Testosterone is the main hormone responsible for male development. It’s the male counterpart to estrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is produced mainly in the testes, though a small amount is also produced in the male adrenal glands. Women also produce a small amount of testosterone in the ovaries. Low testosterone levels can wreak havoc in men’s daily lives, making them feel listless, lethargic, and lacking passion. This can lead to the need for hormone replacement. The effects of testosterone replacement therapy on the body are numerous, and, if monitored correctly, there’s little risk.
What’s Considered Normal?
The amount of testosterone in the system can only be measured through the blood. The normal range of Total Testosterone for males is anywhere from 300 – 900 nanograms/deciliter. It’s quite a broad range, and it doesn’t tell the whole story. A man within the normal range of Total Testosterone could still experience some symptoms of low testosterone.
Testing Free Testosterone levels will tell doctors how much testosterone is active in the blood at a given time. If Free Testosterone levels are coming up short, then a man may experience the symptoms of low testosterone.
Natural Effects of Testosterone in Male Development
Testosterone is the determining factor in the sex of a baby. Testosterone production promotes the growth of the male sex organs. Later on in life, when boys go through puberty, testosterone is the driving force behind the physiological development of a male’s body, along with body hair growth, increased acne, and thickening vocal cords that cause the voice to drop.
Sex drive is also fueled by testosterone. One of the most common symptoms for men with low T is a lessened, or non-existent, sex drive.
Benefits of Testosterone Therapy
There are many beneficial effects of testosterone therapy for men with low testosterone. Whether supplementing the with hormone or increasing testosterone the natural way, men will notice an increase in sex drive and desire, and erectile dysfunction should no longer be a problem. Additionally, studies have shown that getting testosterone back to a normal range can have a positive influence on diabetes, and obesity. Testosterone promotes the reduction of fat mass and increase of muscle mass, helping men burn fat more efficiently while kicking up their metabolism.
Aside from the physical effects, there are mental effects of testosterone as well. It can boost men’s self-esteem, and sparks competitive drive. Men will once again feel motivated, and have the energy to go out and experience the world.
Risks of Testosterone
Though the benefits outweigh the risks, testosterone replacement should be considered carefully. Testosterone promotes the production of red blood cells. Too many red blood cells can lead to blood clots or stroke. However, these can be easily avoided by occasionally donating blood. Your doctor can monitor your red blood cell count and let you know if it’s getting too high and this occurs more frequently with the synthetic injectable form of testosterone.
Some uncommon side effects include sleep apnea, acne, and breast enlargement. All side effects cease when medication is stopped. If monitored properly, these side effects can be prevented since overweight men with belly fat who drink alcohol and have nutritional deficiencies can turn testosterone into estrogen. A functional medicine physician can best guide you and treat you holistically.
When using testosterone gels or creams, it’s theoretically possible to transfer the medication upon contact with another human or animal, though cases are rare. Regardless, it’s advisable to thoroughly wash your hands immediately after application.
While links between testosterone replacement and increased risk of prostate enlargement are not entirely confirmed, it’s wise to get a yearly screening.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you feel you’re experiencing the effects of low testosterone, and you’re curious about testosterone replacement, talk to your doctor. They can test your Free Testosterone levels and tell you if hormone therapy may be right for you. There are also ways you can naturally boost your testosterone levels, like strength training, taking vitamin D, maintaining a normal weight, reducing stress, and significantly reducing the amount of sugar in your diet.
Dr. Lorraine Maita has years of experience treating men with low testosterone. Her wealth of knowledge will aid you in deciding the proper course of treatment. View her services targeted for men, or contact her office today to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Maita is a recognized and award-winning holistic, functional, and anti-aging physician and author. She transforms people’s lives by getting to the root cause of illness using the best of science and nature. Her approach is personalized, precision medicine where you are treated as the unique individual you are.