What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men, though it is also present in low quantities in women. Testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive organs such as testes and prostate, as well as in the development of secondary sexual characteristics of men such as facial hair, deepened voice, bone and muscle mass, etc. Additionally, testosterone also plays a role in other health aspects of both men and women in terms of mood, bone density, red blood cell production, etc.
It is produced primarily in the testes, but also in small quantities by the ovaries.Testosterone levels are highest in young adults and drop gradually with age.
Role of Testosterone in Men and Women
In men, testosterone plays an important role in:
- Sex drive
- Sperm production
- Facial and body hair
- Muscle mass and strength
- Body fat distribution
- Bone health
- Red blood cell production
- Deepening of voice
In women, testosterone affects her:
- Menstrual cycle
- Bone health
- Vaginal health
- Breast health
What are the normal levels of testosterone?
The normal level of testosterone varies depending on age. For young men around the age of puberty, it is typically in the range of 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter(ng/dL) of blood. As men age, testosterone levels gradually drop and by the time a man reaches 60 years old, the average level is about 200 ng/dL.
In women, normal testosterone levels range from 15 to 70 ng/dL.
Symptoms & Causes of Low Testosterone Levels
Low levels of testosterone cause the following symptoms in men:
- Reduced sex drive
- Low sperm count
- Less body hair
- Moodiness, depression
- Less stamina
- Weight gain
Though, testosterone levels naturally taper off after the age of 30, there can be other reasons for low testosterone levels:
- Injury to the testicles
- Side effect of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Chronic diseases like AIDS, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis, alcoholism, etc.
Likewise, testosterone levels also go down in adult women. Symptoms seen in women due to low T levels are:
- Low libido
- Fertility issues
- Irregular menstruation
- Lack of concentration
Women who have undergone oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) experience low testosterone levels. It can also be caused due to diseases of pituitary, adrenal, or hypothalamus glands.
Symptoms & Causes of High Testosterone Levels
High testosterone levels can cause a number of problems. In men, it can cause:
- Aggressive behaviour
- Excessive body hair
- Increased libido
- High blood pressure
- Heart or liver problems
- Prostate enlargement, resulting in obstruction of urine
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Swelling of the legs and feet
Tumors of the adrenal gland or testicles can result in abnormally high testosterone levels in men. It is therefore important to consult your doctor, if you notice the above symptoms. Some athletes and bodybuilders take anabolic steroids to improve their performance. This also results in high testosterone levels in them.
Symptoms of high testosterone levels in women are:
- Increased facial and body hair
- Male pattern baldness
- Deepening of the voice
- Darkening and thickening of the skin
- Enlarged clitoris
- Increased muscle mass
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Decreased breast size
Use of anabolic steroids, tumors of adrenal glands or ovaries can result in high testosterone levels in females. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of hight testosterone levels in women.
Testing Testosterone Levels
Testosterone levels can be checked through a simple blood test. If you are experiencing any symptoms of testosterone imbalance, your physician will do a physical exam, and will order a blood test to check for the testosterone levels in your body.
There is a wide range of testosterone levels that are considered normal. Thus, do not self-interpret the results. Your physician is the best person to decide if your testosterone levels actually require any treatment intervention or not.
Treatment of Low Testosterone Levels
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is one treatment option for low T levels. It can be given orally, through injections, or skin patches. TRT can relieve some of the symptoms and increase the sex drive, sperm count, mood, bone health, and RBC production, but it can cause several side effects, thus the doctor will weigh the risk and benefit ratio and decide whether TRT will be appropriate for you.
Efficacy of testosterone replacement therapy is not yet established in women, and they are generally not given TRT.
Side-effects of testosterone replacement therapy:
- Increased red blood cell count
- Enlargement of breasts and prostate gland
- Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
Ayurveda: Because of the side-effect profile of TRT, an increasing number of doctors and patients are opting for treatment using alternative medicine such as Ayurveda, as it promises to be an effective and safer option. Ayurvedic procedures and herbs have been clinically proven to increase the testosterone levels in a safe and natural way.
Treatment of High Testosterone Levels
- Treatment of any detected tumors or cancer
- Stopping steroid or testosterone supplements
- Lifestyle and dietary changes
You can get the best treatment for your testosterone imbalance issues at Dr. Monga Medi Clinic. Several herbs in Ayurveda have shown efficacy in treatment of high testosterone levels. They have onboard expert endocrinologists who will assess your symptoms and your testosterone levels and recommend the best treatment approach for you, combining both the Modern Medicine as well as Ayurveda. They have a legacy of over 75 years. You canavail theironline consultations and regular follow-ups through Telemedicine mode also.