Testosterone: A Simple, In-Depth Guide
When you think of men and their bodily functions, one word usually comes to mind: testosterone. Testosterone is a hormone that’s responsible for a myriad of a male’s character traits.
Although women also have this hormone, testosterone has a significantly higher impact on a man’s health. In fact, anything from an imbalance to an underlying health condition can alter your testosterone and cause your health to decline. Here’s an in-depth guide for males interested in how testosterone affects total wellness.
What does testosterone do?
Commonly referred to as a sex hormone, testosterone has a direct correlation to many functions. For instance, this hormone is responsible for sperm production, sex drive, and overall reproductive organ development.
In addition to forming the penis and testes, testosterone is also the hormone that deepens a young man’s voice during puberty. Other testosterone-related functions include:
-Muscle size and growth
-Bone growth and density
-Hair thickness and growth; men with lower testosterone levels are often likely to experience premature balding
While lower testosterone levels don’t seem like a problem in adolescents, a lack of this hormone can delay the masculinization process. Young males who lack testosterone usually have symptoms including a high-pitched voice, smaller genitals, and little to no facial or body hair.
Not only does testosterone impact a male’s physical characteristics, but it can also affect mental and emotional ones. Testosterone helps you maintain a good mood.
The human brain transmits signals from the pituitary gland to produce testosterone. The same gland sends signals to the testes to produce testosterone, creating what’s commonly referred to as a feedback loop.
When unbalanced testosterone levels go unchecked, you’re more likely to experience mood swings and even symptoms of depression. The brain also reduces testosterone production when levels are too high by alerting the pituitary gland.
Why prioritize healthy testosterone levels?
Men have a reputation for naturally having too much testosterone, making them more violent, aggressive, and sexual. The truth is, most men don’t naturally have high or excessive levels of testosterone. In fact, low levels can have a BIG impact on a man’s day-to-day life.
The key to understanding testosterone levels is narrowing down what “normal” levels are. Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day. They also ebb and flow depending on the age and health of the man.
For the most part, men who experience a surplus of testosterone hormones also take enhancement drugs. Anabolic steroids and testosterone supplements will lead to higher levels. Muscle mass and performance-enhancing drugs can raise testosterone levels to an unhealthy level. Having an excess of this hormone can lead to:
-Overproduction of sebum and acne
-Lack of motivation
-Trouble sleeping and chronic fatigue
-Lower sperm count and impotence
-Greater vulnerability to heart attacks and heart muscle damage
-Fluid retention in the legs and feet
-High blood pressure
-Frequent mood swings
Of course, some underlying diseases can impact your testosterone levels in a similar way to taking a supplement.
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, consult a healthcare provider immediately. This is especially important for younger men who are looking to conceive.
How do I treat abnormal testosterone levels?
As a male, it’s common for normal testosterone levels to begin to change. Statistics show that men lose an average of one percent of their testosterone annually. Although testosterone decline is a part of the gradual aging process, some men experience a more severe decline than others.
If you’re dealing with really low testosterone levels, you can work closely with a physician in your local area that treats low testosterone in men. Typically, lifestyle changes and medication can help regulate your levels. If that fails, your healthcare provider may recommend testosterone replacement therapy for conditions like hypogonadism. Hypogonadism makes it difficult for you to naturally produce enough testosterone.
Men are greatly impacted by the regulation of their testosterone levels. Because they affect both your physical and emotional well-being, keeping them balanced is imperative for total wellness. Whether that means you have to adopt a healthier lifestyle, take medication, or have testosterone replacement therapy, normalizing your testosterone levels will ensure healthy bodily functions like puberty in young males, reproductive organ growth and function, and the ability to maintain physical strength.