Testosterone in men is a male sex hormone produced in the testicles. Sufficient levels of testosterone are necessary for men to enjoy normal sexual development and function. Testosterone also affects the appearance of men and is needed for building muscles and bone mass.
Testosterone production in men often decreases as they begin to grow older. The American Urological Association reports that 20 percent of men over the age of 60 suffer from low levels of testosterone. The percentage of men with low testosterone increases to 70 percent for men who reach the age of 70.
It is important to note, however, that many conditions exist that set the stage for lower than normal testosterone production in younger men. Insufficient testosterone levels can cause several complications for men.
1. Low Sex Drive
The presence of testosterone exerts a strong influence on the male libido. Diminishing testosterone is one reason some men desire sex less often as they begin to age. For men suffering from a condition that causes low testosterone, a drastic drop in libido may occur.
2. Erectile Dysfunction
Testosterone is not only the hormone that stimulates the sex drive in men. Testosterone is also needed for men to achieve and maintain an erection sufficient to facilitate sexual activity. Testosterone provides stimulation to the parts of the brain that are responsible for nitric oxide production. This molecule initiates a series of chemical reactions that make erections possible.
3. Loss of Hair
The production of hair is another bodily function fueled by testosterone. Some men experience balding as they age due to heredity. But men scoring on the low end of the average testosterone levels chart may notice less hair on their face and body at earlier ages.
4. Decreased Semen Production
Semen is the milky fluid that nature uses to transport the sperm cells that are necessary to fertilize eggs produced by the female. Men who do not possess adequate amounts of testosterone in their will notice a decrease in the amount of semen present during sex.
Lower levels of energy and sometimes fatigue sets in when men do not produce sufficient amounts of testosterone. Men who are unable to find the motivation for exercise or feel tired regardless of the amount of sleep they receive may need to have their testosterone levels tested.
6. Less Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays an integral role in the development of lean muscle mass in men. A noticeable decline in muscle mass throughout the body is often a sign of diminishing testosterone levels.
There is also a synergistic effect between strength training and testosterone in men. Lifting weights and other muscle-building exercises stimulate the production of more testosterone. For sufferers of low T, this complete process may become disrupted.
7. Mood Swings
Sudden and drastic changes in mood are commonplace for some men suffering from low testosterone. Mood and mental capacity are directly affected by the presence of testosterone in the body. Low testosterone levels are associated with:
• High Stress Levels
8. Loss of Memory
The fact that memory and testosterone decline with age has led researchers to search for a connection between memory and the levels of testosterone present in the body. One study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that testosterone supplementation may help increase memory capacity for men affected by low testosterone levels.
The Bottom Line
Testosterone production in men is important for sexual development, the ability to reproduce, and several other essential bodily functions. Men suffering from low levels of testosterone can suffer mental, physical, and emotional consequences due to this deficiency.