Are you aware of the importance of testosterone in men? In case you did not know, testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that plays a big role in several bodily functions and processes in men, most particularly in the growth and development of male sexual characteristics, starting from fetal stage to adulthood.
Why is testosterone important?
Testosterone is a vital component of male sexual function. It is necessary for the:
Regulation of libido or sexual desire
Testosterone facilitates a man’s desire or drive for sex. Without it, there will be a lack of interest in sex, which can lead to a disappointing sex life and relationship problems.
Development of the male genitalia
Testosterone is key to the growth and development of the penis and the testicles from the fetal stage through puberty. Without it, there is a danger of having underdeveloped genitals that are unable to carry out their functions.
Growth of body hair
Testosterone plays an active role during puberty, particularly in the growth of facial hair, pubic hair, and other body hair. Without it, a boy may not grow as much body hair.
Increase in height
Testosterone is also vital to height increase in boys once they enter the puberty stage. Without it, a boy may not grow as much as the other boys his age.
In addition, testosterone helps in many other important bodily functions, including:
Muscle and bone strength
Testosterone promotes muscle mass and bone density, giving you the strength and power to perform different physical tasks. Without it, the risk of injuries and different kinds of muscular and bone disorders increase.
Body fat distribution
Testosterone is essential in the proper distribution of fat in the body. Without it, the likelihood of being overweight or obese rises, resulting in an increased risk of high cholesterol levels, heart attack, and other cardiovascular complications.
Testosterone is also key to good mental health, such as:
Testosterone helps in alleviating symptoms of negative emotions, minimizing the occurrence of mood swings.
Testosterone helps the body in coping with stress, lowering the risk of low energy, headaches, tense muscles, insomnia, and other common stress side effects.
What is low testosterone or low T?
Low testosterone or low T is a condition in which the body’s testosterone levels are below the normal range because the body is unable to produce enough.
Below are the normal testosterone levels per age group:
- From 0 to 9 years: <7-400
- From 10 years to 14years: <7-1,200
- From 15 years to 18 years: 100-1,200
- 19 years and older: 240-950
On average, the normal testosterone level of an adult man is between 270 to 1,070 nanograms per deciliter. And, after he turns 30, his testosterone level decreases by about 1% every year.
What happens if you have low testosterone or low T?
There are several problems that may arise as a result of having low testosterone or low T in the body.
If low testosterone occurs during the fetal stage, the fetus may:
- Have underdeveloped male genitalia
- Not be able to grow male sex organs, resulting in it having female genitals
- Have ambiguous genitals, i.e. genitals that are difficult to be clearly distinguished as male or female
If low testosterone occurs during the puberty stage, a boy may encounter the following problems:
- Impaired development of the penis and the testicles
- Lack of muscle mass and bone strength and density
- No deepening of the voice
- Lack of body hair growth
- Growth of arms and legs that are not proportional to the body
- Gynecomastia, which is a condition characterized by the development of breast tissue
If low testosterone occurs during adulthood, more serious side effects that can have a big impact on sexual and reproductive function may occur, including:
- Impaired growth of facial hair and other body hair
- Low sperm count and quality, which may eventually lead to infertility
- Decreased sex drive and erectile issues that may eventually lead to erectile dysfunction
- Gynecomastia or the development of breast tissue
- Increased risk of osteoporosis, which is a condition in which the bones experience a decrease in density and quality, making them more fragile and porous
- Reduced muscle mass, which may accelerate the onset of muscular disorders
Low T can also negatively affect mental health, and cause the following:
- Impaired brain function
Men with low T are more likely to suffer from memory loss and loss of focus. They also have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Low T can cause a decrease in a man’s energy levels, making him feel easily tired and exhausted.
- Depression and other mental health problems
Low T in men can enhance the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
How do you deal with low T?
Early diagnosis of low testosterone in men is crucial. If you experience its symptoms, you have to go to your doctor to undergo testing, such as hormone testing, testicular biopsy, semen analysis, genetic studies, and pituitary imaging.
Once you receive an official diagnosis, your doctor may recommend that you undergo testosterone replacement therapy, a method in which testosterone is introduced into the body to increase testosterone levels. It is available in different forms, including injections, skin patches, gels, pellets, and pills.
Also, your doctor may advise you to start making healthy lifestyle choices to help your body produce more testosterone to increase your T levels. To raise your testosterone production, you should quit any bad habits that you have, such as smoking, drug use, and excessive alcohol drinking, as these only exposes your body to compounds that are detrimental not only to your testosterone levels but also to your overall health. You should also eat a healthy and balanced diet, consuming more fruits, vegetables, and meat that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Regular exercise helps boost testosterone production too, so do your best to be more physically active than before.