Testosterone is one of the primary sex hormones in both men and women. Testosterone is produced by the testes in men, ovaries in women and small quantities are also produced in the adrenal glands in men and women. Current estimates are that biochemical testosterone deficiency is estimated to be 25% among men aged 40-62.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men?
Sexual dysfunction: decreased libido, delayed ejaculation, reduced ejaculate volume, decreased intensity of orgasm, erectile dysfunction, loss of morning erections, infertility
Cognitive/Psychological: fatigue, changes in mood, depression, insomnia, poor concentration/memory, irritable
Physical: decreased energy, anemia, breast development, decreased muscle mass and strength, increased body fat, loss of facial hair, low bone density
What are the symptoms of high testosterone in women?
Irregular menstrual cycles
Excessive hair growth
How should I measure my testosterone levels?
Testosterone should be measured in the morning between 8 and 10 AM following an overnight fast. Testosterone experiences considerable variability and is affected by food ingestion, time of day and can also be affected by acute medical conditions like a recent illness. We recommend testing when sleep-wake patterns are stable (relevant for shift workers) and avoiding periods with a recent illness.
How is testosterone measured?
Testosterone circulates in the bloodstream attached to proteins (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, Albumin, Corticosteroid-Binding Globulin) and freely unattached to any proteins. Most laboratories offer measurements of free and total testosterone.
What are the common causes of low testosterone in men?
Medication (opioids and glucocorticoids)
Extreme nutritional deficiencies and anorexia
Diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
What are the causes of high testosterone in women?
Having an androgen-secreting tumour (i.e. ovarian or adrenal tumour)
I have a low testosterone level. Does that mean I need testosterone supplementation?
Current guidelines do not recommend treatment with testosterone if you do not have symptoms of testosterone deficiency.
How many times should I be tested to confirm testosterone deficiency?
We recommend repeat testing of testosterone on three separate occasions to make a diagnosis of testosterone deficiency. If you have low testosterone levels a physician will recommend follow-up testing to rule out other causes of testosterone deficiency. Before suggesting supplementation, we also recommend treating reversible causes of testosterone deficiency (See “What are the common causes of low testosterone?”)
I have low testosterone. Will taking testosterone increase my sperm counts?
Taking testosterone actually causes low sperm counts and suppresses the signals for sperm production in the body. Men interested in increasing testosterone production can try other treatments that increase testosterone production Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), SERMS like clomiphene and tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors (anastrozole, letrozole, testolactone). We do not prescribe these medications but if you are looking for guidance, we suggest reaching out to a local endocrinologist through your local walk-in clinic.
Who should not take testosterone therapy?
Men with a history of prostate cancer
Men with a history of breast cancer
Men with symptoms of an enlarged prostate
Individuals with increased hematocrit (> 50%)
Sleep apnea that is severe and untreated
What are common conditions associated with Testosterone deficiency?