Testosterone is a vital part of many aspects of the male body, including a man’s ability to have erections, produce sperm and conceive successfully. It is also responsible for the growth of their testes and penis, as well as for the growth of their facial, body and pubic hair.
The Hormone Health Network explains that testosterone also causes a man’s voice to become deeper, helps them grow taller, is essential for muscle growth and also maintains healthy, strong bones in the male body. They go on to explain that the pituitary gland and the brain is responsible for testosterone production in the testes, from where testosterone enters the blood stream and moves throughout the entire body.
According to data released by Health Line, the male body’s testosterone levels peak during a young adult age. During the age of 20 and 30, a man usually experiences the highest level of testosterone, which then starts to decline naturally by around 1% every year. This is a natural part of the aging process, but still ensures the body has a healthy amount of testosterone.
When testosterone starts to decline at rates higher than 1%, it may cause a condition known as hypogonadism – which refers to testosterone levels that are considered lower than normal for a person’s age.
If this condition is present in a man, he can start to experience a range of different symptoms due to the fact that testosterone plays an essential part in his entire body. Prevention reports that some of the most common signs of low testosterone often includes:
- Less of a desire to have sexual intercourse with a partner. This is also known as a low sex drive or low libido.
- Problems with excessive amounts of accumulate fat in the body, especially in the abdominal region.
- Constantly feeling tired and experiencing frequent sessions of fatigue.
- Feeling anxious all the time.
- Starting to feel more depressed as usual, or starting to feel depressed for the first time with no other known causes for depression to develop.
- Problems with grip due to a lack of bone strength.
Prevalence of Low Testosterone
Having an amount of testosterone present in the body that is lower than 300 ng/dl and having a low amount of free testosterone (lower than 5 ng/dl) means you have low testosterone levels. This may also indicate a health problem or another physical problem with the body. The New England Research Institutes in Massachusetts completed a study in order to provide better statistics regarding the prevalence of low testosterone among men.
The study included a total of 1,475 participants of mixed cultures, whom was aged between 35 and 60. The study found that 24% of the participants had low levels of total testosterone and 11% of the participants had low levels of free testosterone.
Several participants also had symptoms of low testosterone – 12% had low libido, 16% had erectile dysfunction, 1% had osteoporosis.
Fatherhood and Testosterone
While a majority of studies that focus on testosterone levels declining include participants older than 40 due to the age-related effects on the body’s testosterone production, recent studies have also taken a look at the effects of fatherhood on testosterone and found that men who become new dads are at risk of a drop in testosterone levels.
While no evidence can be provided as to the specific reasons why this is, Health speculates that this might be due to the fact that men who become fathers for the first time have less of a need to seek for new partners and also tend to dedicate a large amount of their time towards bonding with the new child, instead of sexual health.
A study conducted by the Memorial University of Newfoundland and Canada provided evidence to back up these new findings. They monitored testosterone levels in men who have children and men who do not have children.
A total of 624 participants were included in the study. Waking testosterone levels and evening testosterone levels were recorded among all participants. Among participants who recently became fathers, evidence was provided of an average of 26% less waking testosterone levels and an average of 34% less evening testosterone levels.
It was also found that the male participants who reported an average of three hours per day time spent to care for their child had a significantly lower testosterone when compared to the participants who did not report spending time every day to care for their new child.
With testosterone being an essential hormone involved in many parts of the male body, it is essential to consider the effects a low testosterone may have on the entire body. In the past, most studies only considered the effects of age on testosterone count.
New studies, however, suggest that becoming a father may also have a significant impact on testosterone count.