In the online world, it is often said that lifestyle affects testosterone levels. For example, abstaining from sex, engaging in sports, and masturbating can increase testosterone, while lack of physical activity and chronic stress can lower it.
However, this is only partially true. Testosterone levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day in both male and female bodies, and that is normal. Yet, some factors consistently lower its levels, which can be detrimental to health. And no, masturbation is definitely not one of those factors.
The Importance of Testosterone in the Body
Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testes in males and the ovaries in females.
In boys, it triggers the process of sexual development, leading to the formation of sexual organs and the growth of male-pattern body hair. Additionally, testosterone enhances libido and what is known as the “sense of well-being,” giving men a sense of confidence.
In girls, most of the testosterone converts into estradiol, the primary hormone responsible for female sexual maturation and regulation of the menstrual cycle. The remaining testosterone in the body is believed to influence the growth of pubic hair.
It is incorrect to think that testosterone is exclusively a male hormone. It is necessary for everyone, although the degree of its importance varies.
What Is Considered a Normal Testosterone Level for Men?
To determine your testosterone level, you need to have a blood test for total testosterone.
According to Mount Sinai Clinic, the normal range for adult men is between 300 and 1000 nanograms per deciliter. Cleveland Clinic’s website states that the range is 193 to 824 nanograms per deciliter. It’s worth noting that the normal range may vary depending on the analysis method and the laboratory.
It is not recommended to take the test or interpret the results without a doctor’s guidance. Only a specialist can determine whether your hormone level is low or high.
Causes and Effects of Low Testosterone Levels
Testosterone levels can decrease due to various reasons. It can be low from birth or decrease as individuals grow older due to genetic conditions. If genetics are not the cause, the most common factors that contribute to low testosterone levels include:
- Obesity: Lack of physical activity is a contributing factor.
- Diabetes: Poorly controlled diabetes.
- Tumors or growths.
- Head injuries.
- Severe liver or kidney diseases, such as cirrhosis or renal failure.
- HIV and AIDS.
- Medications, including chemotherapy and hormonal drugs.
- Aging: Natural decline in testosterone production with age.
Low testosterone levels can lead to erectile dysfunction, loss of bone and muscle mass, and deterioration of mental health. These are symptoms of testosterone deficiency that should prompt a visit to a doctor.
Men with low testosterone often experience a lack of sexual desire and struggle to conceive a child. Engaging in regular physical activity becomes challenging, and all these factors can affect one’s mental well-being, resulting in a decreased mood, lack of motivation, and reduced enjoyment of previously loved activities.
Research indicates that low testosterone levels are associated with a higher risk of heart and vascular diseases, particularly heart attacks. This applies to both men and women. However, the good news is that low testosterone levels can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.
Causes and Effects of High Testosterone Levels
High testosterone levels are extremely rare among men. It is more commonly seen in women, especially those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Some men may worry about having excessive levels of testosterone due to intense physical exercise. Studies comparing testosterone levels before and after various exercise intensities have shown that testosterone levels initially increase after exercise but return to normal over time. It is also a myth that increased testosterone levels make men more aggressive.