The Surprising Truth About Testosterone
Testosterone is the hormone in a man that helps him build muscle, deepens his voice, helps him mature in puberty, and in short makes a man a man. Testosterone is produced by the testes in men. It is produced in smaller quantities in women by the ovaries.
Hormone levels have significant effects on the human mind and body. Men are often so busy with their day-to-day functions and responsibilities that they may not recognize when a testosterone deficit is causing unfavorable changes in their bodies, and therefore in their lives. Signs and symptoms that testosterone levels are low could be: a decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and loss of energy, depressed mood, diminished mental aggressiveness, loss of body hair, decrease in strength and osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Testosterone is also important for cognition and memory and can play a role when low in insulin production.
After the age of 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone. As a greater percent of our population ages, there are much larger levels of low testosterone affecting men. Some men experience significant changes starting in their middle-aged years, or more commonly, at the age of sixty and older. This drop in testosterone level is sometimes termed hypogonadism, or what some may call “male menopause.”
Factors that can lower your testosterone are:
- Insufficient sleep – because most testosterone is produced during sleep, poor quality sleep can result in a 20% to 30% reduction of testosterone.
- Replacing meat with soy. A combination of the plant estrogens and a lack of essential amino acids that cannot be absorbed in a soy diet alone have shown a 10% drop in testosterone levels in just 4 weeks.
- Excessive alcohol consumption can also lower testosterone levels. As the liver breaks down alcohol, it produces compounds that inhibit the release of testosterone, reducing its overall level in your body.
Additionally, some research has shown that ongoing opioid therapy, which may be used in treating chronic pain, can also lead to low testosterone levels. This can be frustrating for many people suffering from debilitating pain that will not go away. Fortunately, there are treatments available for low testosterone so that patients don’t have to suffer in pain and experience negative symptoms of low testosterone. To treat low testosterone, some doctors may use injections, patches, or topical creams or gels that contain the necessary testosterone hormone. However, not all men may be candidates so please check with your doctor. Furthermore, testosterone treatment can have side effects.
Your doctor may order a testosterone test that measures the amount of testosterone in the blood. A blood sample is needed and the recommended time for the sample should be between 7 am and 10 am. Normal testosterone levels in men are 270-1,000 ng/dL and for females 15-70 ng/dL.
Advanced Pain Care treats patients with a multidisciplinary approach. That means we believe there is more to treating pain than just medication management. We take a full analysis of pain symptoms AND physical health so that we can order the right treatment to address the pain and any other side effects. Whether it’s providing the most advanced techniques for procedures, utilizing available resources for behavioral and physical therapy, or lab testing to check testosterone levels, we want to review the full scope of your health in order to provide you with the best options available.