DECODING HORMONES: TESTOSTERONE &MALE SEXUALITY

MALE-SEXUALITY

DECODING HORMONES: TESTOSTERONE &MALE SEXUALITY

Dr.SugataPyne, Medical Superintendent, Modi Luxury Wellness Centre

Introduction

“You werecreated to be strong, dauntless and valiant. You were uniquely designed to subdue wilderness and carve canals across mountains, to defeat nations and create empires, to cross turbulent seas and set your feet on the moon….”

Testosterone is a chemical (hormone) which is secreted primarily from testes of male reproductive organ. Not only does it play an important role in development of male reproductive organs-prostate and testes but also for development of secondary sexual characteristics such as increase in muscle development and bone mass and growth of body hair. 

We are not going to beat around the bush with this one: testosterone is what makes you a man. It is what makes you attractive to women, powers your sex drive and helps you recover from workouts. It’s a part of your genetics and a driving force in your health, energy and lifespan. It’s a scientific fact that in past 20 years, a man’s average testosterone level has dropped 15-20 % and for that very reason, men have become fatter, less sexual and less satisfied.

Why would you need testosterone therapy?

Testosterone levels decline as we age, beginning around 35 years of age. By the time a man is 70 years of age, there is a 50% chance that his hormone levels will be lower than the lowest values seen for men in his 20s. Testosterone therapy can be extremely helpful for problems like erections, reduced sex drive and imparting the feeling of being “recharged”. Also there is growing evidence that low testosterone is associated with increased risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, weak bones etc.

How would you know if you are testosterone deficient?

  1. Hallmark symptom of low testosterone is low libido or loss of interest in sex.
  2. Low energy/fatigue
  3. Erectile dysfunction- it is like power failure for penis.
  4. Difficulty in achieving orgasm- the amount of stimulation needed to achieve orgasm may be greater than usual and create difficulties.
  5. Reduced intensity of orgasm- orgasm stops feeling amazing.
  6. Reduced amount of ejaculatory fluid as testicles,seminal vesicles and prostate (parts of male reproductive system) are all under control of testosterone.
  7. Decreased muscle mass- it is not about being superman or Schwarzenegger; it is about being fit and staying in shape.
  8. Loss of motivation and feeling less upbeat, feeling down, irritability.
  9. Morning erections are an excellent marker of normal testosterone levels.

In this respect, it must be said that two common factors that may cause symptoms like low testosterone are depression and medications. Anti-depressants may have an unfortunate side effect of low sex drive and erectile difficulty. The doctor would be the best person to assess whether you have testosterone deficiency or not.

How to get yourself tested for Testosterone?

Testosterone in your body can be tested through your blood. There are different forms of testosterone like Total Testosterone, Free Testosterone, Bioavailable Testosterone etc. present in your blood and the doctor can assess which one of them need to be checked.

What are the benefits and how effective is the therapy?

Testosterone therapy has numerous benefits:

  1. Improving male sex organs- The primary effect of testosterone is on the male reproductive system. It increases the libido or desire for sex. Erection pills can help you stay hard but does not change your interest.  Studies in humans and other animals have demonstrated that testosterone has receptors in the brain and it affects how we think and act and behave sexually. It also corrects erectile dysfunction.
  2. Healthier heart- testosterone has a direct beneficial role for heart. In multiple studies it has been seen that men with coronary artery disease(CAD) appear to have lower testosterone levels than men without CAD. Apart from this they also have beneficial effects in people in whom heart disease is already developed.
  3. Fat loss and anti-diabetic- Testosterone acts on fat cells and tend to reduce body fat. Men with waist circumference of more than 40 inches have been shown to have lower testosterone levels than men with smaller waist circumferences. Testosterone also might have a beneficial role in diabetes. In studies it has been found that overall men with diabetes have lower Testosterone levels than non-diabetic men.
  4. Growth of muscles-Testosterone leads to more muscle bulk and strength. It can create more muscle cells. The effect of testosterone on muscles explains partly why the average man is stronger, runs faster and has greater muscle definition than women. Athletes and body builders take anabolic steroids (artificial testosterone) to increase strength and size of muscles.
  5. Bone density- Not only does testosterone increase bone density at hip and spine as per studies, but also its reduced level increases chances of osteoporosis and fractures in men.

How is testosterone therapy given?

Testosterone treatment are available in several forms- oral pellets/pills, gels, injection, testosterone patch etc. All the forms has their own pros and cons in terms of cost, absorption rate, pain etc. After assessing your medical condition in totality, the physician would decide which form of treatment will be best for you.

Are there any risks and side effects of testosterone therapy?

Every known medical treatment has some risk or potential for side effects. Testosterone therapy is more of testosterone supplementation rather than therapy because it is simply adding back to the body a substance that is already present, but in reduced amount. The therapy must be under proper prescription and guidance of physician.

How to increase testosterone level in your body naturally?

Does Testosterone help you live longer?

Testosterone has an interesting relationship to longevity- multiple studies published over last several years have shown than men with high testosterone levels appear to live longer. However these survival benefits are rather intriguing and there are no hard conclusions regarding effect of testosterone therapy on longevity.

Is Testosterone Therapy 100% effective?

Testosterone therapy might not have a 100% response rate. The reason being sexuality is a result of biological and psychological processes that involve much more than just testosterone concentrations. Apart from the therapy, other interventions may be required as per the treating physician.

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