When you hear the word “ testosterone ”, what image comes to mind? Do you imagine competitors of Mr. Muscle Universe, showing off their incredibly massive biceps? While testosterone works to build muscle mass, they notoriously contribute to mostly aggressive behavior. Testosterone is the main hormone, so it is often known as synonymous with masculinity .
Women Also Produce Testosterone: Although we often associate testosterone with men, women have testosterone, too. In fact, a healthy young woman produces 300 micrograms of testosterone a day. Testosterone plays an important role in sexual health. It stimulates desire, increases libido , increases arousal and increases sexual satisfaction. Testosterone also helps maintain women’s bone density, muscle mass and a healthy energy level. Women with low testosterone levels (low T) may experience low libido , persistent fatigue, and a diminished sense of well-being.
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Low Testosterone Levels: Low testosterone levels can also pose problems for men. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 5 million men have low testosterone levels . What Causes Low Testosterone ? As men age, their bodies naturally start to make less testosterone . However, certain diseases, medical treatments, genetic conditions and lifestyle choices can also incite decline. Men with low T may experience decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction , brittle bones, and other health issues.
Do you have diabetes? Take a Testosterone Test: Men with diabetes are particularly prone to low testosterone . According to the American Diabetes Association, a man with type 2 diabetes is twice as likely to suffer from low T as a man without diabetes .
Why? Low testosterone levels are often associated with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means your body uses insulin less effectively. This causes blood sugar and fat levels to rise, which causes diabetes. If you have diabetes , it is vital to monitor your testosterone levels .
Other Functions of Testosterone: We all know that testosterone helps build muscle and increases sex drive. However, did you know that testosterone is also good for your blood? That’s right: the hormone plays a key role in erythropoiesis, which is the production of red blood cells. If you have low testosterone , your body will not produce more red blood cells . This decrease in cell production can cause a significant drop in energy.
Testosterone and Bone Density: Testosteronealso helps maintain bone density. If your testosterone level drops, your bones can become more fragile. Your doctor may order a bone density test to find out if you have low testosterone levels . Since testosterone works to maintain bone density, low testosterone can cause osteoporosis in men. Doctors often treat this problem with hormone replacement therapy, which can help prevent or slow bone loss.
Mental Health and Testosterone: As if all this wasn’t enough, testosterone also plays a vital role in mental health. Testosterone helps maintain energy and a sense of well-being. Those with low testosterone levels will often experience a decreased sense of well-being, a depressed mood and low energy.
In fact, UCLA researchers have found that testosterone replacement therapy improves mood in men with low testosterone levels . Men treated with supplemental testosterone experienced a decrease in anger, sadness, fatigue, nervousness, as well as increased energy and friendliness.
Medical Use of Testosterone: Given all the amazing things testosterone can do, it’s not surprising that it’s used to treat other medical conditions. For example, synthetic testosterone is used to:
- testicular failure
- suppress lactation
- Treating certain types of breast cancer
- Doctors use hormone replacement therapy to treat men with low testosterone . Patients can take the hormone in the form of an intramuscular injection, a testosterone patch , testosterone gel , or as a gummy tablet.