like as a CT scan, may be used by the medical professional to evaluate the degree of any gland damage once an irregularity has been identified and related to the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands, or another cause.

Important: Patient needs to have the specimen collected between 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Urinary Free Cortisol is useful in the detection of patients with Cushing's syndrome for whom Free Cortisol concentrations are elevated.

Most Popular

Description: A cortisol test measures the amount of cortisol in the blood. These levels will start off high in the morning and throughout the say they become lower. At midnight they are typically at their lowest level. Someone who works a night shift or has an irregular sleep schedule may have a different pattern. This test can be used to determine Cushing's or Addison's Disease.

Also Known As: Cortisol PM Test, Cortisol Total Test, Cortisol Test, Cortisol Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Must be drawn between 3 and 5 p.m.

When is Cortisol PM test ordered?

When a person has symptoms that point to a high level of cortisol and Cushing syndrome, a cortisol test may be recommended.

Women with irregular menstrual periods and increased facial hair may be tested, and children with delayed development and small stature may also be tested.

When someone exhibits symptoms that point to a low cortisol level, adrenal insufficiency, or Addison disease, this test may be ordered.

What does a Cortisol PM blood test check for?

Cortisol is a hormone that plays a function in protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism. It has an effect on blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and immune system regulation. Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced into the urine and found in the saliva. This test determines how much cortisol is present in the blood, urine, or saliva.

Cortisol levels in the blood usually rise and fall in a pattern known as "diurnal variation." It reaches its highest point early in the morning, then gradually decreases over the day, reaching its lowest point around midnight. When a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, this rhythm might fluctuate, and it can be disrupted when a disease or condition inhibits or stimulates cortisol production.

The adrenal glands, two triangle organs that sit on top of the kidneys, generate and emit cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Cushing syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms associated with an unusually high cortisol level. Cortisol production may be increased as a result of:

  • Large doses of glucocorticosteroid hormones are given to treat a range of ailments, including autoimmune illness and certain cancers.
  • Tumors that produce ACTH in the pituitary gland and/or other regions of the body.
  • Cortisol production by the adrenal glands is increased as a result of a tumor or abnormal expansion of adrenal tissues.

Rarely, CRH-producing malignancies in various regions of the body.

Cortisol production may be reduced as a result of:

  • Secondary adrenal insufficiency is caused by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary gland tumor that prevents ACTH production.
  • Primary adrenal insufficiency, often known as Addison disease, is characterized by underactive or injured adrenal glands that limit cortisol production.

After quitting glucocorticosteroid hormone medication, especially if it was abruptly stopped after a long time of use.

Lab tests often ordered with a Cortisol PM test:

  • Cortisol Total
  • Cortisol AM
  • Cortisol Saliva
  • ACTH
  • Aldosterone
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • Growth Hormone

Conditions where a Cortisol PM test is recommended:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Endocrine Syndromes
  • Hypertension
  • Pituitary Disorders

How does my health care provider use a Cortisol PM test?

A cortisol test can be used to detect Cushing syndrome, which is characterized by an excess of cortisol, as well as adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, which are characterized by a deficiency of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism, among other functions. Cortisol levels in the blood normally increase and fall in a "diurnal variation" pattern, rising early in the morning, dropping during the day, and reaching their lowest point around midnight.

The adrenal glands generate and excrete cortisol. The hypothalamus in the brain and the pituitary gland, a small organ below the brain, control the hormone's production. The hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone when blood cortisol levels drop, which tells the pituitary gland to create ACTH. The adrenal glands are stimulated by ACTH to generate and release cortisol. The brain, pituitary, and adrenal glands must all be operating properly in order to produce enough levels of cortisol.

Only a small fraction of cortisol in the blood is "free" and biologically active; the majority is attached to a protein. Blood cortisol testing assesses both protein-bound and free cortisol, but urine and saliva cortisol testing assesses only free cortisol, which should be in line with blood cortisol levels. Multiple blood and/or saliva cortisol levels collected at various times, such as 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., can be used to assess cortisol levels and diurnal variation. A 24-hour urine cortisol sample will not reveal diurnal variations; instead, it will assess the total quantity of unbound cortisol voided over the course of 24 hours.

If an elevated amount of cortisol is found, a health professional will conduct additional tests to confirm the results and discover the cause.

