Why Is Testosterone So Important to Men?
Are you feeling sluggish, having no energy, and struggling to go for that run? These symptoms could be a sign that something isn't quite right. Sleep apnea, low thyroid, and low testosterone are all contenders to a problem that could just get worse. Testosterone plays a vital role in your body, affecting everything from your mood to your muscle mass. With testosterone replacement therapy, you might be able to regain the energy and vitality you've been missing.
Testosterone, the Male Sex Hormone
Testosterone is the primary male hormone and plays a hugely important role in developing many organs, including the male sexual organs, prostate, muscle, bone, and hair. Both men and women produce testosterone, but its role in male development is crucial. Testosterone kickstarts all the male characteristics in the womb, particularly the development of the penis and testicles. Then later in life, during puberty - the development of a deeper voice and pubic and facial hair.
There are times during your life when testosterone production peaks, particularly as you develop from a boy to a man, but often later in life, testosterone production slows. Over 60% of men over 65 have low testosterone. However, about a quarter of men over 30 and nearly 40% of men over 45 have low T. So, let's look closer at the symptoms of low testosterone.
What are the Symptoms of Low T?
If you suffer any of the following symptoms, you may have low or reduced testosterone and be a good candidate for therapy.
- Mental Fog: Cognitive function and, notably, memory decline with age.
- Decreased Sex Drive: Men often experience decreased libido as they age, which is normal. However, because testosterone is vital in maintaining libido, if you suffer a drastic fall in sex drive, this could be down to Low T, and therapy could be the answer.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Testosterone helps fire up your sex drive and assists in getting and keeping an erection. Testosterone helps your body produce Nitric oxide, which kickstarts a chemical chain reaction that enables you to get hard and stay hard.
- Low Semen Production: Semen is the substance that carries your sperm and helps get your swimmers to where they need to be. Many men suffering from Low T report a decrease in volume.
- Hair Loss: Hair loss may, of course, be hereditary, but because testosterone plays a role in hair production, if levels are low, you may experience hair loss and not exclusively from your head.
- Tiredness: If you struggle to exercise and always feel tired, even after a great night's sleep. Then low T may well be the problem.
- Increased body fat: One symptom can be a noticeable increase in body fat.
- Gynecomastia (Man Boobs/Moobs) This occurs when there is an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen. This causes the body to develop more female traits, such as breasts.
- Loss of muscle: Testosterone plays a huge part in building muscles. Many men report that after TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy), a notable increase in muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.
- Anemia: Doctors have discovered that when prescribing testosterone gel to anemic men, their blood count improves. Symptoms of anemia can be problematic such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, and problems sleeping.
Why is Low Testosterone a Problem?
Low T (male hypogonadism) is more common in older men, but younger guys can also experience Low T symptoms. The cause of these symptoms is often lifestyle related or due to illness. If you suffer from low T long-term, it can seriously affect the body. For example, deficient levels can cause bone weakness, commonly known as osteoporosis. Low testosterone may also affect how long you live. Simply put, men with testosterone levels that fall below the normal range often die earlier than those with normal levels.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Lifestyle factors include
- Being obese or overweight causes testosterone levels to nosedive
- Too much alcohol, especially alcohol abuse, damages the liver, thwarting testosterone production
- Using illegal drugs
- Lack of quality sleep
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
There are also medical conditions that can cause low testosterone, such as:
- Treatment for cancer, such as radiation and chemotherapy
- Liver disease
- Hypothalamic or pituitary disease or cancer
- Injuries to the testicles
- Inherited conditions such as Down syndrome, amongst others
How is Low T Diagnosed?
Testing for this condition is via a simple blood test, with the medical provider assessing your symptoms. Your levels fluctuate during the day but are usually highest in the morning, so this is the best time to do the test. The normal range is between 300 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) to 1000 ng/dL, so anything below 300 and you could be experiencing symptoms of "Low T."
As with any hormone therapy, unless you have a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical provider (who knows what they are doing), you may be throwing your money into the wind. Always speak to a professional before self-diagnosis.
Can you Diagnose Low Testosterone With an Online Assessment?
Some companies now offer online HRT assessments. They assess the likelihood of you having low T. It is important to note that you should always choose a company that insists on a medical evaluation in person at an approved clinic or face-to-face online.
There is no way a medical provider can assess a patient for low T purely online. Consultations ensure patient safety and allow the medical provider to evaluate you individually. The best way to test levels is via a blood test. Male Excel offers these via the post with a simple finger prick test that you can mail to the lab and then discuss with your medical provider in the consultation.
How Is Low Testosterone Treated?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is typical to help people with abnormally low testosterone levels. Decreased body mass, lower sex drive, and fatigue are all common symptoms. Testosterone medication comes in pills, patches, creams, or injections to increase the levels back to normal.
