When many people think about men using testosterone, they almost immediately focus on the negative side effects. Abused by professional athletes, non-professional athletes, students and bodybuilders, testosterone has developed a bad reputation for making men aggressive and having lots of other negative effects. This is too bad, as testosterone has so many positive effects on male health.
The Truth About Testosterone
Testosterone is critical to human health and essential across the board. Higher levels of testosterone benefit the heart by improving cardiac function. This important hormone also improves function of the brain, muscles, and virtually every organ system.
Correct dosing in treatment is important, though. Having just the right amount of testosterone makes a man strong and function optimally. Too much can cause him to be overgrown, while inadequate testosterone does not provide all of the health benefits a man gets from it and increases risk for virtually every chronic degenerative disease of aging. .
Look at this way: when you take acetaminophen for a headache, taking two tablets can relieve your pain, taking one tablet may not do anything at all, and taking 70 pills can lead to needing an emergency liver transplant.
All Things Change
Testosterone levels change with age. During adolescence, testosterone levels rise to trigger the development of male primary and secondary sexual characteristics, such as body hair and bigger muscles. Testosterone levels drop later in life, usually when men are in their 30s and 40s. As men lose testosterone, they also lose some of the hair, big muscles and other characteristics associated with masculinity.
Other symptoms of low testosterone and lower levels of other hormones include low sex drive, difficulty with erection and low semen volume. Low testosterone can cause hair loss, fatigue, increased body fat and decreased muscle mass. Sagging hormone levels can lead to decreased bone mass, which makes men more vulnerable to bone fractures. Low testosterone is also associated with changes in mood and mental capacity.
Men Today Have Less Testosterone
Interestingly, men are starting to lose testosterone earlier and earlier in life. Research also shows that men today have lower overall testosterone levels, as compared with their fathers and grandfathers. In fact, the study showed that testosterone levels were dropping about 1 percent a year – that means a 65-year-old man in 2002 has about 15 percent lower testosterone than did a 65-year-old in 1987. In other words, a man today is “less manly” than his father or grandfather.
Many scientists believe that these lower testosterone levels are the result of compounds in the environment and in products. These compounds include endocrine disruptors, which are substances that interfere with hormone levels. Research shows that men, women and children exposed to the endocrine disruptors known as phthalates, found in plastics and some personal hygiene products, have lower testosterone levels.
In our increasingly toxic world, low testosterone levels are becoming more common. Almost 39 percent of men ages 45 and older have low testosterone levels, according to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
The number of men seeking treatment for low testosterone has tripled over the past ten years. Testosterone treatment provides a number of health benefits for men, including:
- An increased sense of well-being
- Boosted sex drive and libido
- Decreased fat mass
- Increased muscle strength
- Stronger muscles
To be effective, though, the treatment must include the right type of testosterone for the patient. Testosterone treatment can affect fertility, so younger guys with low testosterone who want to expand their families someday may opt for clomiphene or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that boosts testosterone production without lowering sperm. Standard testosterone treatments are generally for men who are not immediately concerned with having more kids.
For more information on testosterone treatment for men, consult with a doctor who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Optimization. Your doctor can help debunk any other myths regarding testosterone treatment in men and help you determine if testosterone treatment is right for you.
Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?
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