If a person's blood cortisol level is abnormally high, a doctor may order additional tests to be sure the high cortisol is indeed abnormal. Additional testing could involve monitoring 24-hour urinary cortisol, doing an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, and/or obtaining a salivary sample before sleep to detect cortisol at its lowest level. Urinary cortisol testing necessitates collecting urine over a set length of time, usually 24 hours. Because ACTH is released in pulses by the pituitary gland, this test can assist evaluate whether a raised blood cortisol level is a true rise.

An ACTH stimulation test may be ordered if a health practitioner feels that the adrenal glands are not releasing enough cortisol or if initial blood tests reveal insufficient cortisol production.

ACTH stimulation is a test that measures the amount of cortisol in a person's blood before and after a synthetic ACTH injection. Cortisol levels will rise in response to ACTH stimulation if the adrenal glands are functioning normally. Cortisol levels will be low if they are damaged or not working properly. To distinguish between adrenal and pituitary insufficiency, a lengthier variant of this test can be used.

What do my Cortisol PM test results mean?

Cortisol levels are typically lowest before bedtime and highest shortly after awakening, though this pattern can be disrupted if a person works rotating shifts and sleeps at various times on separate days.

Excess cortisol and Cushing syndrome are indicated by an increased or normal cortisol level shortly after awakening, as well as a level that does not diminish by bedtime. If the excess cortisol is not suppressed after an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, the 24-hour urine cortisol is elevated, or the late-night salivary cortisol level is elevated, the excess cortisol is likely due to abnormal increased ACTH production by the pituitary or a tumor outside of the pituitary, or abnormal production by the adrenal glands. Additional tests will aid in determining the root of the problem.

If the person examined responds to an ACTH stimulation test and has insufficient cortisol, the problem is most likely due to insufficient ACTH production by the pituitary. If the person does not respond to the ACTH stimulation test, the problem is most likely to be with the adrenal glands. Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are underactive as a result of pituitary dysfunction and/or insufficient ACTH synthesis. Adrenal injury causes decreased cortisol production, which is referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease.

Once an irregularity has been found and linked to the pituitary gland, adrenal glands, or another source, the health practitioner may utilize additional testing, such as a CT scan, to determine the extent of any gland damage.

Patient needs to have the specimen collected between 3 p.m - 5 p.m.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.



Have you been experiencing fluctuations in weight, mood swings, hair loss, or insomnia? If so, it may be a hormone imbalance. 

Your endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones in your body. If your hormones are unbalanced, they can throw your whole body off. 

Metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, weight, and mood are all regulated by hormones. Keeping your endocrine system running well is essential. 

If you're feeling like there is something disrupting your hormones, it is important that you look into endocrine tests to find out what is actually going on. 

Let's look into this deeper.

What Are Endocrine Disorders?

Your endocrine system is one of the most important parts of your body. In simple terms, an endocrine disorder is when your endocrine systemis malfunctioning, and a gland in the body isn't doing its job correctly. 

Diabetes is one of the most commonly known endocrine disorders. Thyroid diseases such as Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto's, Graves Disease, and Addison's Disease are more common than you might think. And then there are some diseases like Cushing's Syndrome, Prolactinoma, adrenal dysfunction, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome that are much less talked about.

Your endocrine system needs to be running efficiently in order for all of your organs to work properly. With too much cortisol, you may find yourself in a constant state of "fight or flight." Too much testosterone can cause excessive hair growth, hair loss, and acne. The imbalance of your thyroid hormones can cause rapid weight gain with the inability to lose weight. 

Risk Factors & Causes

There are many internal and external factors that can increase your risk for endocrine system disorders. 

Externally, lack of nutrition, a poor diet, injury, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of exercise can have significant adverse effects on your endocrine system. 

Internally, infection, elevated cholesterol levels, tumors, and genetic disorders are common causes and risk factors. Personal history of autoimmune disease can also be a large risk factor for endocrine diseases and disorders. 

Women are far more likely to have an endocrine disorder than men, and menstruation and pregnancy are likely part of the reason. Pregnancy is known for throwing your hormones out of sync. 

Signs & Symptoms

Medical professionals often misread symptoms of endocrine disorders. Anxiety and depression are two of the main symptoms. If your doctor is only treating the symptom, the disorder itself could only get worse. 

