Testosterone is a hormone primarily related to sexual function in both men and women. In the former, it is closely related to erectile function, muscle mass maintenance, and body energy. Its decrease, mainly in men, can lead to different symptoms that end up worsening the quality of life. These include hair loss, loss of muscle and strength, breast enlargement, and loss of sexual desire. Due to these bothersome symptoms, testosterone replacement therapy is an innovative and effective alternative to recover your virile function. Learn more about it below.
Male hormones: Testosterone
Testosterone is a male sex hormone involved in genitalia development and the appearance of secondary sexual traits in men.
This hormone is an anabolic steroid derived from cholesterol, produced mainly by the testes, although a small amount is also released by the adrenal glands. Testosterone is also known as the androgenic hormone par excellence, but it is not exclusive to men. The ovaries and adrenal glands also produce it in smaller amounts, giving women sexual desire.
Another type of sex steroid hormone is estrogen. Typically, estrogens are known as the female hormones and androgens as the male hormones, but both types are in both women and men.
In the adult female, testosterone is produced in different places and ways. 25% is produced by the ovaries, 25% by the adrenal glands, and the remaining 50% by the conversion of androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone (androgenic hormones) into testosterone, with the highest levels found in women in their 20s and 30s.
As a woman ages, testosterone levels decrease. In their 40s, it is reduced by approximately 50%, and in their 50s, it reduces by 25% more.
But what about testosterone in men? Since testosterone is in charge of many manly functions, like sexual desire, erection, muscle mass gain, and strength, when its levels decrease, much of the male body functions impair. Sexual desire disappears, bones and muscles weaken, and hair loss takes place, among other problems that disturb men.
In the USA, approximately 20% of men over their 60s, 30% in their 70s, and 50% in their 80s and older suffer from low testosterone levels. Different reasons can cause this, and we can take many steps to counteract it. You can find below a general explanation of TRT, the best alternative to improve low testosterone.
Functions of testosterone in men
Testosterone has many significant functions, even during embryo formation (before birth). It takes on special importance at 11-13 years with the onset of puberty, where its production increases, promoting:
- The development and growth of the penis, testicles, scrotum, and sexual secretory glands.
- The appearance of beard and body hair, deepening of the voice, and growth of Adam’s apple or cricoid cartilage.
- Stimulates sperm production and thus the development of male fertility.
- Develops bone growth and prevents osteoporosis.
- Promotes the increase of muscle mass and strength.
- Increases libido or sexual desire.
Testosterone is also involved in the sexuality of men and women, is very important for bone health, has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, and is favorable to blood vessels.
Causes of low testosterone
It is well known that low testosterone can make it hard to achieve or maintain erections, leading to erectile dysfunction. This is because testosterone stimulates the tissues of the penis to produce nitric oxide, which initiates various reactions that cause an erection.
If hormone levels are too low, a man may not be able to have an erection. However, testosterone doesn’t just drop with aging. Smoking, thyroid-related problems, alcohol consumption, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure can also interfere with an erection and testosterone blood levels.
Other causes may be:
- An injury (trauma, castration) or testicular infection
- Cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy
- Certain medications, such as opioid painkillers
- Hormonal disorders (pituitary gland tumors or diseases, high prolactin level)
- Chronic diseases, such as liver and kidney disease, obesity, type I diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.
- Genetic disorders (Klinefelter syndrome, hemochromatosis, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy).
- Past use of anabolic steroids.
Signs of low testosterone
When testosterone drops in the blood, many suggestive signs and symptoms appear, especially in men in their 30s and 40s.
Since testosterone is particularly related to sexuality and virility, symptoms of its decline show a decrease in those, such as:
- Decreased energy
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hair loss
In addition, testosterone also plays a starring role in bone and muscle health and mental capacity. Therefore, its decline affects brain function and decreases bone density, as well as muscle mass and the ability to remember things.
Other symptoms of low testosterone are:
Over time, low testosterone can also lead to loss of body hair, a decrease in red blood cell count, and physical strength.
How to improve low testosterone
When natural means are not enough and testosterone levels remain low, replacement therapies come into play. Both men and women who use these therapies under medical indication and supervision have had excellent results.
TRT is a hormone replacement treatment for older men to address testosterone deficiency and improve related symptoms. It is indicated for patients suffering from male hypogonadism or, in other words, a sustained testosterone deficiency over time.
Hormone replacement therapy provides many measured and proven benefits in men with symptoms of hypogonadism or sexual dysfunction due to low testosterone.
Several methods fit each person. Some of them are:
- Gels or patches to stick on the skin
- Tiny pills to place under the skin or intake pills
This hormone therapy will help reverse the effects of hypogonadism. In a short time, patients who start taking male hormone replacement medication will notice an improvement in their overall condition, regaining their physical and mental ability and sexual desire.
Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
TRT (or Hormone Replacement Therapy) is a highly effective treatment for patients with low testosterone levels due to hypogonadism. In general, men produce, on average, between 4 mg and 7 mg of testosterone per day.
Testosterone can be replaced with testosterone gel (AndroGel, Testim, AndroDerm, Axiron, Fortesta), short- or long-acting injections (AVEED), as well as testosterone pellets (TestoPel). Oral and nasal testosterone preparations are also available.
Forms of injectable testosterone
Common forms of injectable testosterone include:
- Testosterone Suspension
Before considering one of these, first talk to a health professional about which one is right for you, and if you are a candidate for TRT.
Benefits of TRT
If you are experiencing the effects of low testosterone and are considering TRT, here’s what you can expect:
- Increased libido.
With decreased libido as one of the most troubling effects associated with testosterone production, a huge benefit of the procedure is the overall improvement in mood and sex drive.
- Increased Lean Muscle Mass
When the body is at its peak testosterone level, its ability to build muscle tissue and lean muscle mass is much easier. Testosterone therapy mimics this by binding to the body’s receptors, which leads to better muscle cell structure and muscle growth.
- More Strength During Activities
Strength in the body can be directly related to the level of testosterone an individual has. With that, testosterone therapy can drastically increase an individual’s strength. Whether participating in daily activities or an intense session at the gym, an individual can perform at optimal levels and with increased confidence.
- Minimal Side Effects
Although testosterone therapy has been the subject of controversy in the past for its possible side effects, these effects are minimal with the help and guidance of a medical professional.
- Increased Assertiveness and Alertness
One of the most common benefits of testosterone therapy is increased assertiveness and alertness. With lower testosterone, men lack the focus they need to continue with daily tasks, which can lead to worse effects, such as depression and anxiety.
Overall, testosterone therapy is not just a solution for low testosterone. It is an opportunity to revive your youth and virility.
Do I need Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
The only way to safely and efficiently know if replacement therapy is right for you is through a blood test, and it should be followed up with a medical history and hormone screening.
The specialist in charge will choose the method of testosterone administration according to the specific deficit and the patient’s characteristics.
The artificial administration of testosterone can have side effects, so it is very important to follow up and control the doses. The most common adverse effects are breast enlargement, fluid retention, and prostate enlargement.
The latter is the most important risk, so doctors usually perform a specific prostate analysis to ensure that there is no tumor in the area before treatment, decreasing the likelihood of cancer following abnormal prostate growth.
If you believe that any of these types of testosterone replacement therapy may be suitable for you, do not hesitate to reach out to us! Our experts at HRT Doctors Group will provide all the necessary information so that you can begin your journey towards hormonal balance and overall health.