Testosterone is a male steroid hormone that does a lot more for men than just promote a healthy sex drive. The hormone affects several other factors in your health, including body fat, muscle mass, bone density, red blood cell count, and mood.
Normal testosterone levels are between
Testosterone injections are most often given by your doctor. The injection site is typically in the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. However, your doctor may allow you to self-administer the injections. In that case, the injection site would be in your thigh muscles.
Men naturally start losing some of their testosterone when they hit their 30s or 40s. A more rapid decline in testosterone levels may indicate a problem called low testosterone (low T). Common symptoms of low T include:
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- changes in sex drive
- decreased sperm count
- depression or anxiety
- weight gain
- hot flashes
Some men may also have changes in the size of their penis and testicles. Others may have breast swelling.
Some men may want to diagnose themselves with low T. The problem with self-diagnosis is that many of the symptoms of low T are normal parts of aging, so using them for diagnosis isn’t reliable. A doctor-ordered testosterone level test is the only way to find out if your testosterone levels are too low.
When you see your doctor, they will take a thorough health history and do a physical exam. In addition to a blood test to measure your testosterone levels, you’ll also likely have a test that measures your red blood cell count. Testosterone injections can increase your red blood cell count, so this test is done to make sure you aren’t at risk of a dangerous increase in these cells.
If your exam and tests reveal that you have low T, your doctor may suggest testosterone injections.
The purpose of testosterone injections is to help regulate male hormone levels to help address problems related to low T. For men with low T, the benefits of these injections can include:
- an increased sex drive
- improved symptoms of ED
- more energy
- improved mood
- an increased sperm count
Men generally have less body fat than women. This is partly related to testosterone, which regulates fat distribution and muscle maintenance in your body. With low T, you’ll likely notice an increase in body fat, especially around your midsection.
Your hormones also help regulate muscle growth. So, with low T, you may feel like you’re losing muscle size or strength. However, this only occurs if your low T is prolonged and severe.
Testosterone shots can help regulate fat distribution, but you shouldn’t expect significant weight changes from hormone therapy alone. As for muscle maintenance, testosterone therapy has been found to help increase muscle mass, but not strength.
Low sperm count is a common side effect of low T. This problem can make it difficult if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant. However, if low T is to blame for problems with conception, don’t count on testosterone injections to help. Testosterone therapy can itself lead to reduced sperm counts, especially at high doses.