Other signs and symptoms of endocrine disorders can also be commonly misdiagnosed. Unexplained weight changes, fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, constipation, excessive thirst, and heat or cold intolerance are all symptoms. 

If your doctor isn't taking your symptoms and concerns seriously, it is important to be your own advocate. Ulta Lab Tests makes this easy with the ability to order your own tests. 

Rare endocrine disorders can produce symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, low heart rate or blood pressure, and eye and vision problems. If you are experiencing any of these and it seems life-threatening, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

Endocrine Tests

When diagnosing, Endocrine Disorders tests are always needed. Endocrine Disorders tests will all look into the hormones in your body and making sure they are in the normal range.  

The Endocrine Advanced Panel includes the tests ordered most often to identify endocrine disorders. This Endocrine lab test panel contains 20 tests with 83 biomarkers used to identify a malfunctioning endocrine gland.

  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Cortisol, A.M.
  • DHEA Sulfate, Immunoassay
  • Estradiol
  • FSH and LH
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C)
  • IGF-I, LC/MS
  • Lipid Panel
  • Progesterone, Immunoassay
  • Prolactin
  • T3 Total
  • T3, Free
  • T4 (Thyroxine), Total
  • T4, Free
  • Testosterone, Free (Dialysis) and Total MS
  • TSH
  • Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Total, Immunoassay
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum

Once your doctor reviews your labs and can see which hormones are out of balance and which biomarkers are out of functional reference ranges, she can work towards a specific direction she thinks your diagnoses could go in and order more specific tests.

It is possible that your doctor will want to do ultrasounds on the gland they think is malfunctioning. Computerized tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will provide highly detailed scans for your doctor to help diagnose and treat your endocrine disorder. 

There are many tests for endocrine disorders, but the first step is to get initial blood tests done.  

FAQ About Endocrine Disorders & Tests

You may have a lot of questions concerning endocrine disorders and endocrine disorders tests. Here are some common questions. If you have any further questions, make an appointment to see a doctor. 

When Should I See My Doctor?

Any time you think your body isn't functioning correctly, you should see your doctor; however, if your doctor isn't as attentive or proactive as you would like, order tests from Ulta Lab Tests and be your own advocate. 

Is My Weight Gain Because of an Endocrine Disorder?

It is definitely possible that your weight is fluctuating because of an Endocrine Disorder. Make sure to mention this symptom to your doctor. 

What Tests Should I Order?

Start with Ulta Lab Tests Endocrine Advanced Panel This will cover most of the bases for any severe endocrine disorders. These 20 tests will give you 83 biomarkers, and the most common types of endocrine disorders will be able to be identified with these tests

Is My Endocrine Disorder Curable?

Technically, no, but they can be managed. Most Endocrine Disorders are something you will have to monitor for the rest of your life. If your hormones are unbalanced because of a cyst, tumor, or trauma, then it is possible that the disorder can be corrected. 

Lab Testing With Ulta Lab Tests

Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable, so you can make informed decisions about your health.

  • Secure and confidential results
  • No insurance referral is needed
  • Affordable pricing
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your endocrine lab tests today and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.

 The endocrine system is a network that is made up of different glands throughout the human body. The endocrine system and the nervous system work together to regulate and control many of the internal functions of the body. The nervous system makes use of nerve impulses as its means for control; the endocrine system utilizes hormones, which are chemical messenger molecules. These hormones are created, stored, as well as secreted by an integrated network of different glands. When endocrine glands release different hormones into the blood, they will target specific organs, tissues, or cells. Every target will have dedicated receptors for that specific hormone, which can be explained as a key that fits into a lock.  

This network is made up of several parts. One of these is the hypothalamus, which is the endocrine gland situated in the brain. Another includes the pituitary gland, located in its own dedicated place inside of the sella turcica, just under the hypothalamus. The signals sent by the brain instruct the hypothalamus to create many types of hormones that either inhibit or stimulate the pituitary. These are the signals that make the pituitary either decrease or increase the hormones that it produces, followed by releasing them into the blood. Hormones that the pituitary releases in different amounts will travel through the blood to the endocrine glands. Some of these glands include the ovaries and testicles, adrenal, and thyroid glands. Many other tissues and organs in the body are also classified as hormone targets.  

