You probably already know that testosterone is the hormone most closely linked to masculinity and sexual function. It triggers the onset of puberty and plays a role in the enjoyment of a healthy and vigorous sex life. However, you may not be aware of the other benefits that testosterone provides or of the symptoms that occur when you don’t receive enough this life-enhancing chemical.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
With time the body’s ability to produce testosterone diminishes. By age 40, most men’s testosterone levels are falling at about 1% each year. At age 50, men may begin to experience the symptoms of low testosterone. The most common complaints are decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction. However, there are also a number of other associated problems that men aren’t always aware of. These are additional signs that you might be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.
- Persistent fatigue and lack of energy, even with adequate rest
- Frequent depression, a decrease in motivation and loss of confidence
- Hair loss
- Low red blood cell count
- Loss of muscle mass and bone density
- Low sperm count
Taken together these symptoms are often called hypogonadism. Your physician can perform a blood test to determine whether your testosterone level is normal. Fortunately for many men testosterone therapy can provide relief.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Work?
Testosterone can be supplemented in a number of different ways. It is typically applied to the skin with a gel or patch, or it may be injected or implanted into a muscle. Although testosterone is available in pill form, it is not widely prescribed as an oral medication because it is thought to have adverse effects on the liver. Delivery through the skin, muscle or via some other method bypasses the liver and sends testosterone directly into the blood stream.
What Are the Benefits of Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone replacement therapy will not turn back the clock, but it could make you feel like your younger self again. Some of the benefits include:
- Improved sexual function
- Increased energy
- Improved sense of well-being and confidence
- Better muscle tone and stronger bones
- Improved sleep
Studies have shown that testosterone could be protective against heart disease and stroke. Research is also being conducted to determine whether it is reduces the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and promotes mental abilities such as better verbal memory and faster mental processing. The scientific jury is still deliberating these topics.
Along with the relief from symptoms and the other positive benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, men often report feeling back in control of their lives and more like themselves again.