Most men know that testosterone plays a big role in their sexual health. They also know testosterone is responsible for many of the changes that happen during puberty. And for a lot of men, that’s about as far as their knowledge goes when it comes to this important hormone.
Actually, there’s a lot more to know about testosterone. And for every man, understanding how this hormone works and how its levels change over the years is essential for optimal wellness.
At Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine, Hasan Badday, MD, and his team offer patient-centered testosterone therapy aimed at helping men in Irvine and Los Angeles, California, maintain healthy levels of this essential hormone. Here’s what Dr. Badday wants you to know about testosterone and your health.
The basics of testosterone
As the primary male sex hormone, testosterone plays an essential role in libido, sperm production, erectile function, and the development of adult male sex characteristics.
During puberty, it’s testosterone that deepens your voice, spurs hair growth in your pubic area and on your face, and contributes to the growth of your penis and testicles, as well as your overall growth.
Testosterone levels typically achieve their highest levels when you’re in your late teens. Then, they begin a long, slow decline for the remainder of your life. On average, a man’s testosterone level declines about 1% per year during adulthood. If your testosterone level declines too much (a condition sometimes referred to as low T), you can wind up with a variety of symptoms.
Women also have testosterone, although at much lower levels. Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause higher levels of testosterone, and the sharp decline in estrogen during menopause can also result in a relative increase in a woman’s testosterone levels.
7 facts about testosterone
Knowing how testosterone affects your health can help you spot the subtler symptoms of low T, so you can have your testosterone levels measured and learn ways to “rebalance” the hormone. These seven facts can help.
1. It’s not just about sex drive
Sure, for men testosterone has an obvious role in all things sex. But this hormone is more than just a one-trick pony. Testosterone plays a role in building muscle, strengthening your bones, regulating your energy, helping you burn fat, and regulating your mood.
If your testosterone levels are low, you may have symptoms like fatigue, loss of muscle strength, or even a bigger waistline.
2. Your sleep plays a role
Testosterone production happens mostly while you sleep, so if you’re not catching enough Zs, your testosterone levels could start to decline pretty rapidly. At the same time, low testosterone may contribute to insomnia, creating a cycle that can be hard to break on your own.
3. Your brain is involved
Most testosterone is produced in your testes (by the Leydig cells, specifically), with a small amount produced by your adrenal glands. But they have plenty of help — from your brain.
Both the pituitary gland located in the center of your brain and a part of your brain called the hypothalamus play important roles in stimulating testosterone production, and in regulating it. If you have a problem with either of these structures, your testosterone levels could be lower or higher than normal.
4. Your testosterone levels are always changing
Yes, your testosterone levels change throughout your life, but did you know they fluctuate during the day too? It’s true — testosterone levels rise during the night until they peak at around 8am for most men.
Then, they decline throughout the rest of the day until about 8pm. That’s also why testosterone measurements are usually performed in the morning, when your daily level is most likely to be highest.
5. Your testosterone level can affect your mental health
Because testosterone plays a role in regulating your mood, if your levels are low, you’re more likely to feel depressed or irritable. Low T can also make it harder to concentrate, and it can increase memory problems too.
6. There are natural ways to boost testosterone
Testosterone production depends on good health. If your levels are low, you might be able to improve testosterone production with a few healthy lifestyle changes, like:
- Quitting smoking
- Improving your sleep habits
- Avoiding processed foods
- Eating a healthy diet
- Losing excess pounds
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting regular exercise
Depending on how low your testosterone is, Dr. Badday may suggest lifestyle changes before recommending medication.
7. Testosterone therapy may help
Natural treatment is great, but it doesn’t always work. If you have low levels of testosterone despite lifestyle changes, hormone replacement therapy could be a good choice to help you feel more like your old (or young) self again.
Low testosterone can have a significant impact on your health and wellness. If you think you might be suffering from low T, book an appointment online or over the phone today at the Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine location closest to you.