Testosterone is a hormone mostly produced in the testicles, though it is also produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Levels of it within the body determine many things commonly associated with masculine biology–sperm count, sex drive, and the development of characteristic male musculature or body hair. Unlike female hormones, which experience a significant change at menopause, the male body’s hormone production declines gradually over a lifetime without making any significant changes to the rest of their hormonal balance. This can leave men with lowered testosterone for a period of several decades.
Do I have low testosterone?
Because the male hormonal system changes relatively gradually, you may not notice the effects of low testosterone until you’ve had it for some time. Telltale signs of low testosterone can include shrunken genitals, hair loss, enlarged breasts, or reduced muscle mass. Individuals with low testosterone may find themselves feeling different as well, for example, experiencing low sex drive, depression, and otherwise inexplicable fatigue. If you notice these symptoms on an ongoing basis, consult your doctor about getting checked for low testosterone.
Is low testosterone a problem?
Decreased testosterone is not necessarily a detrimental occurrence; declining testosterone is a natural part of the male life cycle. Medically speaking, although there exist treatments to reverse it, there are also plenty of situations where doing so is not advised; these include those with blood pressure or clot risks or those with lower urinary tract conditions.
Testosterone supplementation is also not recommended for those planning to father children in the near future; although it increases the sex drive, supplementary testosterone can impact sperm count and function.
Who should get treated for low testosterone?
Those who may be eligible for testosterone treatment include those with injuries to the genitals, certain diseases such as Klinefelter syndrome, or internal damage from treatments like chemotherapy. Birth defects, chronic illness, age, and weight are all considered risk factors or direct causes as well.
What is testosterone treatment like?
Treating low testosterone is often a simple matter of introducing a carefully prescribed amount of the hormone into the patient’s bloodstream. There are numerous methods currently in use for this purpose; among the most straightforward for most patients is a pill for the patient to swallow. Some practitioners prefer an intravenous injection for the simplicity it offers. Other methods include a nasal inhalant, implanted pellets, or a topical gel absorbed through the patient’s skin.
Your doctor may prescribe a combination of these treatments, depending on your personal medical profile and comfort levels. Make sure to receive medical advice about each method you use, including what side effects can be expected from that method of treatment.
Low testosterone is generally a natural and predictable phenomenon which does not warrant medical intervention. In those cases where treatment is necessary, make sure to get qualified medical advice as to the benefits and risks before taking any testosterone medication.