As your testosterone levels decline as you age, side effects like decreased libido and fatigue are common. Here’s what you can do.
As we go through different stages of life, changes in the body are something that we can all expect. In numerous ways, our bodies are operational machines whose performance fluctuates depending on both internal and external factors. Your exposure to environmental factors, age, and illness can all determine how efficient your body is and at what rate the essential processes are taking place.
It is not uncommon in my practice to see men aged 30 and above experience decreasing levels of testosterone. Most men start losing some of their testosterone when they hit their 30s or 40s. Did you know that testosterone is a vital male hormone responsible for a number of male body functions? If you are low on testosterone, chances are that you suffer from decreased libido, low sex drive, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, and lower energy levels!
Sounds scary doesn’t it? What’s scarier is many men resort to anabolic steroids to boost their testosterone levels without being aware of the health repercussions. In this article, I will explore a safer alternative to help you overcome this natural process of life.
What exactly is testosterone?
Testosterone is simply a male steroid hormone produced by the human body that performs a lot of functions for men, apart from promoting a healthy sex drive. This important hormone affects many other factors in your body, ranging from muscle mass, body fat to red blood cell count, mood, and bone density. Generally, normal testosterone levels range between 300 and 1,000 ng/dl. If your doctor has diagnosed that your testosterone levels are far below the normal range, he or she may recommend testosterone injections. For those unaware, testosterone injections are a form of treatment known as testosterone replacement therapy.
Is testosterone replacement therapy right for you?
Many male patients come to me wanting a boost of testosterone for a myriad of reasons, but this form of therapy is not necessarily suitable for everyone. Knowing whether testosterone therapy (or TRT therapy) is suitable for you requires a thorough consultation with your doctor. It is important to examine or evaluate your latest levels of testosterone and to undergo a medical evaluation test before moving onto your next step.
I would normally discuss with my patients the possible side effects and take a closer look at their medical history before determining if they should consider testosterone replacement therapy. For example, are they at risk of prostate cancer or a heart attack? These are some key things to take into consideration.
What are the benefits of testosterone therapy to boost testosterone in your body?
Many people are turning to testosterone therapy to help reverse the effects associated with low testosterone, such as lower sex drive, declining muscle mass and even depression. As such, many turn to testosterone therapy to regain their sense of health and overall wellbeing.
Benefits of higher testosterone
You should be aware of the fact that testosterone levels generally increase in response to sexual arousal and activity. This means that if you are high on testosterone levels, you’ll experience greater sexual arousal as well as activity. Research shows that testosterone therapy can significantly benefit your sexual performance and overall health. Once testosterone enters your bloodstream, it is thought to induce libido more quickly and for longer periods at a time.
Increased lean body mass
Testosterone is naturally responsible for increased body muscle mass. When your body is at peak testosterone levels, its ability to form muscle tissue as well as lean muscle mass is made much easier. For men suffering from low testosterone, studies have revealed that treatment can help decrease fat mass and enhance muscle size and body strength. It is however important to mention that you should also continue with regular exercise and strength training, since muscles do not magically appear on their own.
As earlier explained, lower levels of testosterone are linked to poorer quality of life. Some of the common symptoms of low testosterone levels usually include irritability, fatigue, and depression. Research shows that testosterone therapy can help boost your mood.
Better recovery time
Testosterone is naturally a recovery chemical in the human body, particularly during soft tissue training workouts. With this in mind, you can expect testosterone treatment to influence and enhance your recovery time after soft tissue injuries or heavy exercises.
Enhanced cellular activity
Testosterone is the natural chemical hormone that your body releases as a male human being, and has a host of effects on your body’s cellular activity. From boosting bone density to enhancing the growth of hair, this essential hormone has a tremendous impact on your body’s ability to work optimally. With that, if you are a bit older, you can expect testosterone therapy to produce the same effects as if you were in your twenties!
But what about anabolic steroids?
Have you ever wondered how those big and weightlifters got so bulky? While a few of them might have gotten their impressive muscles through a strict regimen of diet and heavy weight lifting, others may have built their body muscles with the additional help of anabolic steroids!
Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that are strikingly similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. In other words, they are human-made variations of the natural male sex hormone testosterone. In recent years, the number of people who use anabolic steroids has been on the rise. Research shows that a large number of those who use anabolic steroids are male weightlifters in their 20s and 30s.
Anabolic steroids are normally injected into the muscles. Unfortunately, these doses may be ten to a hundred times higher than doses prescribed to treat certain medical conditions. If you’re considering using anabolic steroids for whatever reason, I highly advise that you speak to your doctor as the use of steroids can potentially be life threatening.
What are the side effects of using anabolic steroids?
Steroids can cause several potential side effects to the user, including:
- Tumors and liver damage.
- Increased risk of blood clots.
- Kidney problems.
- High blood pressure, changes in blood cholesterol, all of which can potentially enhance your risk of heart attack, stroke, even in younger people!
- Decreased sperm count, baldness, increased risk of prostate cancer, and the development of breasts among male users.
- In women, steroids can cause decreased breast size, growth of facial body hair, enlarged clitoris, deepened voice, male-pattern baldness, and changes in the menstrual cycle.
- It can also lead to stunted growth among teen abusers.
Testosterone replacement therapy can be highly beneficial, but only if you are suffering from low testosterone. This treatment is primarily helpful for individuals suffering from low testosterone levels. Otherwise, you should always discuss with your doctor to determine whether you are a good fit for testosterone treatment or not, before use.
- Tsametis, C. P., & Isidori, A. M. (2018). Testosterone replacement therapy: For whom, when and how?. Metabolism: clinical and experimental, 86, 69–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.metabol.2018.03.007
- Rastrelli, G., Guaraldi, F., Reismann, Y., Sforza, A., Isidori, A. M., Maggi, M., & Corona, G. (2019). Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Sexual Symptoms. Sexual medicine reviews, 7(3), 464–475. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2018.11.005
This article was written and medically reviewed by Dr Ben, M.D on 20/05/2021