Testosterone is the most important sex hormone (otherwise known as androgens) produced in the male body. It is the hormone that is primarily responsible for producing the typical adult male attributes.
Testosterone and Its Function
At puberty, testosterone stimulates the physical changes that characterise the adult male, such as enlargement of the penis and testes, growth of facial and pubic hair, deepening of the voice, an increase in muscle mass and strength, and growth in height. Throughout adult life, testosterone helps maintain sex drive, the production of sperm cells, male hair patterns, muscle mass and bone mass.
In women, testosterone also plays an important role. Testosterone for one is the precursor to estrogen, so without Testosterone there would be no “woman”. Testosterone also plays a huge part in a woman’s energy, libido and mood.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Signs of low testosterone in men may include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), lowered sperm count or increased breast size. Men also may have symptoms similar to those seen during menopause in women – hot flashes, increased irritability, inability to concentrate and depression. Some men may have a prolonged and severe decrease in testosterone production. As a result, they may experience loss of body hair and reduced muscle mass, their bones may be more brittle and prone to fracture, and their testes may become smaller and softer. In younger men, low testosterone production may reduce the development of body and facial hair, muscle mass and genitals. In addition, their voices also may fail to deepen. Women may experience a decrease in sex drive, lack of energy, decreased “enjoyment of life”, and even depression.
Diagnosing Low Testosterone
Physical and/or emotional symptoms may suggest a medical problem. Therefore a detailed history and physical examination, coupled with thorough laboratory analysis is necessary to help your doctor determine what may be wrong with you, and what treatments may be best suited for your condition.
Recommending Testosterone Therapy
Dr. Hamlet prescribes testosterone for patients diagnosed as having testosterone deficiency. He may also recommend testosterone therapy to patients who are not diagnosed with testosterone deficiency, if they exhibit signs and symptoms that may be improved by testosterone therapy and other conventional means of therapy have been attempted without success.
Testosterone is administered via a intramuscular injection once a week for men and once a month for women. This is carried out in clinic by a doctor or nurse. Follow up blood tests are carried out once every six months once the initial phase is complete, or as and when necessary dependent upon response to treatment.