What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone may be the most notorious of hormones. It conjures up thoughts of muscles and masculinity. In fact, testosterone does fuel sex drive and muscle mass, but it also regulates mood and bone strength. When a man’s level falls below normal, a doctor may prescribe shots, gels, or patches. But there is some debate over who needs treatment.
Aging and Testosterone Levels
A slow drop in testosterone is a normal part of aging, sometimes called “andropause” or “male menopause.” For many men, this doesn’t cause any significant problems or symptoms. Others may notice hot flashes, irritable moods, or less interest in sex.
Low Testosterone and the Body
Low testosterone can cause visible changes in some men:
- Thinner muscles
- Loss of body hair
- Smaller, softer testicles
- Larger breasts
Low Testosterone Affects Bones
You may think osteoporosis, or brittle bone disease is a woman’s disease, but it can affect men as well. Low testosterone is a common cause. As testosterone levels fall, the bones may get thinner, weaker, and more likely to break.
Low Testosterone and Sex
A drop in testosterone doesn’t always interfere with sex, but it can make it more difficult for your brain and body to get aroused. Some men may notice a drop in libido, while others may lose interest in sex completely. Low testosterone can also make it tougher to get or keep an erection.
Testosterone, Mood, and Thinking
Some men have subtle problems like irritability or other mood changes, poor concentration, and less energy. These symptoms can easily be caused by other health problems though, like anemia, depression, sleep troubles, or a chronic illness.
Low Testosterone and Infertility
Testosterone helps a man’s body make sperm. When levels of the hormone are low, his sperm “count” can be low, too. Without enough sperm, he may not be able to father a child.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Getting older is the most common reason testosterone levels dip. Illnesses are sometimes to blame, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver or kidney disease
- Pituitary gland problems
- Testicle injuries
Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and steroid medicines can also affect testosterone levels.
Should You Be Tested?
Your doctor may suggest a testosterone test if you have:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Lower sex drive
- Low sperm count
- A loss of height, body hair, or muscle size
If you have an illness known to lower testosterone, your doctor may want to test your levels of the hormone.
Testing for Low Testosterone
Testosterone is usually measured with a blood test done early in the morning, when levels are highest. Normal levels range from 300 to 1,000 ng/DL. Your doctor may want to run this test a second time before diagnosing low testosterone.
Treating Low Testosterone
If you have low blood levels of testosterone AND symptoms that affect your daily life, your doctor may suggest taking supplemental testosterone. Not everyone with low testosterone will need treatment. You may want to see a specialist to discuss the risks and possible benefits of treatment. Look for a urologist or an endocrinologist, a doctor who treats hormone problems.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
If you need treatment, your doctor may prescribe testosterone to boost your levels. Some studies suggest this can strengthen a man’s muscles, protect his bones, and improve his sex drive. But the effects can be quite different from one man to the next.
Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone therapy has some drawbacks. Some men may develop:
- Too many red blood cells
- Sleep apnea
- An enlarged prostate
The risks and benefits of taking testosterone for many years are not known, because large studies haven’t been completed, yet.
We recommend taking natural testosterone derived from plants, called Phyto-testosterones. The natural product generally takes longer than the chemical testosterones, but you don’t have to worry about side effects. The Manna Andropause was formulated with the best phyto-testosterones to increase testosterones without side effects.