What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men though it is also found in women in smaller amounts.
Testosterone is predominantly produced by the gonads – in men, this is the testicles and in women this is the ovaries – as well as in smaller amounts in the adrenal glands.
Known as an androgen, levels of testosterone become elevated during puberty and are responsible for the development of male sex characteristics, including deepening of the voice, pubic hair growth as well as increase in height and weight.
It is also responsible for the development of the male reproductive organs and is essential in the production of sperm through adult life.
Why is this analysis important?
The levels of testosterone vary in individuals – this can be dependent on sex, age as well as genetic variation. Furthermore, the type and level of exercise that individuals do can also affect levels.
These points are especially important when one considers that after the age of 35 there is typically a 1-3% decrease in levels annually.
Due to the important role of testosterone on a number of systems in the body, low levels can result in the following signs and symptoms in both men and women:
- Low sex drive
- Low mood and irritability
- Difficulty with concentration
- Reduced sense of well-being
- Thinning of bones (osteoporosis)
- Increased body fat – especially around the abdomen
- Reduced muscular strength
In men, beyond the list above, low testosterone can also present with infertility, erectile dysfunction and gynaecomastia (breast development).
The result of low Testosterone
Low Testosterone can be caused because of;
- Type 2 diabetes
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Genetic disorders
- Long term steroid use
- Treatments used in cancer treatment
- Excessive alcohol use
- Infections – typically those that affect the testes
Though the above are more typically seen in men, alterations can occur in women as well.
High levels of testosterone are more uncommon, however can be seen in those who use anabolic steroids, as well as in some tumours. In women, high levels of testosterone is typically linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – which can present with infertility and acne.
Blood tests evaluate how well the body is functioning and if there are any areas which may require medical help. All blood tests carried out at CityDoc clinics are by highly qualified professionals.
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