Testosterone and You: Male Hormones and the Adult Body
Every man understands the effects of testosterone through puberty, but do you know how it continues to impact your body later in life? The male growth hormone controls so much more than that brief adolescent period of your life. Even now, your testosterone levels may be affecting you more than you think. Here are some ways that this headline hormone interacts with your adult body.
Okay, it might be obvious to say that low testosterone can cause low fertility — but did you know that high testosterone levels can have the same effect? Whichever end of the spectrum you're on, testosterone levels that fall too far outside the expected range will result in a reduced sperm count. There's a simple reason for this. When levels are low, there's not enough testosterone to maintain sperm production. When the body is overproducing testosterone, this same effect is created manually; the brain detects that levels are too high, and it adjusts the output of the pituitary gland to compensate. It's a negative feedback loop that can only be avoided by keeping testosterone levels in the expected range.
Famously, menopause — the cessation of menstrual periods — can cause temperature fluctuations, and low testosterone levels can do the same thing. You may experience this in a variety of ways: hot flashes, localized sensations of heat or skin reddening and intense periods of sweating, including at night, are some common ones. Of course, these are common symptoms of other conditions, but it's important to bear in mind that they could be indicators of a hormonal imbalance.
Mood and Mentality
Testosterone is frequently linked to aggression, and this is certainly reasonable. High testosterone can cause aggressive feelings or behaviour. However, testosterone imbalances can also cause low or depressive moods and intense emotional fluctuations entirely separate from anger. It may also cause feelings of mental fatigue, difficulty focusing and impact cognitive function. On a related note, it has also been theorised that low testosterone could be one of the causes of declining memory faculties in older age, but studies so far are inconclusive.
These are just a handful of things controlled by testosterone, and of course, any individual symptoms may be connected to other underlying conditions. If any of these things are troubling you, you should speak to a men's health professional. It's simply worth bearing in mind the breadth of effects this single hormone has on the human body, and how important it is to remain well-regulated and balanced.