Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women, though it is primarily produced in the testicles of males. It plays an important role in male sexual development, as well as other bodily functions.
This article will discuss what testosterone is, its function and levels, and how it can affect your health.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that is primarily produced by the gonads (testicles or ovaries) in males. It plays a key role in the development of male reproductive organs such as the penis and prostate gland, as well as other sexual characteristics like facial hair growth, deepening of the voice, and increased muscle mass. In females, testosterone helps regulate menstrual cycles and bone density.
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone and anabolic steroid in males. It is responsible for regulating sex differentiation, growing muscle mass, producing male sex characteristics, spermatogenesis, and other functions.
In humans, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair.
Testosterone levels are naturally much higher in people with typically male physical characteristics than those with typically female physical characteristics.
How Does Testosterone Affect Your Health?
Testosterone has a number of important roles in maintaining overall health. It helps to regulate energy levels, moods, libido, bone density, red blood cell production and even fat distribution.
Testosterone plays an important role in many aspects of your health including;
- Your sex drive (libido)
- Fertility (sperm production)
- Red blood cell production (which carries oxygen throughout your body)
- Bone density (which helps prevent osteoporosis)
- Fat distribution (which affects your overall shape)
- Muscle strength and mass (which affects physical performance)
- Facial hair growth (which affects appearance)
- Body hair distribution (which affects appearance).
Low testosterone levels can lead to decreased libido which can affect relationships with partners while high testosterone levels can lead to increased aggression which can also affect relationships with partners. Low testosterone can lead to a variety of health problems including fatigue, depression, low libido and erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone levels may also cause skin problems as reported by many research studies.
Additionally, low or high testosterone levels may lead to infertility which could be devastating for couples trying to conceive a child naturally.
Testosterone also plays an important role in regulating moods such as depression or anxiety which could be caused by low or high levels respectively.
High testosterone levels can also have negative effects on health such as aggression and acne.
Lastly high levels of testosterone have been linked to certain types of cancer such as prostate cancer so it’s important to keep track of your hormone levels if you are concerned about this risk factor.
Testosterone production is also effected by the sleep levels at night. To get the quality sleep at night, natural sleep aids are recommended and tested from centuries. These are the safest option to get quality deep sleep.
Testosterone Function & Levels
Testosterone has several important functions for both genders. In males, it helps to regulate sex drive (libido), sperm production, red blood cell production, bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, facial hair growth, and body hair distribution. In females, testosterone helps regulate menstrual cycles and bone density.
The normal range of testosterone levels for adult men varies between 300-1000 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). For adult women the normal range is 15-70 ng/dL.
Low testosterone levels can cause symptoms such as decreased libido (sex drive), erectile dysfunction (ED), fatigue or lack of energy, decreased muscle mass or strength, depression or anxiety, difficulty concentrating or remembering things clearly.
High testosterone levels can cause symptoms such as acne or oily skin; increased aggression; irregular menstrual cycles; increased body hair; deepening of the voice; clitoral enlargement; enlarged breasts; male pattern baldness; infertility; sleep disturbances; headaches; anxiety or irritability; high blood pressure; liver damage; kidney damage.
Low testosterone can also cause a variety of symptoms including decreased energy levels, low libido or erectile dysfunction, depression or anxiety, difficulty concentrating or remembering things clearly and decreased muscle mass or strength. Other signs may include reduced facial or body hair growth or loss of bone density (osteoporosis).
Causes of Low Testosterone
It is normal for testosterone levels to decrease over time as men get older however there are certain factors that can contribute to Low-T such as:
- Hormone imbalances due to medical conditions like diabetes or obesity
- Infections such as HIV or mumps
- Anabolic steroid abuse
- Chronic liver or kidney diseases
- Certain medications including steroids and opiates
These factors can affect the hormones naturally produced by your body which can result in low testosterone levels over time leading to the symptoms mentioned earlier.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
The most common symptoms associated with low testosterone are reduced energy levels, fatigue and decreased libido. Some men may also experience mood changes such as depression or irritability.
Other physical changes associated with low T include reduced muscle mass, increased body fat and an overall decrease in strength and vitality. Some less common symptoms include night sweats, breast enlargement (gynecomastia) and hot flashes.
In some cases, male infertility may be linked to a lack of testosterone production.
There are several warning signs that may indicate low levels of testosterone:
- Fatigue – feeling tired all the time even after sleeping 8 hours per night
- Depression – persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of energy / motivation
- Inability to regulate moods
- Reduced libido (sex drive)
- Difficulty gaining muscle mass
- Decreased beard growth
- Bone loss
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Sleep disturbances
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hair thinning/loss
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms then it may be time to get tested for Low-T. While some men experience only one symptom others experience multiple although unfortunately most men often confuse these signs with simply getting older and don’t seek medical help until their condition has become more severe.
Diagnosing Low Testosterone
If you suspect that you may have low testosterone levels it is important to get tested by your doctor to confirm this diagnosis. A simple blood test will measure your total testosterone level which will help determine if you have low testosterone levels or not.
Your doctor may also recommend additional tests such as measuring free testosterone levels or luteinizing hormone (LH) levels to further assess your condition.
Treatment for Low Testosterone
Treatment for low testosterone depends on the underlying cause but often includes lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and reducing stress along with dietary modifications like eating more protein-rich foods like eggs and fish.
Additionally there are natural testosterone supplements over the counter that can help increase testosterone production. These testosterone supplements contain only natural ingredients that are proven through studies and clinical trials to boost natural testosterone production.
Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women that plays a role in many aspects of our health including energy levels, moods, libido and even fat distribution.
Low testosterone can lead to a variety of symptoms including decreased energy levels and libido while high testosterone can cause aggression and acne among other issues.
If you suspect you have low testosterone it is important to get tested by your doctor so they can diagnose the issue accurately before recommending treatment options which could include lifestyle changes or medications depending on the underlying cause.