Testosterone is name of male sex hormone secreted by testes. It is responsible for male sexual characteristics and stimulates secondary sexual characteristics. Testosterone is produced by ovaries (in females) to some extent. Among all other androgen groups available, testosterone is the most powerful one. Androgens are responsible for producing beard and male voice apart from building muscle tone. If the testosterone levels are normal/high the person is said to have good health.
Indirectly testosterone helps in reducing the blood pressure and prevents heart attack and osteoporosis. This hormone is given in the form of injection to treat breast cancer in females and for treating hypogonadism in males. Low levels of testosterone can be a cause of erectile dysfunction. A healthy adult (male) the level of testosterone would be about 7 times greater than the levels in adult female.
Low Testosterone Causes in Males :
The amount of testosterone secreted by the testicles (in men) would gradually decline as he grows older. At the age of 30 its level would be in peak. Certain factors like injury or infection on the testicles, undergoing chemo therapy, high iron content in the body, infection of pituitary gland, serious inflammatory diseases like sarcoidosis, prostate cancer, kidney failure and liver cirrhosis can reduce the amount of testosterone secretion significantly. Chronic illness, alcoholism (daily drinking) and obesity can also reduce the secretion of testosterone.
Primary sign of low testosterone in men is reduced sex drive and loss of interest in sex. He may have erectile dysfunction, may develop depression and other psychological problems. Physical changes of low testosterone include decreased muscle mass, increased cholesterol level (high body fat) and loss of body hair. Low levels of testosterone can cause osteoporosis due to weakened bones, reduction in the production of hemoglobin (causing anemia) and reduced bodily hair.
No visible symptoms would be there to diagnose low levels of testosterone except the above symptoms. If you have some of the above signs you can discuss with your doctor to check the levels of testosterone in blood.
Depending on the health condition and age of the person, your doctor may recommend giving testosterone injection (intramuscular) for few weeks. Gel made of this hormone can be applied on the skin and hormonal patch can be worn on the scrotum. Some people prefer to take testosterone in the form of oral pills. In severe cases hormonal implant is done. Each of the above method has its merits and demerits. Testosterone replacement therapy is not suitable for all men because they may develop breast cancer or prostate cancer in future.
- Testosterone Supplement Therapy :
Your doctor will have to decide whether you are suitable for taking this therapy. Taking this treatment can considerably increase the levels of testosterone. Hormone supplement is available in the form of gels, creams and patches. Transdermal (skin patch) can be worn on the scrotal sacs. Mouth patch like striant can stick on to your upper gums. Testim or Androgel can be applied on the skin directly. Ntesto is another kind of testosterone gel which can be applied inside your nose. Testosterone is also available in the form of implants and injection and oral pills.
- Testosterone Therapy in Men :
Men with reduced libido and low testosterone level can go for testosterone supplement. There are cases that have shown improvement in sex drive and erectile function after taking this therapy. Visible changes in mood are also reported for many men after taking treatment.
Disadvantages of Testosterone Therapy :
Before undergoing testosterone therapy one should discuss about its side effects with the doctor. Testosterone gels or creams can produce rashes and intense itching on the genitals. It can cause benign prostatic hypertrophy in men. Many men have increase in size of prostate gland after taking this therapy. It can lead to difficulty in passing urine.
Developing prostate cancer is yet another major concern for men taking testosterone supplement. Due to excess of growth of prostate glands they are prone to develop prostate cancer. For some men it may cause problems in sleeping, and risk of developing blood clots. On account of this, they are prone to develop severe problems like pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.