What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women, but is produced in larger quantities by men. This hormone is produced in the testicles in men and is responsible for various body functions including; red blood cell production, reproduction, sexual drive, muscle mass, and bone density.
What are the causes of testosterone deficiency?
A decrease in testosterone production is thought to be a normal part of the aging process and usually begins after the age of 30. This change occurs gradually, but can have a significant effect on a person’s overall health. Other causes of testosterone insufficiency include:
- Injury in the testicle area
- Health Conditions (Klinefelter’s Syndrome, sarcoidosis, Kallman’s Syndrome, hemochromatosis, etc.)
- Autoimmune Diseases (such as AIDS)
- Kidney Failure
- Certain Medications (including steroids and chemotherapy drugs)
- and Pituitary Gland issues Stress.
Testosterone Deficiency Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of testosterone deficiency include:
- Sexual Difficulties
- Mood Changes
- Concentration and Memory Problems
The majority of men that suffer from testosterone insufficiency also experience other changes in their body such as:
- Decreased Muscle Mass
- Changes in Cholesterol Levels
- Bone Fragility (osteoporosis)
- Hair Loss
How is testosterone deficiency diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects testosterone insufficiency, he can have some blood tests done to confirm the diagnosis. Since testosterone levels change throughout the day, your doctor may require you to have blood work done more than once.
Once an accurate diagnosis is made, your doctor will talk to you about the different treatment options available. Testosterone replacement therapy is typically the preferred treatment option, as it gives the best results.
Testosterone therapy comes in different forms including:
Intramuscular Injections – This option is one of the fastest, but typically produces the greatest fluctuations in the levels of testosterone. The treatment is administered every 2 to 3 weeks.
Testosterone Patches – The patches are placed on the skin (scrotum, back, abdominal area, and buttocks) and require daily use. Although uncommon, testosterone patches can cause skin irritation.
Testosterone Gels – Special caution needs to be taken when using testosterone gels, as the hormone can be transferred to another person through skin contact. The gel is typically applied once daily on the arms, abdominal area, or shoulders.
Possible Side Effects
Like with all medications, there is always the possibility of adverse effects. That is why it is important to speak with your regular doctor so that together you can determine whether testosterone replacement therapy is right for you. Some of the common side effects reported include:
- Acne Retention of Fluid
- Urinating Difficulties
- Breast Tissue Growth
- Trouble Sleeping
- Reduced Testicular Size
If you are considering testosterone therapy, it is important to have prostate screening performed before commencing treatment. Testosterone therapy is not recommended for men with prostate cancer, as it may worsen the condition. Men who have breast cancer should avoid testosterone treatment as well.
Testosterone replacement therapy is a great treatment choice. The majority of men feel rejuvenated, more energetic, and overall healthier after undergoing treatment. Testosterone deficiency can greatly affect your quality of life, but it is not something you have to live with. Advanced Urology Institute can provide you with the necessary services to normalize your testosterone levels.
Visit our services page for more information.