You will often see companies selling 'Bio-identical' testosterone. This is simply 'manmade' testosterone that is chemically very similar to that produced in the human body.
Testosterone cypionate is commonly injected into the gluteal muscle every 2-4 weeks. You can do it yourself after training from a nurse or your doctor. The dosage depends on varying factors after careful diagnosis by a medical provider using blood tests and often a medical questionnaire to assess your suitability for treatment.
Here at Male Excel, the typical dosage ranges from 0.10mg to 0.25mg daily. We offer a daily dose using a tiny subcutaneous needle into your fat layer instead of painful injections into the muscle. This is to avoid a spike in testosterone. A steady supply rather than a large dose in one hit is far more beneficial. The thought of giving yourself an injection often puts people off this treatment. Still, in reality, it is pretty painless, and once you have done it once, it's pretty straightforward.
Testosterone Lipoderm Cream
Testosterone Lipoderm cream is applied to the skin to administer testosterone into your system. It can reverse hypogonadism and increase testosterone levels in your body. The best place to apply the cream is on the testicles where the skin is very thin allowing optimum absorption. With all testosterone creams, certain precautions are vital to ensure cross-contamination doesn't occur.
Topical Testosterone creams can cause side effects in women, children, and even pets who accidentally come into contact with it. In children, side effects can be serious, including early-onset puberty, aggressiveness, enlarged genitals, excessive hair growth, and acne. And in women, it is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, where it can cause birth defects.
However, by following the correct precautions, you can avoid any risks.
- Do not allow the treated area to come into contact with other people
- Cover the treated area 20 minutes after application
- Don't allow others to touch clothes or bedding which has come into contact with creams
- Don't stoke animals after applying testosterone cream
- Wash hands thoroughly after application
Should I Use Testosterone Cream or Injections?
Which option is best for you is a tricky question because there is no definitive answer. As with any medication, there may be side effects. With bioidentical hormones like those Male Excel prescribe, these are usually very few and far between. We also often find guys prefer creams (which are even better for reducing cholesterol). Typically testosterone can be injected once a week, twice a week, or daily but let's face it; injections won't be for everybody. It can be painful for several days after and can give you a spike in testosterone, diminishing over time until the next dose.
If a smaller dose is injected either daily or every other day, this can help avoid this issue and provide more consistent levels. For overweight men, injections can trigger the body to convert testosterone into estradiol which can cause sore nipples and swelling in the surrounding areas.
Creams can provide high testosterone levels in an easy-to-apply form, but here are important transference issues, as discussed earlier. You will have to avoid sexual contact if you applied the cream less than 4 hours ago, especially if applied in the groin area, as many doctors suggest. You also must make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after each application.
Absorption of the cream also varies from person to person. Some will have excellent levels whilst others won't. So ongoing testing is vital to ensure the best results. For those with poor absorption, injections will be the obvious alternative for treatment.
Does an Underactive Thyroid Affect Testosterone Levels?
Low testosterone is a commonly diagnosed condition, well documented in the media, and well recognized amongst males. However, men diagnosed with Low T may often suffer from a thyroid problem that has been ignored.
The thyroid produces some of the most important hormones in the human body, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which help regulate metabolism and give you energy. Low thyroid function often leads to an imbalance in essential hormone levels vital to usable testosterone in your system. So we strongly advise thyroid treatment working in tandem with testosterone.
With an underactive thyroid, your body produces less of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which transports bioavailable (useable) testosterone around your body. This often leads to a misdiagnosis of low T when in fact, your thyroid hormones could be low.
A low thyroid level can also affect male fertility. It can increase the size of the testicles, decreasing the number (sperm count) and life span (motility) of the sperm produced. So undiagnosed, this can directly reduce your chances of having children.
How Do You Treat Low Thyroid? (Underactive Thyroid)
The usual treatment for an underactive thyroid is a drug called Levothyroxine which is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T4, which the body transforms into the active T3 hormone. However, desiccated thyroid is a natural product that contains T4, T3, small amounts of T1, and T2, as well as iodine and calcitonin. Some claim that desiccated thyroid mimics real thyroid hormone production much more closely because of its natural origin.
Do I need Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If you have read this article and the symptoms seem familiar, you may benefit from a test and hormone therapy. The important factor is getting the best advice and treatment and then ensuring regular testing to ensure things are progressing well. Testosterone therapy is proven beneficial to those who suffer from Low T. Many men nowadays wish to attain optimum levels, which can hugely benefit their life as a whole. Increased muscle mass, better erections, more energy, improved weight loss, better concentration, better mood, longer life.......what's not to love?