The Role of Testosterone in Males
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and the most significant driving hormonal force in men of all ages. This hormone is what controls, regulates, and nurtures development, both physical and emotional, throughout the male life cycle. This hormone is produced in the testes and is responsible for the evolution and growth of males in utero. It is at this early stage of the body’s maturation that the development of the male reproductive system and the normative male gender development occur.
Testosterone is a key player in:
- Muscle development
- Bone mass
- The distribution of adipocytes or fat cells
- Sperm cell production
- Blood cell production
- Libido or sex drive
Testosterone levels naturally decrease as men age into adulthood and beyond, but the presence of this hormone remains crucial to healthy, adaptive development and behavior for men at all stages of life.
Youth and Adolescence
In young males and teens, testosterone levels are at their peak and contribute to puberty and all of its attendant developmental changes. Testosterone is the primary hormonal force behind hair growth on the face and body, changes in vocal tone and pitch, structural developments that turn the faces of young boys into grown men, and a heightened interest in sexual activity.
Early to Middle Adulthood
Testosterone levels begin to decrease around the age of 19, but the body continues to successfully manage and monitor sperm production, libido, muscle mass, and the changes set forth in and before adolescence. Testosterone regulates the complex interactions of the hypothalamus and the adrenal and pituitary glands as they regulate male responses to stress, aggression, and overall mood.
Late Adulthood and Beyond
Testosterone levels drop significantly after the age of 30 and continue to do so throughout the male life span. The connection between aging and changes in health related directly to decreased testosterone levels is not fully understood or agreed upon by the scientific community. Still, changes noted frequently in the aging male population include decreased libido, increased depression, osteoporosis, anemia, and fluctuations in cholesterol levels. Though connections between testosterone deficiencies and the conditions often experienced by older men may be largely correlational, both men and the phenomena they experience deserve proper treatment and care.
Testosterone Deficiencies- Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Deficiencies in testosterone, also referred to as hypogonadism, may be caused by a combination of medical factors, genetic components, and injuries to the brain or testicles. Though tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, prescription medications for anxiety, pain, and blood pressure, as well as obesity, and excessive stress can contribute to a deficiency in testosterone levels, these conditions are less likely to be considered diagnostic precursors when making a definitive diagnosis.
Some of the more common ailments that contribute to this condition, however, include congenital abnormalities of the male sex chromosomes, such as those seen with Klinefelter’s syndrome. This syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation in which boys are born with two X chromosomes, a state that is endocrinologically normative in females. Testicular torsion, a condition in which a male’s spermatic cord is found to be twisted around the veins that supply blood to the testes, as well as cryptorchidism, a condition in which surgery may be needed to return undescended testicles to their proper placement, are frequently seen as likely causes of testosterone deficiencies. Side effects from chemotherapy, radiation treatment, the mumps, as well as tumors in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, have also been identified as contributing factors in hypogonadism. In order to determine if symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, abnormal lab values, decreased libido, changes in mood, difficulty concentrating, as well as any loss of bone and muscle strength, are in fact the result of a testosterone deficiency, one must be thoroughly examined by a qualified medical professional. If, after blood tests, a full body work up, and a detailed medical history is recorded, a diagnosis of a testosterone deficiency is made, all hope is not lost.
Treating Hypogonadism with Body Systems Wellness
While preventing testosterone deficiencies, at least in some cases, may be beyond our control, there are several ways in which men can conduct themselves that may lower or reduce the chances of developing the condition. One of the ways in which men can properly care for themselves is by maintaining a healthy weight. Though obesity is an issue that is all too familiar to the general public, it is especially important to keep in mind for men who wish to safeguard their health and welfare. Additionally, it is critical that men of all ages remain mindful of their stress levels, as elevated cortisol and other stress hormones can cause profound hormonal complications. It is also vital that males with and without hypogonadism partake minimally in alcohol, as this substance can contribute to low levels of testosterone, as well as become a dangerous tool for those suffering from depression related to a testosterone deficiency. Dr. Shahen Kurestian, DC of Body Systems Wellness can help men suffering from hormone deficiencies through the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). When treating men with imbalanced amounts of testosterone, hormone replacement therapy is often recommended as a way to alleviate its debilitating side effects. Whether or not this modality is right for each patient, can only be determined after careful discussion with the medical professionals at Body Systems Wellness who are reviewing your clinical condition.Located in Glendale, California, Dr. Kurestian’s team can assist with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy, as well as other forms of testosterone replacement therapies. With a conviction to the therapeutic benefits of HRT, an understanding of the safety and protocols involved in the administration of these treatments, and a desire to provide support to patients in need, you are in good hands with Dr. Kurestian and his staff. Contact our offices for a free consultation at any time.