LOW TESTOSTERONE: What It Means and Why You Should Take Action

low testosterone

Testosterone is an androgen hormone which is naturally produced in both males and females.

For males, it is a primary sex hormone.

Testosterone is produced by the testicles and its regulation is the responsibility of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

low testosterone

Testosterone is responsible for the development of the male sexual organs, during the fetal stage and is responsible for all of the physical changes and transitions that occur during the puberty phase.

Testosterone also plays a major role in adult men because it controls and maintains all of the male characteristics, both internal and external, and these include…

  • modulation of the sperm production
  • affects on the sex drive/sexual desire
  • sex hormone production
  • directly impacts the mode, energy levels, muscle development and bone density

Low Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction

More often than not, erectile dysfunction is mistakenly diagnosed as being related to testosterone.

Although androgen does play an important role in erections, there is currently a lack of clinical evidence to clearly link low testosterone with the ability to maintain an erection.

Erectile dysfunction is more to do with the cardiovascular system, and not the hormones as is commonly believed.

Recently, a number of studies have pointed to the fact that men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (and also suffering from erectile dysfunction) demonstrated only marginal improvements to their erection problems.

Research has indicated to two significant facts that contravene the direct link between low testosterone and erectile dysfunction issues:

  1. healthy erections do not require “normal” testosterone levels
  2. by increasing testosterone levels will not increase the frequency and firmness of erections

Unfortunately, the reduced sexual desire that often accompanies erectile dysfunction becomes confused with low testosterone by either the patient or the physician.

It is quite normal for a man who may be experiencing a prolonged sexual potency problem to lose interest in sex as a result of depression, and not necessarily because of low testosterone.

Additionally, this can also be a factor that can trigger hasty conclusions by linking erectile dysfunction to low testosterone.

With age, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline between 1 and 2% year on year.

This means that the process of ageing can also play a major role in hindering sexual potency and the ability to achieve a good quality erection.

Admittedly, on many occasions these occurrences will be simultaneous, but there is little proof that one may cause the other.

The Difference between Normal and Low Testosterone Levels

Determining a man’s testosterone levels, only takes a simple blood test.

Furthermore, testosterone levels can fluctuate throughout the day, therefore a true reading is only possible by undergoing multiple tests at different times of the day.

“Normal” testosterone levels are said to be between 300,-1200 ng/dL.

If your testosterone level tests fall below this range, this does not necessarily signal low testosterone.

Physicians describe these numbers as a “range”, as opposed to a “scale” because testosterone levels can vary quite significantly depending on the time of the day.

It is quite usual for a man to have a non-problematic low-normal testosterone than to have true low testosterone that falls below the 300 ng/dL mark.

Low Testosterone Symptoms

Testosterone that registers below the 300 ng/dL can trigger a number of symptoms including:

  • a reduction in the sex drive
  • consistent tiredness and fatigue
  • low sperm count
  • irritability and moodiness
  • depression
  • a reduction in body hair
  • a reduction in bone strength and density
  • a reduction in muscle mass
  • an increase in body fat
  • hot flashes
  • profuse sweating

The problem with a lot of the symptoms is that they are very similar to symptoms of ageing, as well as associated conditions including heart disease, diabetes, depression, renal disease, metabolic syndrome and hypertension.

Causes of Low Testosterone

If your blood test does confirm that you have low testosterone, this can also be caused by a variety of medical issues, and it is your physician’s job to try and rule out any other diseases that may be involved.

Typically, low testosterone can be triggered by:

  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • kidney problems
  • pituitary thyroid issues
  • osteoporosis
  • steroid exposure
  • type II diabetes

Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Help?

Numerous studies have suggested that androgen replacement therapy, testosterone replacement therapy, and hormone replacement therapy are all ineffective in treating erectile dysfunction.

It is quite normal for men suffering from low testosterone to be advised to undergo one of these therapies.

Typically, available options include injections, pills, topical gels, and patches.

The most commonly prescribed methods include AndroGel, Testim and Axyron, which are usually applied to the shoulders, as well as other parts of the upper body.

Testosterone is absorbed through the skin at intermittent periods.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy Can Be Dangerous

At present, it is impossible to ingest testosterone.

Most low testosterone treatments are designed to replace what the body naturally produces, and this could lead to a permanent seizure of the body’s ability to produce its own testosterone.

A growing number of pharmaceutical companies actively encourage the use of testosterone replacement therapy.

The aggressive methods used put pressure on physicians to prescribe these treatments, sometimes irresponsibly.

If you are considering undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, you should ensure that you discuss the possible side-effects in detail with your physician.

Typical reactions to these types of therapies may include:

  • vomiting
  • feeling nausea
  • changes in the mode
  • increase in appetite

Unfortunately, a lot of men mistake the increased energy and improved mood as evidence of the treatment’s effectiveness.

The reality is quite different because the steroidal composition of testosterone causes these changes.

The moment the treatment is stopped, men can experience withdrawal symptoms such as severe depression, and in some cases, develop the permanent inability to produce testosterone without assistance.

More long-term effects of testosterone therapies include:

  • difficulties in urinating
  • dependence on testosterone replacement therapy
  • resistance to testosterone replacement therapy
  • shrunken testicles
  • permanent suppression of natural testosterone production
  • sperm count reduction (infertility)
  • prostate cancer tumor increase
  • prostate growth
  • fluid retention
  • liver problems
  • stroke
  • blood clots
  • thickening of the blood

Remember, once you start your testosterone replacement therapy, it is likely that you will find it difficult to stop.

It is possible to develop an addiction to these treatments, and the long-term effects of testosterone therapy are relentlessly being studied.

A much safer alternative to hormone therapies is the use of natural testosterone supplements.

Natural testosterone supplements can be just as effective in increasing testosterone as the medically prescribed therapies, but without the harmful side-effects.

To learn more about natural testosterone supplements, please click here.

 

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