When the majority of people think about testosterone, they automatically consider it as the male sex hormone as it pertains to growth and sexual health. But they fail to remember that women also have this hormone too and the amount one has of it varies throughout their lifetime. Believe it or not, testosterone has a large role in existence – much bigger than being a male sex hormone. So, we’ll look closer at what it is and how it affects us.
Men go through stages as far as their testosterone levels are concerned. When a boy reaches puberty and for a time afterwards, his levels of testosterone will continue to rise. At about age 20, the amount of testosterone levels off and becomes stable. At roughly 40 years old, testosterone levels begin to taper off.
The androgen hormone known as testosterone is created in leydig cells in the male testicles. This has a major effect on puberty. It causes a boy to grow in height, gain more muscle mass, it causes long bone growth stimulation, it stimulates protein synthesis, and causes other changes. Most of all, its responsible for increased libido and changes that take place physically as a boy goes through puberty, including but not limited to penis growth stimulation and larynx enlargement in the Adam’s apple.
When a man gets older, he will start to have less available testosterone and this can lead to deficiencies. Some problems that occur include mental function decline, depression, lowered libido, more body fat, hair loss, poor sleep, erection problems, fatigue and less vitality.
Some men even experience physical changes as well including muscle loss, less bone mineral density, and the development of male breasts to name a few potential issues. Serious potential problems that could arise due to less available testosterone include cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. And to make matters worse, it’s possible that COPD and diabetes meds can lower a man’s testosterone levels even further.
What is Testosterone Therapy?
This type of therapy will be recommended by a doctor when a man has low levels of testosterone. It’s used to address certain symptoms and issues that happen due to being deficient.
The recipient can receive testosterone in a few different ways. The most popular methods include gels, patches, and injections. Also, taking daily subcutaneous pellets is another lesser used method. All in all, a doctor should monitor a patient’s progress while receiving this therapy.
It definitely has some great benefits for men suffering from low levels. They include a stronger libido, greater levels of energy, clearer thinking and mental functions, stronger erections, less or no depression, and bigger muscle mass. This treatment is also excellent because it lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, two of today’s biggest killers.
This is a powerful drug to say the least. Let your doctor know about other pre-existing conditions before taking it. And it should be avoided if you suffer from severe sleep apnea, prostate hypertrophy, prostate cancer, and male breast cancer.
Women also need testosterone, but to a lesser degree than men. In fact, it is produced in females during the reproductive cycle and the ovaries will produce about 25% more of it during this stage. It affects certain female drives including sexual motivation and libido. It is used as a drug to treat menopausal symptoms, and when combined with androgen or estrogen after menopause, it causes more arousal and frequent sex fantasies.
Transgender Testosterone Therapy
They use androgen during hormone therapy for transgender patients. In fact, organizations like WPATH and the Endocrine Society have guidelines and protocols in place for transgender treatments.
Guess what? Testosterone blockers are used for transgender women to get the levels as low as possible. They need to be less than 55 ng/dl to experience decreased muscles mass, body hair, and odor patterns. These blockers can also sometimes reverse hair loss on the scalp.
As far as sexual effects go, they include potential erectile dysfunction, reduced teste size, less ejaculate, lower sperm count, and libido changes.
On the other hand, transgender men will receive testosterone therapy. The target is to achieve 300-950 ng/dl for patients.
This therapy creates certain effects as well including clitoris growth, vaginal dryness, fat redistribution, more body hair, greater sex drive, thicker and oilier skin, deeper voice, no more periods, male pattern baldness and a lack of facial hair.
Typically, the effects of these therapies take place within the first 2 years of treatment. They also have potential negative side effects as well that we’d like to tell you about too. They include greater depression, higher red blood cell counts, and increased possibilities of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, headaches, and diabetes.
It doesn’t really matter who you are or where you come from. Whether male or female or transitioning, you will have your life affected by testosterone at some point in your existence. It might be a huge benefit for you. Or the effects could be to your detriment. No matter what, if you think your levels of testosterone might be off for any reason, just let your doctor know about it to see if you can schedule a consultation to find out about a deficiency.