Many of the endocrine glands are governed by specific feedback systems to prevent hormone imbalance. An example of this includes the hypothalamus that first stimulates the pituitary gland, followed by the adrenal gland to regulate the way it functions. The hypothalamus will first release CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), which stimulates the pituitary gland into releasing corticotropin (commonly known as an adrenocorticotrophic hormone or ACTH). ACTH then stimulates the adrenal gland into producing cortisol. When cortisol levels reach a specific threshold, the pituitary and the hypothalamus glands start to lower ACTH and CRH production, which creates a feedback loop that is negative.  

Certain hormones, like cortisol, have a monthly or a daily pattern or sequence of release. Levels of cortisol are usually higher in the mornings and lower in the evenings. The pituitary hormone levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) decrease and increase in a regular pattern, which regulates the monthly menstrual cycles in women. Other types of hormones in the blood are typically present in far smaller quantities, will release in specific types of situations. An example of this is when adrenaline (epinephrine) is released from the adrenal glands as a direct response to a stressful situation.  

This gland network and the endocrine system are, in most cases, interdependent, which means any type of disorder which affects one of these glands can cause diseases that are linked to the other glands present in this system. For example, disorders that affect the hypothalamus might also impact on the pituitary gland along with the “downstream” targeted organs. The endocrine syndromes are often categorized by the affected gland.  

Primary disorders will affect one of the target organs, such as the adrenal or thyroid glands.  

Secondary disorders directly affect glands that perform the function of regulating the target organs. This is most commonly the pituitary gland.  

Tertiary disorders are linked to the hypothalamus.  

The Common Causes of Endocrine Syndromes 

Hormones influence multiple systems in the body, which includes the development of female and male characteristics, growth, fertility, digestion, stress response, glucose utilization, energy consumption, water/fluid balance, maintaining the correct blood pressure, and bone metabolism. When the glands are producing too little or too much of a hormone, it can affect these natural processes. This is a condition that is more commonly known as hormonal imbalances. These conditions also go by certain names, like Cushing syndrome (linked with excess cortisol), as they are associated with typical sets of complications and symptoms.  

Endocrine gland dysfunction might occur when the actual gland has a problem, an issue with the feedback-system, or/and when the target tissues are failing to respond to the hormone. When hormone production decreases, it can relate to infections when the immune system is damaged, trauma, crowding of hormone-producing cells caused by the presence of a tumor. Other causes also arise from a gene mutation (inherited) that affects the quality, quantity, or the overall structure of the hormone. When these glands are failing to release or produce enough hormone amounts to stimulate a targeted gland into releasing and producing its hormone, it might also lower production.  

An increase in the production of a hormone can be associated with an imbalance with the feedback system. An example of this is when the pituitary produces an excess amount of ACTH, which will disrupt and interfere with the feedback-system. An increase in production can also be linked to enlarged glands (hyperplasia) or tumors of the cells that produce these hormones. It can also occur when the tissue response is lacking, the use of certain types of medications, or inherited conditions.  

The endocrine tumors which are responsible for producing too many hormones are typically benign and small. Many of these are situated inside the gland that is affected, and that gland only produces one specific hormone type. These tumors rarely become cancerous. It is also very rare that an endocrine-disrupting tumor will be situated anywhere else inside the body. The tumor itself may be responsible for causing symptoms due to the hormone levels that it produces, as its growth will eventually crowd out and lower the production of any other hormone in the affected gland. This is also caused by the size of the tumor that puts pressure on the surrounding structures and nerves.  

Many of the endocrine conditions that are inherited are typically rare and are typically linked to dysfunctional or deficient production associated with one hormone. Or with the hormone production of glands, such as congenital hypothyroidism. There are, however, a few genetic syndromes or conditions that will affect several glands. The two that are identified to affect many of the endocrine glands include MEN-1 and MEN-2. This stands for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, Type 1 and Type 2.  

These are the conditions that relate to an alteration in genes. They also increase the likelihood that the affected person will develop a tumor or tumors in one or many of the endocrine glands in their body.  

Endocrine Disorders and Syndromes 

The common tests used to detect endocrine syndromes and disorders include: 

hCG Tumor Marker 

Catecholamines 

Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) 

Plasma Free Metanephrines 

Urine Metanephrines