What you need to know about testosterone

By January 5, 2018Hormones

Ever wondered why some guys are able to build rock solid muscles in no time and others (to their dismay) just can’t? One reason could be due to the amount of testosterone they produce. Testosterone is a sex hormone found in males and females, but it’s more prominent in men. Production starts to increase during puberty and dips after the age of 30.

This macho hormone helps with sperm production, helps male characteristics fully develop and plays an important role in the overall health of men. Here’s what you need to know about it:

Testosterone’s main jobs:

  • Helps with the growth of testes at puberty.
  • Controls male physical features.
  • Aids in the development of facial and pubic hair.
  • Helps build muscles and strong bones.
  • Deepens the voice.
  • Helps produce sperm.
  • Increases sexual drive.

Running low

The levels of testosterone in a man’s body fluctuate daily, and is usually at its peak in the morning. High or low levels can lead to dysfunction in parts of the body, which are normally regulated by this hormone.

As a man ages, his amount of testosterone naturally decreases, but in some cases, low testosterone can be caused by other issues:

  • An injury, infection or loss of the testicles
  • Too much iron in the body
  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Dysfunction of the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain that produces important hormones)
  • Kidney failure
  • Inflammatory diseases like sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation of the lungs).

Low levels of testosterone causes different symptoms like

  • decreased sex drive
  • low energy levels
  • weight gain
  • moodiness
  • less body hair
  • low self-esteem.
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Besides the symptoms, a depletion in this hormone can lead to serious health conditions like erectile dysfunction. This condition, also known as impotence, is when a male has an inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse. Although low levels of testosterone aren’t the only culprit for this dysfunction, it does play a role.

Treating testosterone issues

  • Intramuscular injections (injection directly in your muscles), given anywhere from every two weeks to every 10 weeks.
  • Testosterone cream applied down the sides of the neck down to the collarbone.
  • Long-acting subcutaneous pellet (provides a slow continuous release of hormone after being inserted into your buttocks or near your hip).
  • Clomiphene tablets which increase testosterone and sperm production in the testicles.

Good to know

Testosterone treatments are prescribed only for conditions where the hormone is low and not for age-related drops. Testosterone replacement therapy is also available, but you should talk to your doctor before making the decision to use it as there might be possible complications.

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