What is Testosterone?
Answers about the various types of hormone replacement therapy can seem confusing at times. This report will focus on providing clarification about one type of treatment in particular, and answering the question of what is testosterone and how does this therapy benefit an individual.
Here is the testosterone definition:
A hormone (chemical messenger) that belongs to the class called androgens, and is the primary sex hormone in males. It is primarily produced by the Leydig cells in the testes of men, although women also produce it in their ovaries. A small amount is also produced in the adrenal glands. The primary role of testosterone is to influence sexual development, desire, and to aid in the production of sperm.
There are many other functions of testosterone that make it crucial to ensure that the body has enough of this vital hormone circulating in the bloodstream to carry out all of its responsibilities. This is not always the case, especially since the level of testosterone production begins to decrease in males at some point in their early thirties. This decline can continue at a rate of approximately 1 – 2% each year. Women most often notice a decrease during the menopausal years.
Testosterone levels are checked with blood analysis, and can be completed at most local laboratories around the country.
How Does Testosterone Work?
As with most hormones, testosterone works by entering the bloodstream to deliver its message (signals) to various parts of the body. It affects nearly every cell in a man’s body. There is also a natural conversion process that occurs where some of the excess testosterone that is circulating in the bloodstream is converted into a usable form of estrogen. This is accomplished by an enzyme called aromatase.
A man who has too much testosterone in his body may find that this conversion leads to excess estrogen. This, in turn, can lead to enlarged breast development, infertility, chronic disease, and diabetes. As a man gets older, his body begins to decrease the production of testosterone, and, unfortunately, at the same time his production of estrogen tends to rise. Obesity rates are higher in men with Low T, and since estrogen can be made in fat cells, this can create further problems.
Although most commonly referred to as the male sex hormone, the many roles of testosterone make it one of the most essential chemical messengers in the body.
Here are some of the many functions that testosterone plays a role in:
- The process of making new red blood cells
- Increasing lean muscle mass
- Improving bone density
- Enhancing libido – men and women
- Assists in sperm production
- Aids in metabolic control for fat regulation and distribution
- Promotes proper brain function
In part, testosterone function also plays a role in mood regulation. People diagnosed with Low T often express feelings of depression, inability to enjoy activities, and a poor outlook in regards to how the future will play out.
Women often find that symptoms associated with menopause are worse when Low T is diagnosed. Energy begins to wane, and stamina in all areas of life declines. Drive, motivation, and productivity also see adverse issues become present.
Secretion of Testosterone
Testosterone production is initiated by both the hypothalamus in the brain, as well as the pituitary gland that sits at the base of the brain.
The process is as follows:
- The hypothalamus secretes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRH) which then goes to the pituitary gland
- The pituitary gland responds by secreting luteinizing hormone (LH) which sends the signal to the testes to produce testosterone
- As the level of testosterone in the bloodstream increases, a signal is sent to the hypothalamus to decrease the production of GRH, lowering the secretion of LH which in turn decreases the signal sent to the testes
- In response to the decline in testosterone, the entire process can begin again
Why is Testosterone Important for Men?
If you are a man over thirty, it is important to be aware of possible symptoms associated with Low T to get help as soon as possible from a hormone replacement therapy specialist. Testosterone deficiency can have a severely negative impact on one’s health and well-being.
A decrease in red blood cell production can affect the heart. Weight gain can lead to obesity and diabetes which can also add to the increased risk of heart disease. Low bone density can turn into osteoporosis, putting a man at a greater risk of bone fractures in later years.
Dementia is another risk when the brain does not receive enough of a signal to perform its crucial functions.
All of these factors can then add up to an increased risk of losing one’s independence down the road.
Now, add all of this to the decrease in pleasure from intimate relations when testosterone decline affects erectile performance and it is easy to understand how becoming depressed goes into this equation. Since sex has been shown to release positive endorphins, a lack thereof is also denying the body some of its fundamental needs.
The doctors and medical staff at National HRT® are available for free consultations to discuss the prospect of testosterone therapy in both men and women.