×

Please Remove Adblock
Adverts are the main source of Revenue for DoveMed. Please remove adblock to help us create the best medical content found on the Internet.

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test

Last updated Sept. 5, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

A Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test determines the levels of SHBG in blood. It is often performed alongside a total testosterone test, in order to better assess the testosterone levels.


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • SHBG Blood Test
  • TeBG Blood Test
  • Testosterone-Estrogen Binding Globulin Test

What is Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein transporter, which is present in blood and produced in the liver. SHBG carries the sex hormones, mostly testosterone and also estrogen, to their various destinations, throughout the body
  • At any given time, only about 2% of testosterone in the body is freely circulating in blood. The rest is bound to either SHBG or albumin. SHBH is specific for sex hormones and binds tightly to them. Albumin, on the other hand, binds to a larger variety of molecules, less tightly though
  • Testosterone is important to tissue growth and maintenance. It is also important to sexual function. Testosterone levels are subject to many factors; excessively low or high levels of the hormone can be problematic
  • A Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test determines the levels of SHBG in blood. It is often performed alongside a total testosterone test, in order to better assess the testosterone levels

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test:

  • As a follow-up test to a total testosterone test
  • Decreased libido in men
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Presence of excessive hair (hirsutism) in women
  • Lack of menstruation in women
  • Developmental problems
  • Acne

How is the Specimen Collected for Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test Result?

The significance of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test is explained:

  • Increased levels of sex hormone binding globulin may indicate:
    • An overactive thyroid
    • Liver disorder
    • Eating disorder
    • Estrogen use
    • Decreased production of sex hormones
  • Decreased levels of sex hormone binding globulin may indicate:
    • An underactive thyroid
    • Steroid use
    • Cushing’s disease
    • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
    • Obesity

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

Certain factors interfere with the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Blood Test. These include:

  • Hormone age
  • Sex
  • Liver status
  • Hormone supplementation

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 14, 2014
Last updated: Sept. 5, 2018