What’s the difference?
Testosterone is a hormone found naturally in your body. For men, testosterone plays a role in regulating many body functions, and effects areas ranging from your voice to sex drive to weight gain. As a man you are likely familiar with the impact testosterone has on your body. But, did you realize that testosterone is a bit more complex than just being low, normal, or high? Think of testosterone like cholesterol for a moment. We know that there is cholesterol, and then there is good cholesterol (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, one of which prevents heart attacks and one that causes heart attacks. Knowing the levels of each cholesterol type you are dealing with is a huge deal! When looking at testosterone, a man can have different levels of total testosterone and free testosterone. The level of each type of testosterone in your body can have different effects. Basically, you can have a normal or high total testosterone level, but have the symptoms of low testosterone because your free testosterone level is low.
When you get your testosterone checked at your doctor’s office it’s likely that you will receive your total testosterone levels. Total testosterone is a combined total of all forms of testosterone in your body, so in this total is bound and unbounded testosterone. Bound testosterone molecules are bound to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) and a protein called albumin. Bound testosterone is not readily available, sitting inside your body’s reserve to be used later. Unbound testosterone is free, not bound to anything, thus being called free testosterone, and available to use at any moment.
Bound and Unbound Testosterone
Both bound and unbound testosterone are necessary to keep your body healthy, but when experiencing signs of sexual dysfunction, like erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, low sex drive, impotence, low energy, depressed mood, lack of fertility, fatigue, weakness or sleep disturbances, it’s important to focus on unbound, free testosterone. If you have taken medications like Viagra or Cialis, and not noticed any results, a lack of free testosterone maybe responsible.
If you notice signs of low testosterone be certain you are working with a physician that specializes in men’s health, and recognizes the difference between total and free testosterone. The Kansas City Men’s Clinic is a team of all-male professionals specializing in men’s sexual health. We recognize the major differences between total and free testosterone. We can help you develop a treatment plan to keep both types of testosterone at a normal level so you can receive the benefits of both. If you have had your testosterone levels come back reading normal, but still have symptoms of low T do not settle for the results. Visit Kansas City Men’s Clinic for a second opinion. Schedule an appointment by calling (816) 533-4420 or online today.