Muscular man applying testosterone gel to treat low t

Testosterone is an important hormone for males that plays a significant role in many of the body’s systems.

Today we will be discussing testosterone, the impact it has on the male body and how you can tell if you have low testosterone.

What is Testosterone?

Produced mainly in the testicles, testosterone is a hormone in the body that plays a key part in development, sexual health and even appearance.

Testosterone affects several of the body’s systems and processes helping to maintain them. Some of these include:

  • Bone density
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Distribution of fat throughout the body
  • Mass and strength of muscles
  • Hair on the face and body
  • Production of sperm
  • Sex drive

In adolescence and into early adulthood, testosterone levels reach their peak. As men begin to age, the level of testosterone in their bodies begins to decline. Around the age of 30, a man’s testosterone levels begin to drop and they continue to fall as he ages.

Studies have shown that as women go through menopause, men can experience “andropause” after the age of 50 when their testosterone levels tend to plummet. [1]

These drops in testosterone levels can be a normal sign of aging or they can point to a disease called hypogonadism. In hypogonadism, the man’s body does not have the ability to produce adequate levels of testosterone because of a problem in the pituitary gland or in the testicles. [2]

Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone

There are a variety of things that can happen in your body to alert you to having low testosterone levels.

Some of these indicators are physical while others are psychological. Some symptoms can seem completely unrelated to what you think your testosterone has an effect on but if you are experiencing multiple symptoms listed here, you should probably speak with your healthcare provider.

Some psychological signs that are indicators of low testosterone levels are:

  • Problems with your memory
  • Inability to concentrate, or experiencing “brain fog”
  • *Decreased motivation to do things
  • *Increased agitation or irritability
  • *Lowered sex drive
  • Depression

Some of the physical indicators of low levels of testosterone are:

  • The appearance of breasts (gynecomastia)
  • Excessive fatigue or lack of energy
  • An *increased refractory period between intercourse
  • Erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve or maintain an erection)
  • *Increase in body fat
  • *Loss of body hair
  • *Increase in LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio
  • *Reduced strength and muscle mass
  • Insomnia
  • Development of osteoporosis
  • Infertility (including low sperm counts)

Some of the symptoms can point to many different medical conditions like diabetes, depression, sleep apnea or thyroid problems. These health problems can cause *lowered levels of testosterone, or the low testosterone could be fueling these problems. The only way to know for sure is to speak to your doctor and get your levels of testosterone checked.

What Happens to My Body if I Have Low Testosterone?

There are many benefits to your body when your testosterone is within normal levels.

When your testosterone levels are sub-optimal, however, different processes and functions within your body can be negatively impacted.

Here are just a few things you can experience if you are running low on testosterone:

  • You can become depressed – Men who are depressed tend to have low testosterone levels. [3] Therefore, having optimal levels of testosterone helps to *improve a man’s mood and well-being, making him less likely to be depressed.

 

  • Weight *gain – This hormone plays a large role in the regulation of glucose, insulin and fat metabolism. If the level of testosterone is too low, the body’s ability to regulate these levels is negatively impacted. When the levels of glucose, insulin and fat metabolism cannot be kept within normal ranges, our bodies begin to pack on fat. [4]</sup. The gaining of this weight can further compound the issue since being overweight can cause testosterone levels to drop even more. Research has shown that obese men have *lower than normal levels of testosterone. [5] Normal levels of testosterone are necessary for your body to maintain proper levels of body fat.

 

  • *Lowered sexual functioning – This can be experienced as *lowered sex drive, or as a physical manifestation like erectile dysfunction. Men who have *lowered levels of testosterone cannot become aroused as they would if they had normal levels of testosterone. [6] Because of this, they generally have a low functioning libido and can experience impotence. Having adequate levels of testosterone is important for healthy sexual function.

 

  • Weak bones – Low testosterone levels *increase a man’s chances of developing osteoporosis. Testosterone helps to build up the density of bones by stimulating their mineralization and it *lowers the rate at which bones are broken down through reabsorption. [7] Having strong levels of testosterone should help to keep your bones stronger for a longer period of time.

 

  • Memory loss and *lower cognitive functioning – Research has shown that in older men, low levels of testosterone have a negative impact on memory and cognitive functioning. Additionally, low testosterone levels have shown to play a role in the development in Alzheimer’s disease. [8] *Improvement in the levels of testosterone has been shown to improve a man’s cognitive abilities and might help to stave off Alzheimer’s.

This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are several other health implications associated with low testosterone beyond the scope of this article.

This hormone is crucial for far more than sexual health and appearance. It is vital to maintain adequate levels of testosterone to help your body function properly.

Conclusion

*Increasing a man’s *lowered testosterone levels can *improve his quality of life and help *improve his body’s functioning.

Having adequate testosterone levels is important for a man’s overall health.

If you think you or someone you love is experiencing low testosterone, make an appointment today to get the levels checked out and begin treatment if necessary.

Come back soon for more informative articles!

References

[1] Wu CY, Yu TJ, Chen MJ (2000) Age Related Testosterone Level Changes and Male Andropause Syndrome. Chang Gung Med j 23(6): 348-53

[2] Kumar P, Kumar N, Thakur D, Patidar A (2010) Male Hypogonadism: Symptoms and Treatment. J Adv Pharm Technol Res 1(3): 297-301

[3] Zarouf FA, Artz S, Griffith J, Sirbu C, Kommor M (2009) Testosterone and Depression: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Psychiatr Pract 15(4): 289-305

[4] Traish AM, Saad F, Guay A (2009) The Dark Side of Testosterone Deficiency: II. Type 2 Diabetes and Insulin Resistance 30(1): 23-32

[5] Dhindsa S, Miller MG, McWhirter CL, Mager DE, Ghanim H, Chaudhuri A, Dandona P (2010) Testosterone Concentrations in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Obese Men. Diabetes Care 33(6): 1186-92

[6] Corona G, Isidori AM, Aversa A, Burnett AL, Maggi M (2016) Endocrinologic Control of Men’s Sexual Desire and Arousal/Erection. J Sex Med 13(3): 317-37

[7] Snyder PJ, Peachey H, Hannoush P, Berlin JA, Loh L, Holmes JH, Dlewati A, Staley J, Santanna J, Kapoor SC, Attie MF, Haddad JG Jr, Strom BL (1999) Effect of Testosterone Treatment on Bone Mineral Density in Men Over 65 Years of Age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 84(6): 1966-72

[8] Rosario E, Carrol J, Oddo S, LaFerta F, Pike C (2006) Androgens Regulate the Development of Neuropathology in a Triple Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of Neuroscience 26(51): 13384-13389

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