Testosterone: Definition, Effects, Tests & Treatments

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Being one of the most crucial male sex hormones, testosterone could perform a crucial function in the development of male attributes. This anabolic steroid in males is formed in their testicles. Hence, regulating the testosterone hormonal levels in males could help to facilitate their sexual development and functions.

Generally, during puberty, the testosterone hormone might help the boys in developing their different male attributes like muscle strength, deep voice, facial hair and other male body characteristics. Besides this, the major purpose of testosterone is to create sperms in the male body. It also plays a crucial role in developing the different reproductive tissues like the prostate and testes.

Now let us understand this hormone in detail.

Often referred to as the male hormone, testosterone is an androgen hormone. This hormone is prepared in the bodies of both men and women.

The major purpose of any hormone system is to regulate bodily functions and travel from their producing location to other organs. Generally, testosterone is produced in different locations in men and women.

It is produced in the testes in men and the ovaries in women. In the testicles, testosterone is produced by the ledge cells. Moreover, this hormone might be produced in the adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys in the bodies of both men and women.

Since this is a male hormone, it is found in higher levels in the male body as compared to the female body. Moreover, if the levels of testosterone become imbalanced in any of the sexes, then it might cause adverse symptoms.

Besides helping in the formulation of sperm, testosterone does several other tasks inside your body.

It could support your body with fat distribution, red blood cell production, ameliorating the bone mass, muscle strength, size and sex drive.

Due to this, if low levels of testosterone are found in your body, then it might be a sign of infertility. At the same time, besides performing the different functions in the male human body, Testosterone might even augment the bone density, muscle size and sex drive in females.

More than the normal levels of testosterone in females might lead to infertility and male pattern baldness. Generally, the level of testosterone produced in your body is controlled by the pituitary gland along with the brain.

Once the required level of Testosterone is produced, it might be carried through the blood to the different organs.

Effects Of Testosterone On The Body

Testosterone is produced in males after seven weeks from conception. Generally, the level of Testosterone might heighten during puberty or the teenage years and then deteriorate. Some of the males could even face low levels of testosterone after 30 years.

However, the level of testosterone in your body may affect different aspects of your body, like its sexuality and the reproductive system. Besides this, any modifications in the testosterone levels could also provided an adverse impact on your body. Let us know how this hormone affects the different parts of your body.

  • Central nervous system

    The central nervous system controls the production of testosterone in your body. Initially, the hypothalamus might suggest to the pituitary gland about the optimum level of testosterone needed by the body. Then the pituitary gland may further convey this information to the testicles.

    Besides this, testosterone even affects the different behaviors of your body like self-esteem, dominance and aggression. The levels of testosterone might fluctuate during sexual activity and even during different competitive activities. Low levels of this hormone could lead to truncated levels of motivation, confidence, sleep disturbances, lack of focus and energy in your body.

  • Reproductive system

    Approximately after seven weeks from conception, testosterone may help in forming your male genitals. Besides this, when the levels of testosterone augment during puberty in males, it might help to grow the penis and testicles. So if there are low levels of testosterone in the male human body, then it could even lead to erectile dysfunction.

  • Hair and skin

    As you grow, you might see your transition in terms of hair and skin in your body. The reason behind this is testosterone. Due to this hormone, you might face an increase in the hair growth in your genitals, armpits and even face. Sometimes, hair growth might even augment on the chest, legs and arms.

  • Muscles and bones

    One of the major hormones responsible for enhancing the bulk and strength of the muscles and bones is testosterone. The reason behind this is because testosterone might augment the neurotransmitters in your body. This, in turn, could lead to the growth of tissues. Besides this, testosterone also reacts with the nuclear receptors present in the DNA, which may further lead to protein synthesis. Moreover, testosterone might heighten the growth hormone present in your body, which could facilitate the formation of the muscles and augmenting bone density.

  • Circulatory system

    Since testosterone is produced in the testicles, it might travel in the body through the bloodstream. You can also measure the testosterone level in your body by a blood test. It travels in the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Besides this, testosterone might even provide a positive impact on your heart.

Here is a detailed discussion on different aspects of testosterone.

Imbalance Of Testosterone

The imbalance of testosterone refers to the situations when the level of testosterone in your body might either increase or decrease too much.

But prior to reaching any sort of conclusion, you would want to undergo a testosterone level test.

Having said that, any imbalance of testosterone in your body might lead to a dysfunction in the various parts of your body.

The situation of low testosterone or hypogonadism may result in swollen breast tissue, erectile dysfunction, truncated sperm count, motility and sexual drive.

On the other hand, the long term impact of low testosterone may even result in an augmentation in your body fat, loss of body hair and even muscle strength. Sometimes, you could face mood swings, osteoporosis or shrinking testicles due to low testosterone.

