Men produce testosterone hormone from the testes glands.
It is a hormone that supports secondary sex characteristics such as a deeper voice, facial body hair, and typical male features.
Low testosterone in men doesn’t always mean something is wrong. For example, average testosterone levels in men range from the 300s to about 1000 ng (nanograms) per deciliter.
A lot of men function perfectly fine at the lower end. Others do not. So what exactly do low results mean?
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The primary reproductive organs of men (testes) and women (ovaries) are known as gonads.
Low levels of the hormone in men is known as hypogonadism.
Testosterone is a hormone, as mentioned, produced by male testes or testicles. It is also produced in very small amounts by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of each of the kidneys.
Women also produce very small amounts of it from their ovaries, the female sex glands, as well as their adrenal glands.
Not only does it provide secondary male characteristics but is important for bone and growth development.
Known as an androgen, the levels produced by males is the responsibility of the pituitary gland.
When the pituitary gland receives messages from the hypothalamus gland (both of these glands are located in the brain) that there is a lack of testosterone, the pituitary releases luteinizing hormone.
This hormone instructs the testicles to produce more.
As you can see, three endocrine glands are responsible for not only producing but enhancing “maleness” and sexual libido, as well as energy levels.
The hormone also provides a number of health benefits in both sexes including development of muscle and bone mass, brain function, and distribution of fat.
And yes, it also has an impact on the development of genital tissues, sperm production, and sexual function.
The hormone floats through the bloodstream and binds to a protein called sex hormone binding globulin or SHBG.
Free testosterone is a type of that floats around the bloodstream that is not bound to that protein.
The level of free testosterone swimming through your bloodstream at any time can have an impact on sexual function, sexual desire, sperm production, and more.
Low testosterone in young men isn’t typically unusual, as a boost is generally noticed as boys enter puberty and gradually increases before levelling off.
Over the years, levels generally remain relatively static until they peak at about the age of 40.
After that, production generally decreases by a small percentage every year.
Low testosterone in men can contribute to a number of physical, emotional, and mental issues. Physically, low testosterone levels can contribute to infertility or a low sperm count.
They can also affect a man’s libido or ability to obtain an erection (erectile dysfunction).
As men grow older, reduced amounts can contribute to other conditions that affect bone density such as osteoporosis.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, schedule a visit with your doctor.
A simple blood test can measure levels of bound and free T in your blood and find where you rate based on averages.
Even if you have a lack of Testosterone, but you’re within range guidelines, your doctor may not recommend Test replacement therapy, especially for men over 65 years of age, as the risks outweigh benefits.
Many doctors hesitate to prescribe injections or supplements such as creams, gels, or sprays unless it causes a detrimental impact on physical, emotional, and mental health.
If your levels are low, your doctor’s first steps may be to encourage you to increase exercise and alter your diet.
If that does not produce results, a number of options for boosting testosterone levels are available, both prescription and over-the-counter.
These options include:
Injections (Cypionate is one type) given on a routine basis. Be aware that therapy may last years.
Topical Gels (AndroGel, Testim and other creams/gels may also be recommended).
Over-the-counter supplements are also available, designed to enhance and boost support of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands, thereby encouraging function such as production and secretion.
Natural Treatment Options (food and diet)
Not every man with a lack of testosterone is a good candidate for therapy.
Age, health, and contributing factors like illness or disease processes can also have an impact on synthesis of your hormones.
Talk to your doctor about or low testosterone levels in young men, and ask what it means for you and your all-around health and wellness.