Testosterone. The big T. The hormone that makes women both love their man and shake their heads in wonder. How did he get this far without realizing he said that out loud, or without noticing her new haircut, or without caring about so many seemingly important things? How does he have all that energy and drive? We’ve all heard about it, but do we really know what it does or how important testosterone is to a man’s health? This one chemical messenger keeps his whole body functioning properly.
Most people are familiar with the words “testosterone” and “estrogen” and assume one is all for guys and one is all for women. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of where we start misunderstanding men’s and women’s health. How surprised would you be to learn there isn’t a singular hormone known as “estrogen”? In fact, it’s an umbrella term for multiple similar hormones. Another commonly misunderstood fact is that both men and women have both testosterone and estrogens. It’s the levels and form that create the unique differences in health and vitality in men and women. When those hormones are kicked out of balance, both men and women can become sick.
According to Cleveland Clinic:
Low testosterone affects almost 40% of men aged 45 and older.
According to the NIH:
Longitudinal studies in male aging studies have shown that serum testosterone levels decline with age (Harman et al 2001; Feldman et al 2002). Total testosterone levels fall at an average of 1.6% per year whilst free and bioavailable levels fall by 2%–3% per year.
This is one area where it’s important to remember what our founder, Dr. Patrick Flynn says consistently,
Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal.
What we need to ask is, why is it so common? First, we’ll take a look at some of the factors around low testosterone and how to avoid this common health pitfall. Then, we’re share some ideas for helping restore health where necessary.
What Makes Him a Man?
Hormones start at basically the same levels for young boys and girls until puberty. That’s when big changes come that make a girl a woman and a boy a man. First, the luteinizing hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland is released. What is the next stop? For women, that is ovaries, and estrogens. For men, it’s the testicles and testosterone.
Testosterone is typically recognized as the hormone responsible for the characteristics commonly associated with male physical appearance such as:
- body and facial hair
- lack of rounded hips
- muscular upper body build
- muscle mass
- bone density
- Adam’s apple
However, it goes far beyond these visible characteristics and affects his whole physiology. Testosterone is also responsible for sperm production and sex drive, as well as an overall sense of well-being in men. Endocrineweb shares some signs and symptoms of low testosterone:
- decreased sex drive (libido)
- poor (or no) erections (erectile dysfunction or impotence)
- enlarged breasts
- low sperm count
When testosterone remains low for a longer period of time, more concerning symptoms can also be experienced:
- loss of body hair
- loss of muscle mass and strength
- weaker bones (osteoporosis)
- mood swings (including increased irritability)
- hot flashes
In cases of severe low T, men can experience:
- extreme mood disturbances
- low libido
- erectile dysfunction
- increased body fat
- significant muscle loss
Consider the Whole Swiss Watch
When testosterone is off, it affects all systems. Testosterone isn’t simply a sex hormone, it’s a health hormone for men. The body operates like a Swiss Watch. Think about it this way, each system and organ in the body are a gear in a finely tuned Swiss watch. If a gear is off in any way, from a slight chip to something affecting the timing or function, the whole watch will stop working properly. Testosterone is a major contributor to those systems for men.
Common Causes of Low Testosterone In Men
Statins – Statins have become one of the most common prescriptions in the U.S., while the very thing they’ve been touted to treat remains the number one killer of Americans. The effect they have on testosterone only compounds the problem.
Sugar – Sugar is like kryptonite for men’s health. In fact, sugar not only causes other health challenges like weight gain and insulin resistance, but it also causes the body to convert testosterone into… estrogens! That is going in the wrong direction.
To learn more about other common men’s health challenges, check out our first article in this series here.
Testosterone – Kicked Where it Counts?
Every guy knows the dreaded kick or direct hit. But the question has to be asked. Has there been any trauma to the testicles? Remember, that LH travels from the pituitary gland to the testicles to be converted into testosterone. The testicles, often referred to as “balls”, are actually tubes where sperm is made, and testosterone is converted from LH. In these tiny tubes, a variety of cells are required to ensure proper function. These cells are very sensitive to inflammation and damage. With proper testing and support, restoration is possible.
Mood, Motivation, and Manhood
Those lists above share just how much testosterone can affect a man. His physical appearance to his mental health, his physiology to his sexual drive and function is dictated by testosterone. In a recent A Different Perspective episode, Dr. Patrick Flynn had a discussion with one of the Wellness Way guys, Travis, to discuss his health journey and testosterone. Travis reflected on the process and how The Wellness Way Approach changed his health and life and caused his testosterone to skyrocket! Below are some before and after labs indicating the dramatic change he had. One thing to note…Travis got older during the time between the two tests! Testosterone does not have to decrease with age if you are seeing the right doctors for care.
Travis isn’t the only Wellness Way guy who’s shared his story, health journey, and how testosterone affects his life. On another episode of ADP, Dr. Patrick hosted a round table discussion with four of the Wellness Way guys to discuss how testosterone affects a man’s life. It’s not only important for men to know how testosterone affects them, but for their wives as well! While this show was certainly entertaining, there was most definitely some serious truth bombs dropped as well as lots of insightful nuggets for men and women who tuned in. If you missed it, don’t worry, the episode is here on the A Different Perspective website!
Restoring Health and Testosterone
There are a few things women can do to help their men with testosterone. Capturing his mind is crucial. Remember where that LH comes from? The brain. Sometimes, testosterone can be a mind game. There was one unique study from Germany, published in the New England Journal of Medicine that indicated just how visual stimulation can affect a man’s testosterone and health.
It is crucial here to input that Dr. Patrick and The Wellness Way do not support the use of pornography. In fact, that very detrimental, addictive habit has been shown to have devastating effects on men’s health and testosterone. If this is something you struggle with, it is imperative that you get help to break that cycle.
For some tips on how to help your guy stay healthy and support your relationship, check out Dr. Patrick’s book, I Disagree!
When the above strategies aren’t enough, be sure to get some testing done. However, it’s crucial to make sure the testing used to determine your health journey is comprehensive and complete. Proper testing is critical to determine whether the challenge with testosterone is production, conversion, or how the body is using testosterone. The challenge could be with another system or organ throwing off the watch and causing disruption. To find the cause and the best way to support not only proper testosterone, but all of a man’s health, reach out to a Wellness Way clinic today.