Testosterone is a steroid sex hormone produced primarily in the testes of a man and plays an important role in many functions of a healthy adult male. Low testosterone affects an estimated 4 to 5 million men in the United States (11/4/2016, “What’s Causing my Low Testosterone,” Healthline).
There are many causes of low testosterone as we age. Normal testosterone levels decrease each year after age 30 at about 1% per year (4/10/18, “Low Testosterone” Cleveland Clinic). Common causes can be prescribed medication, dysregulated metabolism and inflammation. Other causes are genetic, head injury, alcohol abuse or uncontrolled medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or endocrine issues. Less common are cancers and radiation exposures.
Decreasing testosterone levels can lead to feelings of depression in males, excessive sleeping, feeling tired, weight gain, loss of muscle and changes in sexual vitality. A normal adult male testosterone level is in the range of 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (4/25/2019, “Low Testosterone 12 Signs in Men,” Healthline).
Many men will start to feel symptoms even with a slight variation of their normal testosterone level. Many men will wait months or years prior to seeking help for their symptoms. Some men may have no symptoms.
It is essential to carefully approach the holistic health of a male before integrating testosterone treatment. Naturally, you can improve your testosterone levels by getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Reducing stress helps to decrease cortisol levels.
Other strategies include correcting nutritional deficits with vitamins and supplements, working with your medical provider to evaluate medication and health goals, avoiding excess alcohol and avoiding illicit drugs. Staying active can play an important role in maintaining men’s health.
Providers that specialize in men’s hormone health can prescribe medications that can increase testosterone more naturally without stopping your own testosterone production. These medications typically are taken as prescribed daily with the addition of injections of some growth hormones.
There is some controversy at times with specific prescriptions. Before taking these medications, you should know the risks and benefits. It is vital to maintain regular medical checkups and prevention visits. Blood work is required to determine declining testosterone levels, underlying conditions and monitoring medical treatments for decreased testosterone.
It is also important to let your hormone specialist know if you are trying to impregnate your partner as your treatment should be customized to promote your goals.