Testosterone is stimulated and produced by the testes and is key to driving male sexual behavior. Although testosterone is a sex hormone, it plays many crucial roles in the body. It is responsible for regulating a man’s sex drive (libido), bone and muscle mass, fat distribution and the production of red blood cells, Decreased libido and sperm. The body begins to produce testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception, with levels reaching their peak at puberty. As men age, levels of testosterone start to drop, and this affects individuals in different ways.
Decreased Motivation: As testosterone production diminishes so do energy boosting components and restful sleep, thus producing reduced motivation.
Decreased libido: Low levels of testosterone cause a reduction in sex drive.
Depression: When a person experiences low testosterone levels it alters hormone production, which can lead to depression.
Erectile Dysfunction: Testosterone supplementation can be used to reverse or correct low testosterone-induced erectile dysfunction.
Fatigue: A decrease in testosterone levels leads to hormonal changes, which can cause fatigue, and can be exacerbated by low testosterone-induced sleep loss, which can quickly turn into a vicious cycle.
High Cholesterol: High cholesterol is a silent killer that can lead to a variety of heart conditions. Testosterone injections, when used in a proper protocol, can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglyceride levels.
Low Energy & Fatigue: Symptoms of aging can be a direct result of diminishing levels of testosterone or (Low-T) in the body. As we age, our bodies produce less and less testosterone, causing low energy and fatigue.
Memory Loss: Some recent evidence suggests that testosterone might help prevent and treat the effects of brain aging. Some patients treated with testosterone injections expressed a palpable increase in their cognitive function, short- and long-term memory, and vocabulary improvements.
Thyroid: The hormones produced by the thyroid and adrenal glands regulate critical processes throughout the body. If thyroid hormone and cortisol levels are abnormal, the rest of the body does not function properly.
Weight Gain: The production of certain hormones decreases after the age of 30. The lean body mass of some organs also starts to decline, whereas fat mass increases.
When Age Becomes The Deciding Factor
After the age of 30, your body starts declining in hormones production, and the body decreases its testosterone production. This decrease, however, is very gradual and its effects can only felt around the age of 50. Common signs of testosterone decline include fatigue, decreased libido and problem having erections. While these effects can be most nerve-wracking, they are relatively common. Talk to your doctor at this stage, who will examine your condition and accordingly prescribe medicines or advise lifestyle changes.
The problem arose when these effects were seen, at or below the age of 40. Low levels of testosterone at a younger generation usually point to an underlying medical condition and warrant more in-depth investigation. It is essential that men consult a qualified doctor or men’s health specialist at the earliest, who will determine the underlying cause and how best to treat it. Some reasons for low testosterone production include underactive testes, undescended testicles, physical injury to the testicles, pituitary disorders or inherited conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome.
Know Your Treatment Options
Once a case of low testosterone is confirmed, patients have advised a mix of lifestyle changes (such as increased physical activity, healthy diet), counseling and medication (orals or injectables). The choice of treatment made depending on the patient’s medical history, levels of testosterone, age and physical condition. Testosterone replacement therapy is another useful treatment option and helps restore the body’s declining testosterone levels. However, it must be taken under supervision since excessive testosterone is also harmful. If problems such as erectile dysfunction persist and hamper the patient’s relationship and quality of life, doctors may recommend other therapies to help restore erections.
Testosterone Boosting Supplements: Good Or Bad?
In the quest for ‘physical fitness’ and ‘bodybuilding,’ a growing number of young men in their 20s and 30s try to boost their testosterone levels through external testosterone supplementation, Includes natural supplements, and or synthetic supplements (anabolic steroids). However, use of these supplements (test boosters and AAS) can have damaging and irreversible effects on the body in the long term, such as a reduction in sperm count (even zero counts!), excess fluid retention, enlargement of the prostate and an increase in red blood cells.
My advice to everyone reading this piece is this: Protect your sexual health. If you observe changes in your sexual response or experience any difficulty being intimate with your partner, talk to a qualified doctor at the earliest. If low testosterone is to blame, your doctor will discuss suitable treatment options and guide you in making an informed choice. Do not resort to testosterone supplementation on your own, as this may do you more harm than good in the long run.
Dr. Rupin Shah is a Urologist at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai and has been a part of the medical field for decades.
1) NIH. Understanding How Testosterone Affects Men. Available at https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/understanding-how-testosterone-affects-men
2) USRF. History of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Available at https://www.usrf.org/news/TRT/history.html
3) Healthline Newsletter. The Effects of Testosterone on the Body. Available at https://www.healthline.com/health/low-testosterone/effects-on-body#1
4) American Urological Association. Testosterone for Erection Problems. Available at http://www.choosingwisely.org/patient-resources/testosterone-for-erection-problems/
5) AAIRC. Anti Aging Rejuvenation Clinic. Testosterone Replacement Therapy http://www.aaiclinics.com/testosterone-therapy-vs-testosterone-supplements/