Did you know that the human body produces several different hormones that play important roles in various bodily functions? Without them, digestion, blood circulation, growth, reproduction, memory, and other bodily processes would not be possible.
In men, one of these essential hormones is known as testosterone. Primarily produced in the testicles, testosterone is a type of anabolic steroid hormone that facilitates the development of the male reproductive tissues and the secondary male sexual characteristics. Because of how integral it is in the growth and development of men from the fetal stage to old age, it is regarded as the primary male sex hormone.
Functions of Testosterone
Testosterone helps in making many bodily functions and processes in men happen. Below are some good examples:
Testosterone is necessary for keeping a man’s libido or sex drive up. If testosterone production is not enough, there is a risk of a decrease in libido, which can progress to sexual dysfunction if not remedied at the earliest opportunity.
Bone growth and development
Testosterone is instrumental in the formation of bones that are strong and healthy. Men who have low testosterone levels tend to develop weak bones with low bone density and are more prone to sprains, fractures, osteoporosis, and other bone disorders.
Testosterone takes on a big role in the growth and development of muscles. It ensures that they are strong and healthy, and have a low risk of various muscular diseases and disorders.
Production of sperm
Testosterone is key to producing sufficient sperm that has good structure and motility. If there is a lack of testosterone, the risk of low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and infertility increases.
Distribution of body fat
Testosterone aids in the proper distribution of fat in the body, reducing the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and other health problems.
Production of red blood cells
Testosterone helps in the body’s ability to produce new red blood cells, improving blood circulation and flow, strengthening cardiovascular functions, and protecting against heart disease.
Increase in height
Testosterone is essential in a young boy’s growth as he enters puberty. Without testosterone, he may not grow as much as his peers and appear shorter than the other boys his age.
Growth and development of the male genitalia
Testosterone promotes an increase in the size of the penis and testicles from the fetal stage through puberty and adulthood. If testosterone levels are low, the male genitals may be underdeveloped.
Testosterone brings about the growth of facial hair, pubic hair, chest hair, and other body hair once a boy starts puberty. In case there is not enough testosterone produced in the body, he may not be able to grow body hair like his peers.
Understanding testosterone levels
Making sure that your testosterone levels are at normal levels is vital to optimal health. There are many negative side effects that may arise if your testosterone levels are lower or greater than the normal values.
If you have low testosterone, the following are examples of negative side effects that you may encounter:
Decrease in libido
You may lose your desire for sex, be unable to perform in the bedroom, and have a disappointing sex life.
You may become more prone to sprains, fractures, bone injuries, and bone disorders.
You may have an increased risk of muscular disorders.
You may suffer from low energy levels and feel exhausted all the time.
Decrease in body hair
You may notice that your facial hair, pubic hair, and other body hair are growing at a much slower rate or not growing at all.
You may manifest symptoms of insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, preventing you from getting enough sleep and feeling well rested after each day.
You may have a hard time managing your stress levels, and become more easily irritated, annoyed, upset, and others.
Poor mental health
You may show symptoms of depression, anxiety, or some other mental health disorder.
Impaired brain function
You may have trouble focusing on tasks, remembering information, and problem-solving.
If you have high testosterone levels, the following are examples of negative side effects that may occur:
High blood pressure
You may experience a rise in your blood pressure levels and suffer from hypertension, which may lead to serious heart complications if not addressed right away.
High red blood cell count
You may have a higher than normal red blood cell count, as more testosterone in the body means more red blood cells are produced.
You may not be able to produce enough sperm and good quality sperm, which can progress to infertility.
To protect yourself against these negative side effects of abnormal testosterone levels, you should make sure to maintain your testosterone levels between 270 nanograms per deciliter and 1,070 nanograms per deciliter. If you start to manifest any of the side effects above, you should go see your doctor right away.
Treating testosterone imbalance in men
If your testosterone levels test results show that your testosterone levels are indeed outside the normal range, you should talk to your doctor about the best way to fix the problem.
Usually, men with low testosterone levels are prescribed testosterone therapy, which is administered in several ways, such as:
Intramuscular testosterone injection
This is typically administered once every 10 to 14 days to help boost testosterone in the body.
This is applied to the skin directly daily to allow testosterone to be absorbed into the body.
Testosterone skin patches
This is also administered daily by applying the patch onto the neck, shoulder, arm, or buttocks to introduce more testosterone into the body.
These are inserted under one’s skin, usually the skin of the buttocks, to facilitate testosterone absorption into the body.
And, in cases of high testosterone, doctors usually advise patients to stop their intake of any testosterone supplements or boosters to get their testosterone levels back down to normal.
Also, to help achieve and maintain normal testosterone levels, living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and quitting bad habits is strongly recommended.