Testosterone is the most important sex hormone and anabolic steroid in men, and key to healthy sexual function.
Testosterone plays an important role in the development of the male reproductive system such as the testes, penis and prostate, apart from promoting secondary male sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and body hair growth.
Testosterone also plays a role in general health and well-being, which includes moods, behavior, blood and bone health. In men, testosterone is secreted primarily by the testicles. Levels of testosterone in men are about eight times higher than in women.
Low testosterone levels in men have been linked to issues like irritability, depression, less self-confidence, fatigue, lower sperm count, lower red blood cell production, weight gain, muscle loss, low sex drive (low libido), hair loss, and Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
Testosterone levels decrease naturally as men get older, although it can also be the consequence of a disease called Hypogonadism, the latter obstructing the ability to produce normal amounts of testosterone. Excessive use of alcohol and coffee can also reduce the production of testosterone.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Sometimes additional testosterone is introduced in the body of older men to lessen unwanted sexual consequences of lower testosterone levels, such as low libido and ED. This type of treatment is typically called Testosterone Therapy or Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
Increasing testosterone levels is also done to enhance physique and performance, for instance in athletes, or to boost stereotypical physical attractiveness characteristics (such as more muscle mass).
Depending on the exact cause, a micropenis in males may be treated by augmenting testosterone in the body, which is notably effective for children.
Testosterone Therapy can be applied in several ways:
- Skin patches, typically applied once a day;
- Gels, which are absorbed directly through the skin and are applied once a day;
- Pills, to be taken orally;
- Mouth patches which are tablets that stick to the upper gums, applied twice a day;
- Injections are used to directly insert testosterone into the muscles;
- Implants, which are pellets placed in the soft tissues to slowly absorb testosterone into the bloodstream.
Methods used to naturally boost testosterone levels in the body are regular Testicles Massage, regular exercise, Semen Retention, taking supplements (such as Zinc, Vitamin D, Magnesium), and weight loss, among others.
Risks of Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone Therapy may have some side effects, such as rash, itching, irritation (at the location where the testosterone is applied), acne, shrinkage of testicles, larger breasts, blood clots, sleeping problems, increased sleep apnea, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
There’s also some scientific evidence that Testosterone Therapy can worsen Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or can stimulate prostate cancer.