Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

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Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein produced by the liver which binds tightly to hormones like testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estradiol. In its bound state SHBG helps in the transportation of these hormones in biologically inactive forms.

What is SHBG test?

This test measures the level of SHBG in blood. The critical hormone in this test is testosterone. Too little testosterone in men and too much in women can cause problems. The level of SHBG changes due to age and sex apart from other factors like obesity, liver disease and hyperthyroidism.

Why is SHBG test suggested?

The test is suggested if the doctor suspects abnormal testosterone levels. The test may help to diagnose conditions like-

  • Androgen deficiency- Low levels may cause weakness and sexual problems in men while in women it may affect bones and proper functioning of ovaries.
  • Hypogonadism- Affects men with low testosterone and low sperm count.
How is SHBG test performed?

The test is done by the blood sample collected from a vein in the arm.


What are the parameters measured in SHBG test?

The test measures the SHBG level in the blood sample. The normal range in adults are-

  • Males- 10-57 nmol/L
  • Females(Non-pregnant)-18-144 nmol/L

SHBG concentration is higher in pregnant females.

Preparation before performing SHBG test

No specific preparation is needed.

Post care after SHBG test

Care depends on the treatment which again depends on the cause. The doctor will explain the results of SHBG test along with treatment options. Follow the doctor’s recommendations.

Sample types in SHBG test

Samples and results depend on age, gender, health history and other factors.

Low levels of SHBG might indicate-

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • acromegaly

High levels may indicate-

  • Hepatitis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • HIV
  • Anticonvulsants
Side effects of SHBG test

No specific side effects.

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