Testosterone is an essential hormone, which is produced by both men and women, and plays an important role in regulating the health and well being of our bodies. Despite many studies on its importance in the past, many myths exist as to the activity and effects that it exerts on human beings.
What is Testosterone?
The steroid hormone, testosterone, is classified as an androgen and plays a role in the maintenance of systemic anabolic effects, especially metabolism of salts, bone growth, and fluid balance. It is worthwhile to note that men produce far greater quantities of testosterone than women and the hormone exerts a positive effect on libido, body shape, muscle mass, energy levels, and sexual function in men. In addition to this, the hormone is important for the complete growth and maintenance of the male sex organs and male secondary sex characteristics such as changes in fat distribution, facial and axillary hair, and deepened voice.
Testosterone is also behind the production of systemic anabolic effects that include retention of nitrogen, calcium, chloride, sodium, phosphate, and potassium that leads to an enhancement in water retention and growth of bones besides making the skin more vascular and less fatty.
What are the Causes And Symptoms Of Low Testosterone
Male hypogonadism is the phrase used for describing men with severe testosterone deficiency. It is most commonly because of testicular damage, genetic disorders, or malfunctioning of the pituitary gland pr hypothalamus in the brain. The level of testosterone in the body can be negatively impacted by factors such as acute critical illness, alcohol abuse, smoking, ageing, and chronic diseases. Low testosterone levels can also be a result of radiation, chemotherapy, environmental poisons, benign tumor of the brain (craniopharyngioma), and use of drugs (opiates, anabolic steroids, and glucocorticoids).
The symptoms of testosterone deficiency include fatigue, lethargy, sexual dysfunction, loss of sexual interest, anemia, osteoporosis, and poor erectile function.
Are there Complications With Low Testosterone
Low testosterone levels could lead to decreased body hair, low or zero sperm in the semen, rudimentary breast development, increased abdominal fat, reduced libido, poor erectile quality, reduced bone mineral density, loss of muscle strength, and changes in mood (anger, depression, and fatigue).
In bygone days, testosterone supplementation was believed a taboo area of medicine, especially in women, but focus has shifted in the recent years and the benefits of supplementation have become apparent with controlled scientific research. Today, the variety of treatment options in the respect of low testosterone is greater and these options are closely monitored and customized for meeting individual requirements.
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Medical practitioners worldwide recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men and women, regardless of the underlying cause of the testosterone deficiency. The therapy is aimed at restoring circulating testosterone concentration to normal in men with hypogonadism and highly effective in the restoration of blood testosterone levels to the normal ranges.
The available treatment options include topical testosterone gels and creams, short and long acting injections of testosterone esters, subcutaneous testosterone implants, oral testosterone capsules, and testosterone application via transdermal skin patches.
It is important to note that testosterone replacement therapy should not be used by men with breast cancer or prostate cancer and patients suffering from unstable heart disease, severe liver disease, or severe kidney disease should not use testosterone supplements unless under close medical supervision.