What makes a man, man? Testosterone does. The tough exterior that man possesses is due to the level of testosterone running in their bodies. Humans, in general, make testosterone. Although women’s ovaries also make testosterone, the amount that men makes is significantly higher. It is what makes up the sexual characteristics of men.
Testosterone is a hormone that is produced predominantly by men in their testicles. It is a kind of androgen called Leydig cells which is mainly produced by the cells of testicles. This is often known as steroids or anabolic steroids. The testes is mainly responsible for production of testosterone and is controlled by the brain’s pituitary gland and hypothalamus. The passage of these hormones are done by chemical communication between the brain and man’s sexual organs.
Testosterone is usually linked to a man’s sex drive and plays a vital role for reproduction. It is associated with the development of male sex organs and secondary reproductive characteristics like voice breaking and deepening, increase in penis and testes size, as well as the body and facial hair growth. Moreover, they also help maintain man’s overall health. This includes:
- Their distribution of fat
- Density and solidity of bones
- Strength and mass of muscles
- Production of red blood cells
- Distribution of facial and body hair
- Production of sperm
- Regulates fertility
The production of testosterone usually starts and significantly increase during the stage of puberty. However as men start to age after 30 years or so, testosterone production begins to decrease. When testosterone levels decrease, it can significantly affect man’s health and fertility.
What causes low testosterone?
Low testosterone is also known as hypogonadism. In the US alone, approximately 4 to 5 million men are affected by Low Testosterone (Low-T). Some men as young as 30 years old can also be affected by Low Testosterone. Low testosterone can happen due to a variety of reasons. These reasons include:
- Sexual organs are damaged at birth or by illness
When male testes are underactive or damaged due to an inherited trait or sickness, it can cause low testosterone or primary hypogonadism. This is because the production of testosterone levels are insufficient for optimal health and growth. Some of these inherited traits include:
- Klinefelter’s Syndrome: when a male being is born with three sex chromosomes
- Undescended Testicles: this happens when a man’s testicles do not descend from the abdomen before he is born
- Hemochromatosis: when the testes and pituitary gland gets damaged due to over production of iron in the blood.
Certain types of sickness can also cause damage to man’s testicles. These include:
- Mumps Infection: This condition can cause injuries to man’s testicles
- When both testicles are physically injured
- Certain cancer treatments due to the radiation exposure from chemotherapy
- Hypothalamus or pituitary glands get damaged by birth or illness
When the organs that help in regulating production of testosterone is also affected and damaged by birth or illness, it can also cause low testosterone. These inherited traits include:
- HIV or AIDS: these immune deficient diseases can significantly decrease the production of testosterone
- Pituitary disorders which is caused by kidney failure, drugs or tumors
- Diseases such as tuberculosis, histiocytosis, and sarcoidosis can inflame and affect the pituitary gland as well as the hypothalamus.
- Kallman syndrome: this is a disease where the hypothalamus is functioning abnormally
Other types of acquired circumstances causing low testosterone include:
- Being overweight: This is because when our body has excess fat it can affect hormone production as well as response.
- Aging also affects hormone production and response
- Heavy medication like pain medicines and steroids can affect production of testosterone through the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
- Physical and mental stress
How do you know if you are low in testosterone?
Low testosterone levels can often be a subject of shame for most men because of its association with sexual drive and responses to their partner. There are a number of symptoms that show when a man’s testosterone levels are decreasing. These symptoms include:
- Impotence and erectile dysfunction
- Sex drive diminishes
- Breast fat increases
- Hot flashes
- Baldness or loss of hair
- Muscle mass lowers
- Sperm count decreases
- Testes look smaller or shrunken
- Bone density becomes weaker and prone to fractures
- Increased inability to sleep or insomnia
- Increased feelings of depression, mood swings and irritability
What to do to increase testosterone naturally?
If you are suffering or have symptoms associated to low testosterone or think you are experiencing some of these symptoms, your levels of testosterone can be tested and checked. Before resorting to prescribed medication, you can opt for natural strategies first. Here are some ways:
- Lose the excess pounds
As low testosterone is often associated with obesity, the best way is to shed the extra weight by reducing sugar and carbs in your diet. Instead, replace them with vegetables and healthy fats as well as protein.
- Keep active and exercise or lift weights
Working out and have an active lifestyle has already proven itself in improving health and battling many diseases. Coincidentally, it also helps in boosting testosterone levels as well. You can try heavy weight lifting, high intensity training and cardio exercises can help remedy your testosterone problems.
- Try avoiding situations that cause anxiety and stress
Studies have already shown the association between stress and diseases. Too much stress can also equally slow your testosterone production. Try to maintain a balance in your life by participating in things that you enjoy, getting high quality sleep, and eating a balanced meal.
- Exposing yourself in sunlight or take Vitamin D supplements
Research shows that Vitamin D has shown plenty of health benefits and also works as a natural booster for testosterone. This is especially helpful for elderly men.
- Taking Natural Testosterone Boosters
Resorting to testosterone boosters can also help in increasing testosterone production. Products contained in these boosters that are found to help infertile men are ginger extracts or a herb called ashwagandha. Take note there are only a few boosters that are supported by scientific evidence. It is important to consult first with your doctor before taking these supplements. You can find these boosters in stores or online. Here are some recommendations you can find online that have high reviews:
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