There are many different hormones found in the human body, and one of the most important of them all is testosterone.
Testosterone roles and functions in men and women
In men, testosterone is produced in large amounts in the testicles, and it plays a key role in a variety of bodily functions and processes, including:
Help regulate a man’s libido or sex drive
If there is not enough testosterone in the body, reduced sexual desire may occur.
Produce lots of good quality sperm
If the body’s testosterone levels are low, there is an increased risk of reduced sperm count, and poor sperm structure and motility.
Build muscle strength and mass
If there is not enough testosterone in the body, the risk of muscle loss and other muscular-related complications may increase.
Build bone strength and density
If testosterone levels drop to lower than normal levels, there is an increased risk of osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
Produce new red blood cells
If testosterone supply is insufficient, there is an increased risk of low red blood cell count and other health problems.
Properly distribution body fat
If there is a shortage of testosterone, the risk of obesity and other diseases increases.
Support proper growth and development of the male genitalia
Testosterone is essential in the proper development of the penis, testicles, and the other male reproductive parts from the fetal stage to puberty and adulthood. If there is a low testosterone problem, these organs may be underdeveloped and not have the ability to carry out their functions properly.
Facilitate the growth of body hair
To grow facial hair, pubic hair, underarm hair, and other body hair, the body needs the services of testosterone. If there is a testosterone shortage, body hair growth may not happen, especially during the puberty stage.
Increase in height
Testosterone is key to a man’s growth, especially once he hits puberty. If there are testosterone issues, he may not grow as tall and be shorter than the other boys his age.
In women, testosterone is produced in much smaller amounts in the ovaries and adrenal gland, and it is key to a variety of vital bodily functions and processes, such as:
Support the proper growth and development of the female reproductive system
Testosterone plays a major role in the growth and development of female reproductive tissue. If there is not enough testosterone around, there is an increased risk of underdeveloped reproductive parts.
Help regulate libido
Just like in men, testosterone also facilitates libido or sex drive in women. If there is a low testosterone issue, interest in sex may decline.
Build muscle mass
Testosterone helps in the building and maintenance of muscle mass and strength. If the body’s testosterone levels are low, muscle loss and other complications may likely occur.
Produce new red blood cells
Testosterone is needed to produce new red blood cells in the body. If testosterone levels drop too low, the likelihood of developing a low red blood cell count and other problems increases.
Normal testosterone levels in men and women
Testosterone levels vary throughout a man’s or a woman’s lifetime. Usually measured in nanograms per deciliter or ng/dL, below are the normal testosterone levels per age group:
From birth to about 9 years, boys have testosterone levels that are around 20 nanograms per deciliter or below.
Once boys enter the puberty stage, their testosterone levels can range from around 130 nanograms per deciliter to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter.
As they reach their late teens and through their 20s, their testosterone levels usually hover around 300 nanograms per deciliter to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter.
And, after age 30, their testosterone levels begin to gradually decrease by about 1% each year.
From birth to about 9 years, girls have similar testosterone levels as boys, which usually peak at around 20 nanograms per deciliter.
Once girls hit puberty, their testosterone levels get to only about 40 nanograms per deciliter, significantly less than boys their age.
As they enter their mid to late teens and through their 20s, their testosterone levels can get as high as 75 nanograms per deciliter.
And, throughout adulthood, their average testosterone levels typically range between 15 nanograms per deciliter and 70 nanograms per deciliter.
Testosterone therapy effects in men and women
If your testosterone levels are low, you should go see a doctor as soon as possible. You may need to get testosterone therapy to increase your testosterone levels and avoid more serious health problems. Below are examples of the most commonly used testosterone therapy methods prescribed by doctors to low testosterone patients:
This method of testosterone therapy is administered by injecting directly into your skin so that testosterone can get into your bloodstream.
Testosterone gels and skin patches
These are applied directly onto your skin, usually on the back, arm, neck, and shoulders, so that testosterone can be absorbed into your body.
These can boost your testosterone levels by implanting the pellets in your soft tissues.
Before taking testosterone therapy, you should talk to a doctor first. There are a number of negative side effects that can occur if you decide to self-medicate. The following are examples of risks that you may encounter if you ignore or neglect doctor’s prescription:
Low sperm count
Various studies have found that having too much testosterone in the body can impair sperm production, causing low sperm count and even infertility.
A decrease in testicle size
If you do not follow the recommended testosterone therapy dosage, you may end up raising your testosterone levels to much higher levels than normal, leading to shrunken testicles.
Increased risk of heart disease
Having too much testosterone in the body has been linked to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart problems.
Testosterone therapy may trigger increased oil production in your skin, leading to more pimples, acne, and other skin issues.