May 1st, 2017
Testosterone is not just a sex hormone but is so much more than that. It not only enhances the masculine traits in boys going through the puberty phase, but also regulates many other functions in the human body. With fluctuation in the testosterone levels, many health-related issues may occur (collectively referred to as male menopause) due to declining testosterone levels in the middle-aged men. Given below are some facts regarding testosterone hormone in men that most people are unaware of:
In men, muscle mass is maintained mainly by steady levels of testosterone hormone in addition to sexual stimulation, libido, mental alertness and physical energy. With advancing age, the testosterone levels tend to decline. It is not certain as to what rate testosterone levels decline but the reduction is marked from 20 to 50% between young adulthood (highest peak of testosterone levels) and early 80’s (comparatively lowest peak of testosterone levels).
Male hypogonadism is a term used for testosterone deficiency in men. It may result from testicles associated problems like infections and even from tumors, chemotherapy and some autoimmune diseases. Male hypogonadism may also be a red flag for impaired pituitary gland. This impairment may be due to tumor, injury or use of anabolic steroids.
With physiological aging, men develop conditions like cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes and these conditions can also affect the testosterone levels. Hypogonadism is also associated with obesity and age factor. It is imperative to mention that marked decline in testosterone levels doesn’t have to do much with the aging process itself but the conditions that develop with age. Age related medical conditions are responsible for reduced levels of testosterone and this signifies the male menopausal phase which is not as absolute and complete as compared to female menopause.
Men often experience vague or unclear symptoms when the testosterone levels go down. However, the sex life is duly affected and men may experience an evident lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms may include; insomnia, muscle bulk loss, weight gain, mood swings and difficulty in concentrating. Since these symptoms are vague, they often go unnoticed or ignored. It is not wise to ignore these symptoms particularly erectile dysfunction, as it may be a red flag for a major underlying disease.
The testosterone levels can be determined by blood test. Low levels can be managed with hormone replacement therapy in which synthetic exogenous testosterone is given by injection, implant, gel, patch or tablet. With consistent monitoring this approach can be made not only effective but also safe. Upon adequate prescription, testosterone replacement can be free from side effects.
Only men with extremely low testosterone levels benefits from the testosterone replacement therapy. Men with very low testosterone levels should have their condition addressed prior to opting for replacement therapy.
On one hand, testosterone replacement therapy helps in boosting the levels of testosterone but on the other hand, it suppresses the production of sperm and some hormone. Younger men with low testosterone levels may opt for other approaches in order to prevent infertility.
Seeking medical assistance at the right time may help prevent problems from aggravating. In majority of the cases medical consultation helps in ruling out the chances of and underlying disease.
Upon experiencing symptoms associated to mental health, it is mandatory to report them to a doctor rather than ignoring them or waiting for them to go away on their own.