What Is It And What Role Does It Have?
Jan 21, 2019
Testosterone - what is it and what role does it have?
Testosterone is the most important male hormone with a major action in the reproductive system of the male but has a significant role in many other health plans, both for men and women.
Where does testosterone form?
In men, testosterone is produced in testicles and women in ovaries. For both sexes, testosterone is also significantly reduced in the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys).
The brain and the pituitary gland (a small brain-secreting endocrine gland secreting hormones) control the production of testosterone.
The mechanism is the following: the hypothalamus transmits to the pituitary gland the amount of hormone it produces, and the pituitary gland sends the message to the testicles or ovaries, at which point testosterone, like other hormones, enters the bloodstream and reaches other organs.
What is the level of testosterone?
Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day. Usually, it is higher in the morning and lower in the evening. The testosterone level to men is the highest between 20 and 30 years old, recording a slight decrease after 35 years (according to estimates, the annual decrease is about 1%). The total testosterone level produced by the female body is 10-12% higher than that of men, reaching the peak at the age of 20, then decreasing gradually, so that at the menopause the woman's body produces half the amount of testosterone on which produced it at fertile age.
What is the role of testosterone?
For men, testosterone is associated with the general health status, is responsible for many actions throughout the life of the man:
- From the embryonic stage, this hormone helps to develop internal and external organs, including reproductive organs - the penis and the testicles.
- At puberty, testosterone contributes to voice modification, penis growth, height increase, hair growth in the pubic area and face.
- At maturity, testosterone is associated with libido, weight and muscle strength and development of the jaw. Men need testosterone to produce sperm for reproduction.
- Testosterone influences bone density and fat distribution. Although it may seem surprising, this male hormone also plays an important role in women, influencing libido, bone density and muscle strength.
- Also, testosterone contributes to the secretion of important hormones for the menstrual cycle.
- For both sexes, testosterone stimulates the production of white blood cells, with a vital role in health and the body's defence of infectious diseases.
How is the level of testosterone unbalanced?
Regardless of sex, if testosterone levels are unbalanced, there are some symptoms.
Testosterone levels may be decreased - a condition called hypogonadism or increased. Diagnosis of hypogonadism occurs when symptoms show lower testosterone levels and when confirmed by blood tests: the hormone concentration drops below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl).
In men, low levels of testosterone or hypogonadism can be caused by Chronic (diabetes) disease.
- Testicular diseases (physical trauma, alcoholism, viral diseases).
- Genetic diseases (Klinefelter, Kallman or Prader-Willi syndromes).
- Diseases or tumours of the hypothalamus.
- Diseases or tumours of the pituitary gland.
- Testicular insufficiency.
- HIV AIDS.
- Treatment for cancer.
- Kidney failure.
- Exposure to radiation.
- Cerebral surgery.
- Low testosterone levels can lead to Insulin resistance (which favours diabetes).
- Low libido.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Abdominal fat.
- Gynecomastia (breast development).
- Lack of hair on the body.
- Slim voice.
- Testicles soft.
- Muscle weakness.
- Fragile bone.
- Alopecia (baldness).
- Joint pain.
- Weight gain.
The excess testosterone can be caused by
- Congenital hyperplasia of the adrenal glands.
- Administration of anabolic steroids.
- Tumours of the testicles or adrenals.
The excess testosterone symptoms may be:
The level above 1000 ng/dl is generally considered to exceed normal, but it is found to be at a minimum (about 2%) of men.
They may experience:
- Increased excess of facial hair.
- Highly defined jaw line.
- Wide shoulders.
- Hair Loss.
- According to some research, a high level of testosterone predisposes men to engage in risky activities.
On the other hand, an advantage of increased testosterone could be normalizing blood pressure and reducing the risk of obesity and heart attack.
For women, low levels can be caused by long-term use of contraceptives, ovarian failure or removal of ovaries or advanced age. Low levels of testosterone can cause:
- Low libido.
- Irregular or absent menstruation (amenorrhea).
Excess testosterone in women can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, adrenal hyperplasia or ovarian cancer.
Excess can cause:
- Hirsutism (excess hair throughout the body, including face).
- Male features with thick voice and sometimes baldness.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
For both sexes. Low levels of testosterone can cause psychological changes such as:
- Lack of motivation.
- Difficulties of concentration.
- Memory problems.
The increased level for both sexes can be determined by taking anticonvulsant medications, sleeping pills, synthetic ovulation stimulants (for infertility), or estrogen therapy.
Testosterone replacement therapy
Some men may have low levels of testosterone without signs or symptoms.
Most men do not need treatment. But when testosterone deficiency causes osteoporosis or sexual dysfunction, sleep disorder or depression, the endocrinologist may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy.
Both men and women can benefit from this treatment, which involves administering an artificial form of the hormone to compensate for the deficiency. Medicines can be in various forms: gels, patches, injections or implants.
Regular visits to the doctor are recommended during treatment.
For women, estrogen levels should be optimal before treatment, because testosterone can affect the level of this hormone.
Possible side effects of testosterone therapy are acne, testicle size reduction, prostate and breast enlargement, inflamed swelling; treatment may also increase the risk of heart attack, sleep apnea, infertility, prostate cancer.
Go to the emergency room if you are receiving testosterone replacement therapy and you:
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
- Weakness on one side of the body.
- Slurred speech.
You can have a low level of testosterone and feel fit, in which case only natural supplementation with certain recognised minerals for the impact on testosterone production is needed:
- Zinc - is found in whole grains and seafood.
- Potassium - is found in bananas, red beets or spinach.
Exercises naturally increase testosterone levels. In addition, enough sleep, reducing stress and avoiding sweets from eating can help normalize testosterone levels.
I am the owner of the Plantfont website and I'm delighted to share my ideas with you here. Let me know your thoughts too!