2.15 What is Testosterone? – Definition, Production & Therapy

Jan 18, 2020 | ch2 Biological Bases of Behaviour, Courses, Intro to Psychology

In this lesson learn the definition of testosterone, how it is produced in the body and different types of therapy treatments. Afterwards, take a quiz to see how you score in your understanding of this important hormone.

The Importance of Testosterone

Testosterone is a male sex hormone, essential for sexual and reproductive development. Mainly produced in the testes, testosterone is responsible for the development of male sex organs before birth. Here’s the thing though: testosterone is equally important during a whole lifespan!

If you’re male, think back to your early teens when you were going through puberty. At this age, testosterone was produced in your body to help develop secondary sex characteristics, such as the deepening of your voice, increased penis and testes size, and the growth of facial and body hair. As we continue through the aging process, testosterone helps men participate in sexual activities, produce sperm, distribute fat, produce red blood cells, and maintain muscle strength.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is essential for sexual and reproductive development.


Testosterone and Women

You may be asking the question, ‘Do women have testosterone?’ The answer is yes! Although a female body has approximately one tenth of the amount of testosterone as that of a man, it still plays a role in their development. Testosterone helps ensure that a woman’s muscle and bone mass are stabilized, ensuring that they have a less likely chance of suffering from osteoporosis. Women also obtain an increased sex drive from testosterone. However, because a female’s testosterone level is less, this is the reason that your mother typically won’t grow a beard.


An aging woman can have increased levels of testosterone, which can cause difficult and dangerous symptoms.


Testosterone Production

In males, testosterone is produced in the testes and the adrenal glands, and then transferred around the body in the blood stream by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a structure in the brain that helps regulate different hormones in the body. In this case, it sends a message to the testes to produce the right amount of testosterone for the body, which then releases the hormone into the blood stream so it can be delivered to different areas of the body.

In females, testosterone is produced in the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Just remember that the same process is used in women to help produce the right amount of testosterone via the hypothalamus.

Testosterone and Aging

Are you worried about your testosterone levels dropping as you get older? Well, sorry to say it, but you should be! Testosterone levels tend to lower in the body at around the age of 30, sometimes bringing with it difficult symptoms that can be uncomfortable from both a physical and emotional level. If you’re around 30, look out for different symptoms that include thinning or loss of hair, reduced sex drive, difficulty in maintaining or obtaining an erection, and even decreased bone density. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you can get your testosterone levels checked and start a therapy treatment.

Testosterone Therapy

A typical testosterone level in a man is measured at around 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Completing a blood test is the only accurate way to determine your testosterone, or T-Levels.

So what can we do if we have low testosterone? There are many therapy programs that, when started, will help increase your testosterone levels, which in turn can provide you with greater health benefits and energy levels.

For women, high testosterone can become problematic in older age, which is a reason why testosterone therapy can be helpful. For women with testosterone levels that are too high, they’ll develop issues that can include irregular menstrual cycles, deepening of the voice, increase in body hair and acne, and infertility issues.

To regulate testosterone to normal levels in men, doctors will prescribe an artificial version of the hormone to be taken on a regular basis. Surprisingly, testosterone does not necessarily have to be taken in a pill form, as there are many different ways to increase levels, such as: gels and lotions, skin patches, injections or implants.

Testosterone Therapy and Safety

For the most part, when working with a medical doctor, testosterone therapy is safe, but care must be taken throughout the treatments to ensure that health standards are upheld, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For men getting gel and lotion treatment applied to their skin, it’s essential that they wash their hands after the application and take care to ensure that women and children do not touch the area once it’s applied. It’s important to wash your hands and keep it away from women and children, because the gel or lotion could enter their bodies through the skin and interrupt their hormone levels, creating adverse effects on their bodies.

Testosterone therapy also can lower a man’s sperm count, due to the body accepting artificial versions of the hormone and therefore not needing to produce its own. Heart disease, sleep apnea, and prostate and breast growth can also occur in individuals that don’t exercise or aren’t mobile.

Lesson Summary

Testosterone is a male hormone that’s responsible for sexual and reproductive development. It’s found in both men and women, but a woman’s level of testosterone is approximately one tenth that of a man’s. Testosterone is produced in the testes and the adrenal glands in men, and in the ovaries and adrenal glands of women. The body’s hypothalamus sends messages to the sex organs to determine how much testosterone is to be produced, which is then transferred around the body via the blood stream.

Too much or too little testosterone can be a problem for both men and women. Symptoms of testosterone imbalances include thinning hair, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis, a decreased sex drive and difficulty in maintaining or obtaining an erection. If a man’s testosterone level is below 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood, chances are he could participate in testosterone therapy. This is as long as he’s being monitored by a medical doctor, who can deal with any potential side effects that come about from the therapy.

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