Low Testosterone in Men: What Is It and How Can Replacement Therapy Help?
How Testosterone Replacement Therapy Denver help in Men Power
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males. It is responsible for an array of physiological functions, including reproductive health. It is produced primarily by males in the testicles, although it is present in lower amounts in females.
What Does Testosterone Do?
In adolescents, testosterone signals the development of the physical attributes characteristic of human males: the growth of the penis and testicles, facial hair, and pubic hair; the deepening of the voice, and the building of muscle and bone. In post-adolescent males, testosterone levels impact nearly all the body’s systems. Key functions include:
- Regulation of mood and sleep patterns
- Cognition and memory
- Insulin regulation
- Cardiovascular health
- Sex drive
- Fat distribution
- Bone density
- Sperm production
Like all hormones within the body, testosterone levels can fluctuate and become imbalanced. Given its myriad functions, it may come as no surprise that a deficiency in testosterone can lead to adverse effects.
Common Signs of Low Testosterone
Low serum levels of testosterone (<300 ng/dL) were linked to sexual dysfunction in post-pubescent males. This included:
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- Decreased penile sensitivity
- Reduction in ejaculate
Mood Swings and Depression
Hormone imbalances of all kinds are known to impact mood, and low testosterone is no exception. A 2013 literary review found that low levels of testosterone were linked to depressive disorders.
Increased Body Fat and Reduced Muscle Mass
Low levels of testosterone have been associated with an increase in aromatase, an enzyme that breaks down testosterone into estradiol. This breakdown results in less testosterone overall in the blood, allowing for a build-up of fatty deposits and a reduction in muscle mass.
As mentioned above, testosterone plays a central role in healthy bone development in males. A deficiency can lead to reduced bone mass and, ultimately, osteoporosis. This is a condition where new bone creation slows to the point where it cannot keep up with the removal of old bone. Bones become brittle and susceptible to breakage.
Low serum levels of testosterone have been linked to sleep disturbances in men. A 2017 study found that Testosterone Replacement Therapy had a positive impact on men suffering from testosterone-related sleep disorders.
What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy, and How Will It Help Me?
Testosterone replacement therapy is, simply, replacing lost testosterone through various routes, including oral, injection, and topical patch/gel form. Testosterone therapy is not recommended for everyone, but individuals with a deficiency may benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Patients for whom this therapy is an option can expect a positive impact on their quality of life, including:
Research has linked higher levels of total testosterone to a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease and an increase in spatial memory abilities for men aged 34-70.
Enhanced Mood and Energy Levels
A literary review found that current data shows testosterone replacement therapy, especially via transdermal application, results in increased energy levels, reduced anxiety, and a better mood overall.
Increased Libido and Sexual Performance
Testosterone therapy has shown a significant reduction in penile venous leakage, a common cause of erectile dysfunction in older males. Older men taking testosterone for low sex drive also reported an increase in sexual desire and nighttime erections.
Increased Muscle Mass and Better Body Composition
Testosterone therapy has a regulatory effect on the body’s fat composition and its ability to build muscle. Patients given transdermal testosterone gel therapy showed an increase in mean muscle strength and a decrease in fat mass and percent. Furthermore, the reduction in abdominal fat in particular due to testosterone therapy has been linked to a reduction in blood cholesterol levels.
Increased Bone Density
Males with clinically decreased serum testosterone levels are twice as likely to have osteoporosis. Testosterone therapy increases bone mineral density in sufficient doses.
Decreased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Testosterone replacement therapy has been associated with a reduced risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease. A study also showed increased exercise tolerance in men with chronic, stable angina.
More Restful Sleep
Low levels of testosterone have been linked to reduced quality of sleep, including increased periods of wakefulness and less time spent in deep sleep stages. Replacement therapy can restore circadian rhythms and improve the overall quality of sleep.
Testosterone exerts a complex effect on the body and is involved in a vast array of bodily processes, from mood to muscle mass. Testosterone therapy is a growing field of study and, as research continues, we may find even more applications for its use.
R2 Medical Clinic offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in Denver, Colorado. If you feel you are suffering from symptoms related to low testosterone, contact our office for a free consultation to discuss treatment options.