Testosterone is the male sex hormone vital for normal sexual development and functions. It also plays an important role in the health of the brain, kidneys, bones, and liver. Testosterone deficiency is thought to affect around 40 percent of men over the age of 45. It can have a negative impact on overall well-being and cause many symptoms including fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and depression.
What is Testosterone Deficiency?
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in the male testicles. Women also produce it in their ovaries during puberty. It plays an important role during puberty its levels usually peak during adolescence and early adulthood but gradually decline with age It likewise plays a significant role in fertility process. Testosterone is important for a number of factors, including bone density, fat distribution, red blood cell production, muscle strength, sex drive, sperm production, and the growth of facial and body hair.
Some men have testosterone deficiency (TD) or the underproduction of testosterone which is often referred to as low testosterone or Low-T. It is more common in men who have type 2 diabetes or who are overweight, but it can be caused by many other factors including:
· Testicular injuries
· A pituitary gland disease (which can lead to hormonal deficiency)
· An infection
· Hormone disorder
· An autoimmune disease such as HIV/AIDS
· A medical condition such as hypogonadism – where the testes produce few or no hormones (sometimes present from birth)
· Testicular cancer
· Cancer treatments
· Chronic liver or kidney disease
Low testosterone has also been linked to aging, stress, certain medications, and metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, poor cholesterol levels and abdominal fat).
Signs of Low Testosterone
There are many signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency. Some are specific signs which are linked more directly to low levels of testosterone, while other non-specific symptoms may not be solely linked to the condition. Specific signs include:
· Low or reduced sex drive
· Sexual dysfunction
· Reduced lean muscle mass
· Loss of body hair/less beard growth
· Bone density loss
· Fatigue or reduced energy much of the time
· Changes in mood (irritability, symptoms of depression)
· Weight gain/obesity
Non-specific signs of testosterone deficiency can include:
· Poor memory
· Lack of focus and concentration
· Difficulty finding words to say
· Change in sleep patterns
· Lower energy level
· Muscle weakness, reduced physical strength or endurance
Testosterone not only stimulates sex drive; it also aids in achieving and maintaining an erection by stimulating receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide. The molecule nitric oxide helps to trigger a series of chemical reactions necessary for an erection to occur, but if testosterone levels are too low it can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms relating to testosterone deficiency can also relate to other health conditions and should be investigated further by a Urologist. Testosterone deficiency doesn’t always require treatment, however, treatmentmay be necessary to alleviate annoying symptoms relating to low testosterone levels.
Low Testosterone Treatments
Depending on the cause of low testosterone, certain lifestyle changes can help to increase its production level. Research has shown that losing weight, cardiovascular exercise, and resistance-based exercises, such as lifting weights, can increase testosterone levels. Other treatments can include testosterone injections, TESTOPEL® testosterone pellets, topical testosterone gel prescription medication, and weight loss programs.
Urologist for Testosterone Deficiency in Phoenix, AZ
If you you have low testosterone, make an appointment with board-certified and fellowship-trained urologist Dr. Desi Avila at Ironwood Urology. Dr. Avila is one of Phoenix’s leading men’s health specialists who can determine what is causing your low T and help regulate the level of testosterone in your body to help improve mood, boost energy, and increase your sex drive. To make an appointment at Ironwood Urology, call today at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment online.