Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) Test

This test measures the level of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in your blood. SHBG is a protein made by your liver. It binds tightly to three sex hormones found in both men and women. These hormones are estrogen; dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and testosterone. SHBG carries these three hormones throughout your blood.

Although SHBG binds three hormones, the hormone that’s critical in this test is testosterone. SHBG controls the amount of testosterone that your body tissues can use. Too little testosterone in men and too much testosterone in women can cause problems. The level of SHBG in your blood changes because of factors such as sex and age. It can also change because of obesity, liver disease, and hyperthyroidism. 

Why the Test is Performed?

You may need this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have abnormal testosterone levels. The test can help diagnose various conditions and diseases, including:

  • Androgen deficiency. Low levels of the hormone androgen can cause general weakness and sexual problems in men. In women, androgen may affect thinking and bone strength. It may also prevent the ovaries from working the way they should.  
  • Hypogonadism. This condition happens mostly in men. It is found in men with low testosterone and low sperm production.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

Low levels of SHBG can be related to:

  • Obesity.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • PCOS.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Acromegaly, or too much growth hormone, causing body tissues grow larger over time.

High levels of SHBG can be related to:

  • Hepatitis.
  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • HIV.
  • Anticonvulsants, or medicine used to treat seizures.

Keywords: sex hormone binding globulin test; SHBG test.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.