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Low Testosterone

Much like how estrogen is the most important hormone to a woman’s body, testosterone is the most important in a male’s body. Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for the male features such as facial hair and muscle. This hormone is also responsible for maintaining sex drive, sperm production, and bone health. As the body ages, a man’s testosterone levels will gradually decline and therapy may be
needed to help correct the imbalance and maintain a healthy level for the person.

A simple blood test can be performed to measure the amount of testosterone in the body. However, the blood test alone can not truly determine if a man has low testosterone. Further examinations are required by the physician, such as looking at family and/or medical history, physical examination (including examining the testes), and measuring body fat. It is with the due diligence of the physician to determine if testosterone deficiency is caused naturally or by another illness (such as Type 2 Diabetes or COPD).

There are testosterone hormone replacement therapy (THRT) medications that are identical to the natural testosterone made in a man’s body. Prescribed THRT medications come in many forms to help with adherence, such as tablets, gels, patches, and gum. Men with certain diseases or illnesses are to not use any THRT, it is always advisable to talk with your physician first to determine if therapy is right for you.

Symptoms that are commonly associated with testosterone levels

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Shrinking of testes
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increase in breast size
  • Hot flashes
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Decrease in muscle mass (severely low testosterone)
  • Decrease in bone strength (severely low testosterone)

 

 

References

Miner, Martin M. Low Testosterone Medscape CME Expert Column Series. Issue 2: Screening and Workup
for Testosterone Deficiency. Medscape.org. 2011. Web. 12 July 2012.

Cunningham, Glenn R., Matusomoto, Alvin M., Swerdloff, Ronald. Low Testosterone And Men’s Health.
Hormone.org, March 2010. Web. 7 July 2012.

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