The world of medicine is a fascinating one when we consider how complex the human body can be. Our bodies consist of a collection of organs – let’s think of them as parts in a machine – and we are governed by a nervous system which is akin to the central processer of a computer.
Sometimes, things go wrong. The malfunctions can be major or minor and can usually be fixed or managed by medical procedures. Some of these malfunctions are age-related, others are brought about by way of infections such as viruses and bacteria, and accidents, and other physical influences.
In the following, we are talking about something that many men experience and require: testosterone replacement therapy. Let’s look at what it’s all about, and why men may need it. First, we want to explain want testosterone is.
What is Testosterone?
For some detailed information about testosterone replacement therapy that link should help. So, testosterone – you’ve heard of it, but what exactly is it? Testosterone is one of many substances in the body known as hormones. In fact, testosterone is often referred to as ‘the male hormone.’ It is produced by the testes as the name suggests. Hormones sometimes perform a specific duty, while others have more than a single influence on the body. Testosterone is one that has many jobs to do, so let’s have a look at them.
What Does Testosterone Do?
Hormones are best thought of as chemical messengers. They travel through the bloodstream taking instructions to and from the brain, organs, and nervous system. When we mention testosterone it’s natural you immediately think of sexual performance and big muscles. Indeed, this hormone does strongly influence muscle development and sexual prowess. But that’s not all.
Testosterone also influences our cognitive ability. It has a strong effect on bone density. It also influences our ‘fight or flight’ nervous response. It is performing these duties constantly, as are all other systems in the body. Now we need to look at why men need testosterone therapy in the form of hormone replacement therapy or HRT.
Why Do Men Need Testosterone Therapy?
As we said earlier testosterone is produced by the testes. However, over time – as a man ages – his internal systems start to change. In many men, one of these changes is a reduction in the production of testosterone. It is worth knowing at this point that while this condition is more often than not seen in men over the age of 50, that is not always the case. Men in their 30’s can also experience this.
There’s a name for it – andropause or ‘male menopause’ – as it aligns with menopause which is experienced by just about all women when their reproductive organs stop operating. In this instance, the woman experiences a loss of the female hormone – estrogen – with similar results.
Not all men undergo andropause but those that do find it an unpleasant and troublesome experience. Next, we want to talk about the symptoms of andropause, and why it causes problems for many sufferers.
What are the Symptoms of Andropause?
The symptoms of male menopause are many, and while some may be present others may not. Usually, the man will first notice he has reduced sexual performance or perhaps experiences erectile dysfunction. But not all of the symptoms are related to sex. Here’s a list of the most commonly reported symptoms of andropause:
- Low energy levels
- Depression or feeling very low
- Lack of motivation
- Poor self-confidence
- Difficulty concentrating on anything
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Putting on weight
- Reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
- gynecomastia, or development of breasts
- Decreased bone density
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
That should not be taken as a comprehensive list, but it does cover most of the symptoms. There is a further consideration here in that many of the above can also be a symptom of other more dangerous conditions. Many of them can also be brought on by lifestyle choices – smoking, heavy drinking, recreational drug use, and lack of exercise. It is essential that any man experiencing the above seeks medical diagnosis quickly, and more so if he is a young, healthy, and fit individual and leads a lifestyle to suit.
Let’s look now at what testosterone therapy constitutes, and the difference it will make.
What Difference Will Testosterone Therapy Make?
Testosterone therapy involves the boosting of testosterone levels in the body by way of orally taken pills, creams, and patches that contain either synthetic or – increasingly more common – bioidentical hormones that are produced in the laboratory to match those of the patient.
Once the replacement hormones begin to take effect – and it can take several procedures before this happens – the patient will start to feel the effects in many ways. These include:
- Improved sexual performance
- Recovering an erection
- Better concentration
- More energy
- A feeling of self-worth returns
- Lifting of depression and anxiety
- More ability to tackle jobs
- Enthusiasm returns
- Sex drive is improved.
Overall, the patient will find his general health, mood, and demeanour improve quite dramatically, enabling him to resume normal life and overcome any problems that may arise. While it is not guaranteed that HRT will work in all cases it is usually the case that improvements are experienced across the board after a few treatments. Bear in mind that you will need to continue with the therapy to feel your best for the future.
It is a welcome assurance for men of all ages that there is such a thing as testosterone replacement therapy, and that it is usually successful in overcoming the symptoms. Andropause can be a difficult time for a man and it is strongly recommended that you seek medical diagnosis at the first sign of any of the symptoms mentioned. This will not only allow you to start treatment quickly but will put your mind at rest that the symptoms you are experiencing are not a sign of something more serious.