Testosterone is a hormone in the androgen steroid group. It is also considered an anabolic steroid, and is the primary male sex hormone. Testosterone plays a major role in the development of male reproductive tissue, and also promotes bone and muscle mass, along with the growth of hair. It helps to prevent osteoporosis in men, much the same way estrogen does for women.

Where Is Testosterone Produced?

Testosterone is mainly secreted in the testes of males, and the ovaries of women, with small amounts secreted by the adrenal glands of both sexes as well. One must note, however, that women produce testosterone in much smaller amounts. Generally, the average male produces ten times the volume of testosterone as does the average female. The normal ranges for each sex are quite broad, overlapping at each end. One interesting fact, is that although men produce a higher amount of testosterone, women have a much stronger sensitivity to it.

Testosterone Imbalances

In some cases, men experience an imbalance of testosterone, which may lead to complications if not properly treated. This type of imbalance is usually caused by hypogonadism, but can also be idiopathic in nature. Once discovered, it is easily remedied with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is a treatment, administered under the supervision of a doctor,which is aimed at returning hormone levels to a normal range.

Benefits vs. Side Effects

There is some merit in the legitimate use of testosterone replacement therapy, such as a decreased incidence of cardiovascular problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity. However, some of the common side effects include difficulty urinating, development of male breasts, and cluster headaches.

The Use of Testosterone By Athletes

Some athletes feel the use of testosterone and other steroids increase the quality of their performance in a said sport. This is largely frowned upon by the athletic community, and in certain sports, testing for the use of steroids is required before each competition. When used in this manner it can be taken in pill form, applied as a trans-dermal patch, or administered by way of an intramuscular injection. It is important to note, however, that this type of use is rarely, if ever, endorsed by professionals in the medical community. It is frowned on by physicians, due to the fact that in the absence of a hormonal imbalance, the use of testosterone comes with considerable risks.

It is never a good idea to take any type of medicine unless it is prescribed by a doctor, to correct a specific health issue, and as always, one should start any new medication without first consulting with their primary care physician.

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