What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that is required in a man’s body. It is primarily produced by the testicles and helps in maintaining the proper function of a man’s body including: distribution of fat, muscle strength and mass, sex drive, sperm production, red blood cell production, and bone density. While age is a common factor for decrease in testosterone levels, there are other reasons and issues that could attribute to it as well.
Hypogonadism is a disease where the body is no longer able to produce the right amount of testosterone as a result of problems with the testicles or the pituitary glands. Men suffering from this condition have been recommended for testosterone replacement therapy, testosterone pills, injections, patches, or gels.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Men can begin to experience signs of lowered testosterone as they age. Common changes reported include: changes in sexual function such as desire and infertility, changes in patterns of sleep, physical changes including increased body fat reduced muscle mass and strength, and emotional changes which can include increased sadness or depression.
While these are all signs and symptoms of lowered testosterone, it is always best to have the opinion and proper diagnosis of an expert to be sure. There are of course other reasons that these side effects could be happening including thyroid problems, depression, and excessive alcohol usage.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
There is a lot of hope for men wanting to partake in testosterone replacement therapy. Some of the benefits include increased memory and concentration, increased muscle mass, increased libido, and improved energy levels. While these benefits seem great, it is important to understand that this is not a remedy for aging. Knowing the pros and cons of this treatment option are best so that you can make an informed decision on what works for you.
It is also important to note that testosterone therapy can help in cases where men suffer from hypogonadism, however, there is no clear indication that this form of therapy will have any added benefits for men who are healthy and seem to be aging.
Testosterone Therapy Risks for Normal Aging
There are risks to testosterone therapy, especially for men who are healthy and do not suffer from hypogonadism. The therapy could result in: sleep apnea which is a serious medical condition that disrupts the breathing pattern while a person is sleep, increased risk of heart disease as the body could begin producing too many red blood cells, acne and other skin conditions, stimulates growth of the prostate, and potential stimulation of growth in existing prostate cancer patients, enlarged breasts, limited production of sperm, or testicle shrinkage.
Talk to Your Doctor, Get Advice
If you’re still contemplating the idea of undergoing testosterone replacement therapy it is a good idea to have a conversation with your primary care physician. Based on your medical history your doctor can better explain the risks and benefits that you could receive from this treatment option. You might find that taking testosterone supplements are best or you may also conclude that treating lowered testosterone due to aging is not advised.