Your testicles regularly produce the androgen called testosterone (T), which is the hormone responsible for creating and maintaining your male sex characteristics, such as the pattern of your body and facial hair, bone density, body fat distribution, and muscle density.
Testosterone sent your body into overdrive during adolescence, when your voice changed, you sprouted your first facial and pubic hairs, and you left boyhood behind. Testosterone is also the hormone that’s responsible for a healthy sex drive, your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, and your ability to easily and quickly build up muscle mass.
After the age of 30 or 40, your testicles gradually slow down their production of T. Although this is a normal part of aging, the slow-down may be exacerbated by other factors and conditions, such as:
- Injured testicles
- Side effects from medications or treatments
- Problems with your pituitary gland
- Problems with your hypothalamus
- Chronic diseases
If you’ve noticed a decrease in your muscle mass, are having trouble building new muscle, or are starting to gain belly fat and other fat deposits, you may have low T.
How much T should you have?
If you suspect you have low T, the experts at the Men’s T Clinic® in Dallas, Houston, and the surrounding areas, conduct a series of blood tests to determine if you have hypogonadism (low T levels). Normal testosterone levels for men range from 350-1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Your doctor also tests to be sure your thyroid is functioning normally and that you have no other underlying medical issues.
Because testosterone levels fluctuate depending on variables, including stress — which can raise levels of cortisol — your doctor takes several blood tests to determine your baseline T level. If it’s low, he may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy to normalize your T.
Low T shrinks your muscles
When your T levels are low, a common symptom is muscle wasting, which is characterized by your muscles losing bulk and strength. Even if you don’t notice a change in your musculature, you might feel a decrease in energy, stamina, or power. Maybe you just can’t bench press as much weight as you used to, or run as far.
Normally, T binds with the androgen receptors in your muscle cells. The testosterone helps your muscle cells maintain the strength and integrity of your muscle fibers. When your androgen receptors don’t get enough T, your muscle cells can’t maintain your muscle fibers, and they begin to degrade. Gradually, your muscles waste away.
Replacing T restores muscles
If low T is the source of your muscle wasting, your Men’s T Clinic® specialist resolves your hypogonadism with testosterone replacement therapy. Your doctor may advise losing weight to counteract the negative effects of high levels of fat (especially belly fat) on testosterone production. He may recommend an exercise program that includes 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and strength and resistance training at least twice a week.
Your doctor also ensures that any underlying conditions are treated and that you don’t have any contraindications to T replacement therapy. He monitors your T levels regularly to be sure your therapy is correctly dosed for your current needs.
Build up your strength again by restoring your testosterone. Contact us today by phone or use the online form to set up a T level evaluation.