Hi

I wanted to share this resource because it helped me find out what my problem is. This tool online enables you to calculate your free and bioavailable testosterone levels and percentages when you know your total testosterone, SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) and albumin (a blood protein that carries hormones round the body). I've researched it as I'm always sceptical but it is based on algorithms that are widely accepted and that seem to be the trusted resource in the medical field in this respect.

The calculator is on this site: http://www.issam.ch/freetesto.htm You just input the numbers from your tests. If you don't know albumin, maybe just use the default value they put in as an approximation (I'm not sure about this).

You might need to use an SI calculator like the one here to help with units: http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/sc...ical_data.html if you're not sure about doing this there will be people on this board who can advise you.

For those who aren't aware, testosterone binds in the body to both SHBG and albumin. The portion bound to SHBG is not active in the body. The portion bound to albumin is only weakly bound so it circulates in the blood stream and is active. The remainder is known as free and is also active. Bioavailable testosterone equals the free portion plus the portion bound to albumin (and other proteins). It's not just the level of testosterone in the blood, but the level that's active, that is thought to be important in conditions such as PCOS. So even if testosterone levels are normal, if SHBG is low, the percentage of testosterone that is circulating in the body can be high and vice versa. As far as I know, low SHBG is linked to low estrogen. As it's so often the ratio of hormones that's important, this can all be very significant.

I'm not medically qualified and obviously there are risks to self-diagnosis and you should always take your findings to someone qualified and have a full investigation. But I wanted to share in case others are in a similar position and this could help shed light (I have thin PCOS).

It's sort of along the lines of getting a Free Androgen Index (FAI) done but is more precise.

I had been told my testosterone levels were normal because they were on the fairly low side of normal at that point. However, according to the ranges used on my test, my SHBG was near the bottom of the range and my albumin was on the high side of normal. So when I found this site I realised what the abnormality was.

I found it hard to find a resource for ideal levels but apparently about 66% of testosterone in women should be bound to SHBG and most of the remaining 33% should be bound to albumin. Only about 1-2% should be free. My bioavailable portion was nearly 50% even although my level of testosterone was classed as normal. I strongly believe my hormonal system was in imbalance because of this and that my body was fighting somehow to compensate.

Two years later my total testosterone was over three times what it had been then and my symptoms much worse.

It may well be that your Dr knows that your levels are out of range without doing this test or he/she hasn't told you about this but I thought it worth sharing.

I hope this helps someone.

:-)