Testosterone! Men like to claim their bodies are full of it. In pop culture, it's taken on a meaning that is inextricable from virility and sexuality. Yet the truth is that a lot of men don't have all the testosterone they need to maintain sexual performance – and also for their overall general health. Because while testosterone is associated in the public mind with sexual matters, it actually has uses that extend beyond the penis.
Just to bring everyone up to speed, testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It's also an anabolic steroid. As Wikipedia points out, testosterone "plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as testes and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair."
But testosterone also has uses in general health and well-being, and in particular in helping to prevent osteoporosis (which is the loss of bone mass, which can lead to frail bones that break easily.)
Men produce testosterone naturally, and production ramps up markedly during puberty (which is why a guy's penis and balls grow and hair starts to develop all over the body during the teen years). But somewhere around age 30, the body starts producing a little less testosterone each year – a decline of somewhere around 1% per year. In addition, there may be other reasons why a man has less testosterone than he should, such as diet, exercise, etc. As a matter of fact, some scientists believe that low testosterone is significantly under-diagnosed and may affect as many as 13 million men, 90% of whom go untreated.
But just what are some of the problems associated with low testosterone?
– Sex drive and function. The one that most guys know about and worry about the most. When testosterone levels are low, a man has less desire for sex. In some cases, erections may be harder to come by, although actual erectile dysfunction is not typically a side effect of low testosterone by itself.
– Depression. Many men with low testosterone find it affects their mental health, especially in terms of depression. Since lower testosterone occurs as a guy ages, and since many men feel depressed about aging, the lower testosterone may worsen a predisposition to depression.
– Sleep problems. Sleep patterns are often disrupted by too little testosterone. This can lead to insomnia, which can take the form of having trouble falling asleep or of waking and being unable to get back to sleep. Some men may already have sleep apnea, which in turn contributes to lower testosterone as well.
– Emotional issues. Beyond depression, low levels of testosterone are associated with other emotional changes, such as sadness or irritability. It can also dampen enthusiasm and motivation, and can impact self-confidence.
– Fatigue. Low energy levels are often a byproduct of low testosterone. A man tires more easily or has a harder time getting started in the mornings.
– Physical changes. Sometimes the change in testosterone levels correlates with physical changes in a man. He may gain weight more easily or lose some of the strength he used to have. Body hair may decrease and he may develop some fat tissue in the breast area. It also can lead to a weakening of the bones. All of this can contribute to feelings of depression, which low testosterone already can make more likely.
If a man worries he may have low testosterone, he needs to speak with his doctor for a diagnosis and to determine if treatments are needed.
In the meantime, he needs to work to keep his penis as healthy as possible, and that includes regular use of a superior penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) . The best crème will include L-arginine and alpha lipoic acid. The former boosts nitric oxide production, which helps penile blood vessels expand for increased blood flow when needed. The latter is an antioxidant that protects the penis cells from free radicals and the oxidative stress they can cause.