Apart from the direct symptoms of testosterone deficiency, there are some non-specific or indirect signs of testosterone deficiency. Let us have a look at them.

Some indirect signs of low testosterone in your body might lead to poor levels of concentration, focus, and memory. Besides this, you may even see a truncation in your physical strength and energy levels. Due to all these reasons, you might not be able to perform well at work and even face difficulty in finding the perfect words to speak.

The major causes behind reduction or imbalance in your testosterone levels may be because of-

  • Different types of chronic diseases like obesity, liver disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and even HIV or AIDS.
  • Any type of testicular injury like castration or even infection of the testicles.
  • Different disorders affecting the hormone levels in your body, like high prolactin levels or pituitary tumors.
  • Genetic diseases like Myotonic dystrophy, Prader- Willi syndrome, Kalman syndrome, etc.

For this very reason, treating and managing low testosterone levels could be really crucial for ones well being.

On the other hand, excess levels of testosterone in males could even stimulate puberty before nine years of age. On the other hand, high testosterone levels in women, also known as hirsutism, might lead to the formation of hair near the lips or even around the body, reduction in breast size, modification in the body shape or swelling of the clitoris.

Another condition that is caused by an augmentation in the testosterone levels in females is Virilization. Under this condition, you may face a masculine appearance.

How To Treat Low Levels Of Testosterone?

The low levels of testosterone might be treated with the help of testosterone therapy (TT). AUA and FDA might help to deal with conditions of lower testosterone like Klinefelter syndrome. Besides this, you may also require Testosterone therapy, in case you have harmed your testicles.

Besides testosterone therapy, there are several other treatments for low testosterone or hypogonadism. Sometimes your doctor might even prescribe you some supplements that could help to correct the low levels of testosterone.

Other treatments for low testosterone levels include implantable testosterone patches, topical gels or an injectable testosterone.

You need to be careful before opting for testosterone replacement therapy because it could even cause certain side effects.  

The side effects may include infertility, enlargement of breasts, small testicles or even an augmentation in the number of red blood cells.

You might also want to switch to testosterone boosting foods.

Different Methods Of Taking Testosterone

You may generally take up testosterone from external sources through five different methods. Let us have a look at these methods.

  • Topical Or Transdermal Method

    The basic meaning of the transdermal method is ‘through the skin’. So you could receive testosterone from the transdermal method directly through your skin. There are many topical gels, creams, patches, liquids and medicines. Generally, all these creams and gels might even last for approximately 4 days. On the other hand, if you cover them with water or airtight dressing, then they could be better absorbed in your body.

    So you may apply the cream, gel or liquid to your dry skin. Make sure that the skin does not have any scratches or cuts on it. Then you may carefully wash your hands after applying the particular gel or cream. Also, you might not wash the skin until it is time for your next dose. Intranasal testosterone is in the form of a gel. As the name suggests, you need to pump this gel into each nostril, usually three times in a single day.

  • Injection

    You may deceive both long-acting and short-acting testosterone injections. Generally, a long-acting injection might be given to the muscle. On the other hand, a short-acting injection could be given under the skin or even in the muscle. The duration of giving the injection might be either monthly or weekly.

  • Pellets

    Pellets are another form of testosterone medication that might be given by your doctor under the skin of your buttocks. First of all, the doctor might numb your skin with the help of local anesthesia. Then a cut is made under the skin and the pellet is placed under the fatty tissues. Generally, the medicine might dissolve in about three to six months in your body.

  • Oral Medication

    Oral or buccal medication is given by mouth. Generally, the oral medication is in the form of a patch that you might place above your canine or incisors. Though the medication may look like a tablet, you may not swallow or chew it. Then it might get dissolved gradually over 12 hours.

    The directly swallowed drugs could have adverse effects on your liver. Due to this reason, you might wait for the drug to release over. But one of the disadvantages is that you may even experience irritation or headache where you place the drug.

    FDA has also approved a new oral testosterone treatment form. Personally speaking, most of the time, I try any of the listed oral testosterone booster capsules.

    These have provided me benefits for a long time. This is because most of these are natural testosterone boosters and have not given me any kinds of side effects when it comes to regular consumption.

Hence, these are the different methods through which you might take testosterone.  You could decide the right method based on what is best for you after discussing it with your doctor.

Let Us Finish It Up!

Thus, testosterone is a quite essential hormone that might be responsible for a number of functions in the male human body. It could facilitate the development of the internal as well as external organs. These organs might even include the reproductive organs like the testicles or the penis.

Due to this, any imbalance in the level of testosterone might prove to be fatal for your health. Generally, as your age increases annually after 30, you might find the deterioration in the testosterone levels by 1%. Due to this, lower testosterone levels might be common in older men.

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