Testosterone hormone is produced in the testicles and helps in the development of the sexual characteristics in men. It is the most important hormone in men and is responsible for the normal sexual functioning. It helps in the physical changes that occur during puberty and this includes body and facial hair, development of the testes and penis. It also helps in the production of sperm in the testes.
It is also important in the general health of men by assisting in the growth of muscles and bones and affecting some aspects of the mental functioning by interfering with the mood and sex drive. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland located in the brain help to control the manufacture of sperm and male hormones. The follicle-stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone act on the testes to produce testosterone hormone.
There is a reduction in the production of testosterone and this happens with increased age. A reduction or a deficiency in testosterone can be caused by a damage or a disease that affects the testicles, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus. This reduces the production of testosterone and this condition is called hypogonadism. When there is a reduction in testosterone, the individual may present with abnormalities in bone and muscle development, reduced virility and underdeveloped genitalia.
Testosterone is responsible for the development and normal growth of the male sexual organs. This includes the testes, scrotum, prostate gland, seminal vesicles and the penis. Testosterone helps in maintaining a healthy mood, sexual desire, fertility and the levels of energy. The hormone also facilitates the development of the male characteristics that includes bone mass, distribution of fats, musculature, thickening of the vocal cords and enlargement of the larynx.
Signs & Symptoms
When there is a deficiency in testosterone hormone, the man will have a reduced sex libido and sex drive. The individual will have changes in the body that result from the reduction in the testosterone hormone. This includes reduction in the mass of the muscles, increase in the fats of the body and this can lead to weight gain.
The individual will have elevated levels of cholesterol that is caused by increased fats. The decrease in bone density makes one have fragile bones that break easily. There is a reduction for hair in men and this may include the hair on the scalp, chest and the genitalia. The man will present with signs of depression and this may be caused by a reduction in the sense of well being.
Treatment Of Testosterone Deficiency
The treatment involves giving testosterone therapy to return the level of testosterone to normal. This is usually prescribed for men who have confirmed testosterone deficiency. The treatment should be continued in life and the levels need to be checked by the doctor.
Testosterone therapy is available inform of gels, lotions, capsules, tablets, patches and injections. Intramuscular injections are usually given after 2-3 weeks while testosterone patch is worn on the scrotum or on other parts of the body and this will depend on the manufactures instructions.
Testosterone gel is applied in the nose or on the skin while a mucoadhesive material is applied twice a day and this should be done twice daily. The individual can have a subcutaneous implant inserted and this is long acting. A testosterone stick is applied on the underarm like a deodorant. The mode of treatment will depend on the level of testosterone in the blood, convenience of the patient, cost of therapy and familiarity.
A deficiency in testosterone increases the risk of osteoporosis and muscle weakness. This is because the mass density of the bones is reduced and this may cause the bones to break easily. This is common in the muscles that are located in the proximal and the distal areas of the body.
There is an increased death rate in diabetic patients who have a deficiency in testosterone. Most patients who have type 2 diabetes present with reduced testosterone levels as one of their complications and this can cause an early death in them. The patients who have reduced levels of testosterone are likely to get depression.
This may be caused by reduced male characteristic in their bodies. There is also an increased chance of getting erectile dysfunction and this predisposes one to infertility.
Side Effects Of Testosterone Therapy
The most common side effect that men present with is frequency in urination. This is where one feels the urge to urinate more than usual and this is common even at night. One may feel like voiding urgently even when the bladder is not full. Some men have enlarged breasts after using testosterone therapy.
This is because testosterone induces the development of the breasts. This may cause them to increase to the size of the woman’s breast. Oral treatments of testosterone therapy can cause damage to the liver during excretion. This is because of the increased amounts of toxins that are introduced into the body.
Deficiency in testosterone results to impairment in the development of the male characteristics. This will result in one having reduced mass of the bone and the muscles. It will also cause one to have reduced libido and sexual desire.
It predisposes the patient to have erectile dysfunction that may lead to infertility. The several modes of treatment that can be used for testosterone therapy include implants, gels, creams, capsules, tablets and injections. This treatment is given throughout the patient’s life. The patient is encouraged to go for medical checkups often to determine the level of testosterone in the blood.