Most people equate testosterone with male sexual desire, 'machismo', and strength.
The primary function of testosterone is to provide secondary sex male characteristics to men.
However, it is so much more than just a sex hormone.
These characteristics include a deepening voice, development of body and facial hair, maturation of the genitalia, sperm production, increased muscle mass, and bone strength, among others.
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The testicles, or testes glands, of the endocrine system are responsible for certain functions.
Testosterone, as mentioned, promotes development of male sex characteristics during childhood and adolescence.
It also enhances growth during childhood and continues to maintain those sex characteristics, including the maturation of sperm, during adulthood.
Another hormone manufactured in the testicles is called inhibin. This hormone works in conjunction with test to regulate the rate of sperm development.
Levels of test in the body are controlled by the pituitary gland. These levels will also have a lot to do with optimal function of testosterone and estrogen hormones in men.
The pituitary gland is located in the brain and has a huge impact on all glands in the body, including male testicles and female ovaries.
One of the many hormones of the pituitary gland is a follicle stimulating hormone known as FSH function that encourages growth of sperm in men and eggs in women.
The pituitary gland also produces and releases luteinizing hormone (LH function) that targets both the female ovaries and male testicles and instructs as well as stimulates the release of testosterone in men.
Hormones can affect men in many different ways.
While follicle stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland initiates the production of sperm in the testicles, luteinizing hormone, also produced in the pituitary gland, helps the testicles produce testosterone.
The hormone itself is produced in the Leydig cells of the testicles.
Another type of hormone that is produced in tissues from testosterone is known as dihydrotestosterone which basically regulates a number of male characteristics that includes prostate growth and loss of hair and male pattern baldness.
A number of factors can contribute to low T levels – in fact, anything from aging processes to malfunction or deficiencies of the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, or the testicles themselves.
Injury, trauma, genetic defects, and cancer treatments can affect the ability of glands to produce and secrete adequate amounts of hormone.
Normal levels of testosterone are characterized by age and can be measured with a simple blood test.
Average adult males may range in levels from 272 just over, 1000 ng per deciliter.
How would you know if your hormone levels are low?
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of low T or decreased function of testosterone include:
These are just a few signs and symptoms that are often associated with lack of function of testosterone. Production normally begins to decrease in the mid-30s to 40s, as part of natural aging.
A man with decreased levels may also experience a number of mental and emotional changes:
Hormones have a powerful impact not only on physical health, but emotional and mental health.
If you feel that your levels aren’t where they should be, or you’re experiencing symptoms of decreased function of testosterone, schedule a visit with your doctor. A blood test will determine where your levels are.
If your doctor determines that your levels of hormones have decreased where it’s affecting physical, emotional or mental health and wellness, replacement therapy may be recommended.
Before resorting to drug therapies such as injection cycles, a doctor may suggest a change in diet and increased levels of exercise.
For some men, these simple changes can improve testosterone function as well as production in the body.