What Is Testosterone? And What Happens To My T-Levels As I Age?

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Many people go through life without learning much about their bodies. Yet, when men begin to experience less muscle strength, lower bone strength, and other indicators of low testosterone levels, they have to scramble for knowledge. Fortunately, the answers are rather simple for the question, what is testosterone?

What Are Testosterone’s Functions?

Typically, testosterone production spikes when a male reaches puberty. The sex hormone is responsible for an increase in sex drive, maturation of the sex organs, increase in muscle mass, increase in bone density, the growth of facial hair and body hair, and deepening of the voice. During this time, boys mature into adult men, and sperm production begins.

It is made in the body after the pituitary gland in the brain instructs the body to synthesize the precursors to the hormone. Testosterone is secreted from the testicles and adrenal glands of males and in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women, though to a lesser degree. Suffice it to say, this hormone plays a large role in male development.

Symptoms Of Low Testosterone

Having low testosterone in one’s body can be a significant, cascading problem. Low hormone levels can lead to an increase in body fat and even erectile dysfunction. The latter tends to get the most attention and sends men looking for testosterone treatments, whether there is a medical need or not.

Yet, other symptoms exist, too. A lower sex drive, weight gain, and sleep apnea can create health problems that can be fatal.

When Should A Man Seek Testosterone Therapy?

As a man ages, the levels of testosterone in his body drop. It’s a perfectly normal, albeit unfortunate, part of aging for which men don’t need treatment.

However, there are times when this drop is beyond the normal range and leads to significant health problems.

While some older men might not be concerned with their hormonal well-being, eventually the effects of testosterone production significantly dropping in their body will be too noticeable. The ramifications are far deeper than sperm production.

A simple blood test can confirm low testosterone levels, and a doctor can be consulted about the possibility of testosterone therapy.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Once someone has been diagnosed with issues surrounding testosterone production, it’s time to get treatment. The medical term for this issue is called hypogonadism, and it’s usually treated with hormone applications to get the individual back into the normal range of total testosterone. These include:

  • Patches
  • Injections
  • Topical gels

Each of these tools is used for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), but there are some potential drawbacks. These risks are more pronounced in men that aren’t healthy in other ways, such as having too much body fat, and they include:

  • Increased risks of heart attack
  • More severe sleep apnea
  • Skin conditions develop or worse, like acne
  • Sperm production can decrease; sperm count drops
  • A higher chance of heart disease can appear in patient

Interestingly, many of these problems are just as prevalent in men with low testosterone, so getting in the normal range is crucial.

Knowing about the changes in the male sex hormone is important. Men need to recognize the typical signs of aging as well as testosterone deficiency. Knowing what testosterone does and when to get medical advice will lead to better outcomes for men.