Testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced naturally in the bodies of humans. However, men have a much higher level of this hormone than women. Testosterone is what makes men feel like men (physically). During a male child’s development, it is this hormone that helps his sex organs to form. During puberty, the same hormone plays a vital role in the physical development of boys into men. It is what causes their voices to deepen, makes them build muscles and makes hair grow on their faces and bodies. Even in adulthood, this hormone continues to play a key role in a man’s life, especially his sexual function.
The level of testosterone hormone in men peaks during their 20s, but starts decreasing soon after, by about 1 % every year after the age of 30. This decline is believed to be as a result of age-related changes in the brain and testicles where this hormone is produced. Let us look at some of the dangers of low testosterone in men:
Decreased sexual function
Among other things, testosterone is responsible for high libido and sex drive in a man. Therefore, a decline in the level of this hormone significantly affects a man’s sex life. For instance, men with low testosterone are likely to have trouble developing and maintaining an erection. Even when the erections come, they are not as strong and as frequent as they used to be. But this is not all. Men’s desire for sex decreases drastically when their testosterone levels are low. All these factors combined result in less frequent sex, which might put a strain on one’s relationship.
Since testosterone is the hormone responsible for development and maintenance of men’s physical features, a decrease in this hormone can result in several physical changes including:
– Decreased muscle strength and mass
– Increased body fat, especially in the abdominal area
– Tenderness in breast tissue
– Hot flashes
– Weak bones, which can make one prone to frequent injuries
Low testosterone levels also degrade one’s self-esteem and self-confidence considerably and lead to feelings of depression and sadness. This could be due to a combination of the above physical changes, decreased sex drive, lack of energy and irritability that come with low testosterone.
Low levels of testosterone can also cause changes in men’s sleep patterns. Several studies have found that this condition not only decreases one’s sleeping hours but also causes sleep apnea — a serious condition in which a person repeatedly stops breathing for several seconds while sleeping.