In men, testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles, and in women the ovaries and adrenal glands. Testosterone is necessary for the physical growth of a man and for him to develop masculine characteristics. The testosterone produced in women’s bodies comes in much smaller amounts. After early adulthood men’s testosterone levels start to drop off. Testosterone is instrumental in developing a man’s muscle mass and bones, facial and pubic hair, deeper voice, and libido. It also improves a man’s mood and quality of life, and verbal and thinking ability. If you get tested and are found to have low testosterone levels, receiving treatment can make a real difference.
The benefits of increasing your testosterone levels are numerous, chief among them maintaining a healthy heart and blood. Testosterone increases red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Testosterone is responsible for increased muscle mass and reducing fat. If you use testosterone therapy, it’s likely you’ll see the most benefits when you combine it with strength training and exercise.
Something you might not have known is that testosterone plays an enormous role in bone mineral density. Low bone mineral density raises the risk of having weak bones or osteoporosis. Research shows that bone density increases with testosterone treatment if the dose is high enough.
Testosterone in the body helps the mind too. Studies show that men who have higher ratios of total testosterone are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, testosterone has been linked to improved thinking abilities such as verbal memory and faster processing speeds, and spatial memory.
Studies show that testosterone therapy can benefit your sexual health and performance. For example, long-term follow-up of testosterone replacement in hypogonadal males and a control group indicates that self-assessment of libido was significantly higher in the testosterone-treated group. For men who don’t have hypogonadism, though, increasing your testosterone won’t necessarily benefit your libido. Lower testosterone levels are associated with poorer quality of life, but this might only be for men with hypogonadism. Studies show that men afflicted with this condition experienced improved mood and well-being, and reduced fatigue and irritability after beginning testosterone treatment. It may also be an effective anti-depressant treatment.
Although it exists in both genders, in men testosterone is the key sex hormone that regulates fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production. When testosterone levels in the body drop beyond a healthy level, it can lead to conditions like hypogonadism (dysfunctional sex organs) or infertility. Hormone replacement therapy is among the most popular ways to combat this condition.
If you have low testosterone levels, sometimes simply getting injections of a synthetically-produced version isn’t enough. Clinics might decide to use hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) for low testosterone patients who experience specific side effects (or who are concerned about fertility). Only women naturally produce hCG, and they do it during pregnancy. When you take a standard urine pregnancy test, hCG is the hormone the test’s looking for. For most testosterone-seeking patients, simply injecting the testosterone is enough. If a patient is really conscious of risk to fertility (especially if you plan to have children in the future), your hormone replacement therapy doctor might recommend hCG. It’s also an option for patients who are at risk for testicular atrophy.