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Understanding the Importance of Regular Testosterone Checks

Written by

Science&Humans

Medically approved by

Maria Jacob

Last updated

Friday, January 20, 2023

Men may want to think about getting their hormone levels checked this year for a number of reasons. Chemical messengers called hormones are essential for numerous biological processes, such as growth and development, metabolism, mood, and sexual function (1,2). Numerous health problems might result from hormonal imbalances. 

A key hormone in men's health, Testosterone is responsible for the growth and maintenance of muscular mass, bone density, and sexual desire during puberty and adulthood (3-6). This includes the development of secondary sex characteristics in teens, such as changes to the penis, scrotum, testicles, body hair growth, and maturation of the voice. On the other hand, men's T levels may also drop as they become older, which can cause a variety of health problems. Older males should periodically get their hormone and Testosterone levels evaluated for this reason.

Hypogonadism, or low Testosterone levels, has been linked to a higher risk of diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome in several studies (3,7,8). Low Testosterone levels can also result in osteoporosis, reduced libido, a potentially reduced sperm count and infertility, decreased muscle mass and strength, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and poor sleep quality (7, 8). Furthermore, it can have an impact on mood and may also be a precursor to underlying medical issues such as pituitary or testicular abnormalities, and certain cancers. Furthermore, it can impact mood and may also be a precursor to underlying medical issues such as pituitary or testicular abnormalities, and certain cancers.

How common is abnormal Testosterone in men?

Hypogonadism is a very typical disorder among men. Depending on the population under study and the standards used to diagnose low Testosterone, there are differences in the precise prevalence of low Testosterone (9).  According to several research studies, men who have low Testosterone are more likely to be older males. According to a major population-based study, 39% of males between the ages of 45 and 79 had low Testosterone levels (10). Low T may also be the result of health conditions (acute and chronic illness), use of certain medications (e.g. anabolic steroids) as well as certain congenital diseases such as Klinefelter Syndrome. 

Men who have a family history of prostate or testicular cancer can also think about having their hormone levels checked. Some studies have suggested that high levels of Testosterone may be associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (11-12). However, other studies have not found a significant association between Testosterone levels and prostate cancer risk. Additionally, the relationship between Testosterone and prostate cancer is complex, as prostate cancer can itself cause changes in Testosterone levels (11-12). Finally, men who are attempting to conceive might also want to get their hormone levels checked. Hormone imbalances, including abnormal Testosterone levels, might impact fertility (3).

It is crucial to remember that many of these symptoms can also be brought on by conditions that are not hormonal, so it is always preferable to speak with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and course of action. A primary care physician or a specialist may prescribe a blood test for hormone testing, which is typically performed.

Signs you should have your levels tested

Men aged 35 and older are advised to have a Testosterone level test at least every two years, or more regularly if they exhibit low Testosterone symptoms (13). Men who are more likely to have low Testosterone, such as those with a family history of the condition or a history of specific illnesses, may require testing more frequently and earlier. 

The symptoms of andropause, commonly referred to as male menopause, are one reason to think about hormone testing. As men age, their Testosterone levels naturally diminish, causing andropause. Low libido, exhaustion, physical weakness, and depression are some of the symptoms (14). Although the exact reasons for andropause are unknown, it is thought that it results from a combination of aging-related changes in the testes and the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis, which regulates the synthesis of Testosterone. In addition, other elements like weight, long-term sickness, and specific drugs might affect Testosterone levels. Testing can assist in determining whether a person's symptoms are brought on by a hormone imbalance and can help inform therapy choices (15).

Men with low Testosterone symptoms are advised to see a doctor or other practitioner for a diagnosis, which can involve a physical examination, laboratory tests, and a discussion of symptoms. The signs of hypogonadism, a disorder in which the testes do not produce enough Testosterone, are another reason to think about hormone testing. Low libido, erectile dysfunction, and muscle weakness are examples of symptoms. Numerous things, including injuries, infections, and specific medical disorders, might contribute to this. Similar to hirsutism (masculinization in women), gynecomastia, or enlarged male breasts, is another ailment that might necessitate testing. A hormonal imbalance, specifically a rise in estrogen levels relative to Testosterone levels, may be the root of this swelling of the breast tissue (3)

 

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Loss of sex drive

Testosterone is important for men's libido (sex drive) and sexual performance (7,8). Low Testosterone levels, commonly known as hypoactive sexual desire condition (HSDD) can cause a decline in sex drive, including difficulty maintaining an erection. It's crucial to remember that other factors, such as stress, sadness, certain drugs, and certain medical problems, can also contribute to decreased sex desire. Therefore, it's crucial for a man who has a low sex desire to consult with his doctor to ascertain the root of the problem and create a customised treatment plan.

Frequent low mood

Men with low Testosterone levels may be more susceptible to low energy, depression and anxiety, according to studies (16). Low Testosterone levels can also lead to irritation and body exhaustion, which can have an impact on one's mental health. It's crucial to remember, though, that low Testosterone levels are not usually the root of mood problems, and that treating them may call for a multidisciplinary strategy that includes therapy, psychological counseling, and, if necessary, antidepressants.

You're forgetful

Low Testosterone levels have been linked to memory loss and other cognitive problems. According to studies, males with low Testosterone levels may be more susceptible to memory loss and a general deterioration in cognitive performance (17). The development of new connections between brain cells, which are crucial for memory and learning, as well as the growth and maintenance of brain cells are all known to be influenced by Testosterone. Other factors, such as stress, worry, depression, medicine, or other medical disorders, may also contribute to memory loss. Any cognitive symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare professional in order to ascertain their underlying cause.

