Testosterone Therapy for Men
Bearing in mind that testosterone treatment can help you feel younger and more vigorous as you age? You should the benefits as well as the risks before you make your decision.
The promise of testosterone therapy may seem appealing, but there are a lot of misunderstandings about what the treatment can and cannot do for you. As you mature, testosterone therapy may seem like the ultimate anti-aging formula.
Until now the health benefits of testosterone therapy for age-related decline in testosterone weren’t as clear as they will be very shortly.
Testosterone is a hormone formed mainly in the testicles. Testosterone helps sustain men’s:
- Sex drive
- Fat distribution
- Sperm production
- Muscle strength and mass
- Bone density
- Facial and body hair
- Red blood cell production
What happens to testosterone levels over time?
Testosterone levels generally peak during puberty and early adulthood. As you age, your testosterone level gradually declines — typically about 1% per year after age 30 or even 40. It is vital to regulate in older men if a low testosterone level is simply due to the diminishing of regular aging or if it is due to a disease (hypogonadism).
Hypogonadism is a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles. Testosterone replacement therapy can improve the signs and symptoms of low testosterone in these men. Doctors may prescribe testosterone as injections, pellets, patches or gels.
Does a naturally declining testosterone level cause the signs and symptoms of aging?
Depending on each case, this is not always true. Men can experience several signs and indications as they get older. Some may occur because of lower testosterone levels and can include:
- Change in sexual function — This may include reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections — such as during sleep — and infertility.
- Change in sleep patterns — Sometimes low testosterone causes insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
- Change in Emotions — Low testosterone may contribute to a decrease in motivation or self-confidence. You may feel sad or depressed, or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
- Physical changes — Various physical changes are possible, including increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density. Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia) and body hair loss are possible. You may have less energy than you used to.
Some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by various underlying factors, including medication side effects, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, diabetes, and depression. It’s also possible that these conditions may be the cause of low testosterone levels, and treatment of these problems may cause testosterone levels to rise. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.
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