Testosterone is a male steroid hormone. It is made by the testes of males, and the ovaries of females. A small amount is made by the adrenal glands. Its release in the body is regulated by two glands in the brain, the pituitary and the hypothalamus. The amount in the male is naturally much greater than in the female. Normal ranges vary according to the testing laboratory. Illness may result from abnormal levels. Low levels can be caused by reduced production by the glands which make it. They may also be due to problems with the glands which regulate its release. Some conditions make it necessary to take testosterone supplements.
Some health problems can cause abnormally high levels. These are often of serious nature, such as cancers. Levels may also become decreased. This is also a problem, but not quite as alarming. Low levels most often respond favorably to treatment. Treatment regimens are given as oral medications, subcutaneous pellets, or topical gels or patches.
There are reasons for therapy when levels are not necessarily abnormal. Breast cancer in women is one such reason. Therapy is not given to men with breast cancer. Menstrual irregularities is another condition in which supplement therapy is used.
Normal range for men is many times higher than for women. Lab values vary, depending on each laboratory. When low values are problematic, treatment is required. Administration is by muscular injections, oral medications, topical gels or patches, or subcutaneous pellets. Medical prescription and administration is required.
Therapy can bring about very desirable benefits. Physical and mental energy increases. Depressed moods are replaced by feelings of well being. Increased bone density decreases osteoporosis symptoms. The taste of food is enjoyed again. A general interest in life activities can occur.
Side effects, as with most therapies, are possible. Unwanted weight gain, hair loss, or excess body hair has been reported. Skin changes, such as acne, or oily skin may occur. Cancers that were already present may be worsened. Prostate surface antigen levels should be monitored in men receiving treatment. This is done by PSA blood samples.
Annual physical exams by a medical doctor is recommended for all persons. In addition, a doctor should be notified when suspicious symptoms arise. When taking medications, side effects should be reported promptly. Medications changes or adjustments are sometimes necessary for successful treatment.
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