Testosterone is a sex hormone produced primarily in the testicles that is important for normal male sexual development and functions. Testosterone levels typically peak during adolescence and early adulthood and then gradually decline with age. Low testosterone levels can have a negative impact on overall well-being and cause many symptoms including decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and depression.
Testosterone plays a key role in the body. It is produced primarily by men in the testicles, but women also produce it in their ovaries and adrenal glands. In men, testosterone is important for a number of factors. It helps to regulate sex drive, bone mass production, muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, the growth of facial and body hair, and the production of sperm and red blood cells. Testosterone levels generally rise and fall throughout the day and are usually higher in the morning, dropping slowly over the course of the day.
Some men can experience symptoms associated with low testosterone levels. Testosterone deficiency is thought to affect around 40 percent of men over the age of 45. It can be caused by a number of factors and is more common in men who have type 2 diabetes or are overweight. Other risk factors include:
- Testicular injuries
- A pituitary gland disease (which can lead to hormonal deficiency)
- An infection
- Hormone disorder
- An autoimmune disease such as HIV/AIDS
- Testicular cancer
- Cancer treatments
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Male hypogonadism
Male hypogonadism is a condition where the testes produce little to no testosterone. The condition can be present from birth or develop later in life, often as a result of injury or infection. Low testosterone levels have also been linked to stress, certain medications, and metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, poor cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat).
Low levels of testosterone can have a negative impact on overall well-being and cause many signs and symptoms, including:
- Low or reduced sex drive
- Sexual dysfunction
- Fatigue/ excessive tiredness
- Reduced lean muscle mass
- Loss of body hair/less beard growth
- Bone density loss
- Fatigue or reduced energy much of the time
- Mood changes (irritability, symptoms of depression)
- Weight gain and fat distribution (primarily to the abdomen and pectoral region)
- Poor memory
- Lack of focus/difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- A lack of energy or enthusiasm
- Muscle weakness, reduced physical strength or endurance
These symptoms may not be solely linked to low testosterone levels and could be caused by other factors. If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical advice from your doctor to identify the cause. A blood test can be used to diagnose low testosterone levels.
Testosterone For Sexual Function
Testosterone is very important for sexual function. It not only stimulates your sex drive, but it also aids in achieving and sustaining an erection by stimulating receptors in the brain to produce the compound nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to trigger a series of chemical reactions necessary for an erection to occur. If testosterone levels are too low, it can lead to reduced erectile function.
Treatment for Low Testosterone
Treatment can vary depending on the cause of the low testosterone. Certain lifestyle changes such as dietary changes, stopping smoking, losing weight, and cardiovascular and resistance-based exercises may help to improve low testosterone levels and symptoms such as irritability, sleep problems, and weight gain. Testosterone therapy may be recommended to increase levels of testosterone when symptoms such as sexual dysfunction and fatigue are having a negative impact on daily life and intimacy. Testosterone therapy can include patches, gel, oral therapy, pellets, and injections.
Men’s Health in Edmonds and Seattle, WA
At Affirm Clinic, our experts are dedicated to helping men restore their virility. Low testosterone can cause a number of physical and emotional symptoms including low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Our goal is to reverse the conditions that cause impotence which, if left untreated, can have a negative impact on your personal relationships.
To learn more about our services or to arrange a private consultation with our experienced doctor, call us today at (206) 231-6000 or you can use our convenient appointment request form, and we will contact you shortly.