Regular mood swings

Low Testosterone levels in men can cause irritation, fatigue or exhaustion, and mood changes. Low Testosterone levels have been linked in studies to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, which may be a factor in mood swings (16). It's also crucial to remember that mood shifts or swings can result from a variety of factors, such as stress, worry, depression, medicine, or other medical disorders. Any mood symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare professional in order to ascertain their underlying cause.

You struggle with sleep

Insomnia and disturbed sleep have been linked to low Testosterone levels. According to studies, men with low Testosterone levels may find it more difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and achieve the necessary amount of restorative and deep sleep (18). The main reason for this is that Testosterone levels naturally fluctuate during the day, peaking at night when you sleep. Sleep problems may also not necessarily be the result of low Testosterone levels and therefore, treating sleep problems may require a multidisciplinary strategy that includes dietary changes, behavioural counseling, and medication if necessary.

How do you get your Testosterone levels checked?

Visit Science and Humans' website if you are a male experiencing the effects of low Testosterone, are interested in a Testosterone test, or just in general to check for more details about Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Our clinic will refer you for a series of blood tests and a consultation with a doctor or nurse practitioner who will go through your treatment choices, including the right dosage based on your age and symptoms, if your Testosterone level falls out of normal range (300-1000 nanograms per deciliter (dl)). This requires that you fill out a patient history form which includes questions about your past medical conditions (e.g. heart conditions or history of weight gain or heart attacks) and medicines you currently take. Among other sex hormones and indicators for the prostate gland, such as PSA, your blood sample will include total blood cell count, certain blood proteins, hematocrit levels, liver function tests, thyroid stimulating hormone, and pituitary gland hormones (i.e. follicular stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone). 

 

 

If your test results demonstrate low T-levels, then we can start you on one of multiple TRT options which include topicals for the skin and injections. If you have any questions, our staff includes experts that can be your healthcare provider, and are always available to discuss your health concerns as well as any risks of TRT. Science&Humans staff will also monitor your symptom improvement and provide advice through your hormone health journey. Our website also includes blogs that highlight the benefits and side effects related to TRT, as well as other tips to naturally increase Testosterone production, such as use of certain supplements, dieting, and exercise. Best of all, our services are completely available online, so you won't even have to be in person as one of our patients. 

 

References

  1. "Endocrine System." MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/endocrinesystem.html.
  2. "Hormones and the Endocrine System." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5 Apr. 2018, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hormones-endocrine-system.
  3. American Urological Association. (n.d.). Testosterone Deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/Testosterone-deficiency
  4. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (2010). Testosterone Therapy in Adult Men with Androgen Deficiency Syndromes: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/95/6/2536/2870358
  5. The Endocrine Society. (n.d.). Testosterone Therapy in Adult Men with Androgen Deficiency Syndromes. Retrieved from https://www.endocrine.org/guidelines-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines/Testosterone-therapy-in-adult-men-with-androgen-deficiency-syndromes
  6. National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Testosterone and Aging: Clinical Research Directions. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK278932/
  7. Isidori, A. and A. Lenzi, Risk factors for androgen decline in older males: lifestyle, chronic diseases and drugs. Journal of endocrinological investigation, 2005. 28(3 Suppl): p. 14-22.
  8.   Ko, D.H., S.E. Kim, and J.Y. Lee. Prevalence of Low Testosterone According to Health Behavior in Older Adults Men. in Healthcare. 2020. MDPI.
  9. Travison TG, Vesper HW, Orwoll E, Wu F, Kaufman JM, Wang Y, Lapauw B, Fiers T, Matsumoto AM, Bhasin S. Harmonized reference ranges for circulating Testosterone levels in men of four cohort studies in the United States and Europe. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2017 Apr 1;102(4):1161-73.
  10. Mulligan T, Frick MF, Zuraw QC, Stemhagen A, McWhirter C. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. International journal of clinical practice. 2006 Jul;60(7):762-9.
  11. Hormones E, Prostate Cancer Collaborative Group. Endogenous sex hormones and prostate cancer: a collaborative analysis of 18 prospective studies. JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008 Feb 6;100(3):170-83.
  12. Barqawi A, Crawford ED. Testosterone replacement therapy and the risk of prostate cancer. Is there a link?. International journal of impotence research. 2006 Jul;18(4):323-8.
  13. Endocrine Society. (2020). Testosterone Therapy in Adult Men with Androgen Deficiency Syndromes: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 105(2), 468-487.
  14. Matsumoto AM. Andropause: clinical implications of the decline in serum Testosterone levels with aging in men. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2002 Feb 1;57(2):M76-99.
  15. Atwood CS, Meethal SV, Liu T, Wilson AC, Gallego M, Smith MA, Bowen RL. Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis with menopause and andropause promotes neurodegenerative senescence. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology. 2005 Feb 1;64(2):93-103.
  16. Amiaz R, Seidman SN. Testosterone and depression in men. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity. 2008 Jun 1;15(3):278-83.
  17. Beauchet O. Testosterone and cognitive function: current clinical evidence of a relationship. European journal of endocrinology. 2006 Dec 1;155(6):773-81.
  18. Axelsson J, Ingre M, Åkerstedt T, Holmbäck U. Effects of acutely displaced sleep on Testosterone. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2005 Aug 1;90(8):4530-5.

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