sex hormone binding globulin test


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clinical definition of sex hormone binding globulin

What is SHBG? Sex Hormone Binding Globulin or sex steroid b also known as SHBG is a glycoprotein that binds two sex hormones: estrogen and androgen. It is an important biomarker and is also related to testosterone for men. The glycoprotein is found in both men and women and is responsible for transporting the hormones through the blood stream to other organs in the body. SHBG has a strong affinity to DHT and testosterone as compared to estrogens. It plays an important role in maintaining the balance of these hormones in a human body

There are many natural ways available on how to increase shbg including eating a healthy, nutritious diet and exercising regularly.

what is a sex hormone binding globulin (shbg) test?

What is shbg blood test? This test measures the levels of shbg in your blood which is made by the liver. Through this, a doctor is able to understand if there are any shbg hormone-based illnesses

A shbg test is done especially in men to detect the level of the male hormone testosterone in it. The normal range of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin varies depending on the age and maturity stage in men and women.

why do i need shbg test?

Shbg levels indicate the health of the body. Higher levels of testosterone in men can cause adrenal tumours, early puberty and congenital hyperplasia in women if there are higher levels of testosterone present it can indicate signs of congenital adrenocortical hyperplasia, PCOS and ovarian gland tumour.

Here are the low shbg symptoms which indicate that the shbg normal range has changed in the body.

Signs in men

• Reduced or delayed development of muscle mass

• Erectile dysfunction

• Lack of deepening of the voice

• Slow or delayed growth of testicles and penis

• Development of breast tissue

• Excessive hair fall or lack of body hair

Signs in women

• Irregular or no menstrual periods

• Skin pigmentation and thickening of the skin

• Difficulty in conception

• Low voice

• Male patterned baldness

• Masculine features such as facial or body hair in excess

Also, high shbg causes also include alcoholism, HIV infection, and hyperthyroidism.

what other tests might i have along with this test?

The doctor may have recommended additional blood tests to confirm the diagnosis or to figure out the diseases associated with it. Apart from that your doctor may recommended a pelvic exam or an ultrasound or biopsy, MRI X-ray, thyroid scan, sperm count

what do my test results mean?

Typically, the results of the test come back in 2-3 days. The test will indicate high or low levels of testosterone in the body. Depending on the results of the test testosterone deficiency treatment is given by the doctor.

Increase in SHBG levels mean

  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa)
  • Decreased sex hormone production (hypogonadism)
  • Pregnancy
  • Decreased levels of testosterone means
  • Obesity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Androgen use
  • Cushing disease

how is this test done?

what is shbg blood test

To do a sex hormone binding globulin test., blood sample is collected through a needle insertion into the veins. Once collected the sample is sent to the lab for analysis.

does this test pose any risk?

Just like any other blood test, when you have a testosterone test, you may feel slight pain when the needle is inserted, soreness, dizziness, nausea and light bleeding. Any bruising will disappear in under a week.

what might affect my test results?

If you are taking any pain killers which are opiates, having an eating disorder or if you engage in excessive, strenuous exercise, then it will affect the results of the shbg lab test.

In addition if you are on any of the following medication that might affect the test as well

• androgen therapy

• steroids

• anticonvulsants

• barbiturates

• clomiphene

• estrogen therapy

Low shbg treatment or high shbg treatment recommended by the doctor may include supplements of testosterone or estrogen depending on the condition.

sample required

Specimen type: Serum (Blood sample)

Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture- Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm

how do i prepare for the test?

There is no special preparation required for this test, and there is no need to fast. It is important to inform your doctor of any over the counter medicine, herbal supplements, drugs you have consumed.


If you have one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, it is time to go get tested. The shbg blood test costs are reasonable and are available in most hospitals or clinics.