Testosterone is primarily a male hormone, which is produced in the testes and controlled by the pituitary gland. It is responsible for male sex characteristics like growth of body and facial hair, deepening of voice, muscular development, bone growth, semen volume, sperm production and maturation of genitalia.
Women also produce the hormone, though in small amounts. The level of this hormone may fluctuate in males depending on their lifestyle, weight and age. The highest amount of testosterone is produced between 40-50 years of age, post which the levels decline gradually.
Normal testosterone levels
Testosterone levels in males usually fluctuate according to the health status, time of the day and age. For an average adult male, the normal testosterone level ranges between 270-1070 nano-grams per deciliter. Low levels of testosterone can result in several symptoms including infertility, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, impotence and several others.
Men with low levels of testosterone may also experience mental and physical changes, reduction of bulk, mood swings, depression, and lack of energy, chronic fatigue, decreased self-confidence and motivation, increase in fat and decreased bone density.
On experiencing symptoms of low testosterone level, it is advisable to visit a doctor in order to evaluate its causes. Many times, low testosterone levels are caused due to malfunctioning of the pituitary gland. Few other causes of hypogonadism include autoimmune and genetic disorders, liver and kidney disease, infection, obesity and HIV/AIDS. It is hence important to get to the root cause of the problem. Taking drugs without proper diagnosis may cause severe side effects.
There are several types of testosterone drugs available nowadays which can be used by men with low testosterone. They are available in the form of pellets, gels, creams and injectable under different brand names. These drugs can cause certain side effects. The adverse effects depend on the health of the user, age, the strength of the dose take, method of taking the drug and they type of drug used. Common side effects include:
- Skin problems like irritation, rashes, acne and dry or oily skin.
- Swelling in ankles.
- Reduction of testicles size and sperm production.
- Decrease in sexual ability and libido.
These supplements do not contain actual hormones, but are made from natural ingredients which improve the functioning of pituitary gland and hence boost the testosterone levels. When coupled with regular exercise and a nutritional diet, dietary supplements can boost testosterone levels.
Testosterone drugs are available only on prescription. While opting for them, it is important to consult a doctor.