In recent years, the medical community has begun to pay extra close attention to the various health problems that are generated by or related to hormonal deficiencies in both men and women. Men are especially susceptible to fluctuations in their testosterone levels. Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone is essential to your husband’s sexual function and fertility. Correctly understanding how changes to your man’s testosterone levels will affect him, both physically and emotionally, will allow you to better assess the probability of conceiving a child.
WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Androgens are naturally occurring steroid hormones which play a crucial role in the development of male characteristics and reproductive organs. The formation of the penis, prostate, seminal vesicles, vas deferens, and epididymis, is highly dependent on androgenic activity. Furthermore, all androgenic hormones are virtually required for your husband’s sexual function and the quality of his fertile capacity.
Several androgens are circulating in the male body at any one time, but the three major ones are Androstenedione, Dihydrotestosterone, and Testosterone. Each particular androgen has a specific role to play; however, generally speaking, they all function as steroids.
Testosterone is the primary androgen and anabolic steroid, which means that it exerts the most influence on your husband’s reproductive health. In fact, testosterone began to affect your husband before he was born. The first masculinizing influence is exerted on the fetus when it experiences the development of the testes and penis. The entire pubertal transformation was also entirely regulated by the presence of testosterone. As an adult, your husband is highly dependent on this powerful hormone; in fact, even his ability to aggregate blood platelets during any healing process is mediated by it.
Testosterone will play a crucial role in your husband’s life until the day of his death. Which is why having insufficient levels of testosterone is a serious medical issue with the capacity to his quality of life and the probability that you become pregnant.
HOW MUCH TESTOSTERONE IS TOO LITTLE?
Total testosterone levels in the body of a healthy adult male can range from 260 ng/dL to just over 900 ng/dL. Your husband’s exact numbers will depend on several factors, and will generally fluctuate within this range without the appearance of any adverse effects. Once his levels fall below 260 ng/dL, then medical assistance will be needed.
Testosterone synthesis is a highly complex process that is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. It begins in the hypothalamus region of the brain that links the nervous system to the endocrine system. The hypothalamus secretes Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which stimulates the pituitary gland into secreting Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone. These two hormones will then stimulate the testes to synthesize testosterone. When testosterone levels drop below a certain threshold, the entire process begins anew. Any alteration to this process will throw your husband’s testosterone levels way off and if this happens the subsequent development of various conditions.
WHAT CAN CAUSE MY HUSBAND’S TESTOSTERONE LEVELS TO DROP?
There are possible factors that can significantly affect your husband’s testosterone production. Some are unfortunately wholly unavoidable. For example, as men age their testosterone levels naturally drop; in fact, past a certain age, men begin to experience a sort of menopause called late-onset hypogonadism. Other factors are benign and entirely under your husbands’ control. For example, the amount of exercise in which he participates. The more physically active he is, the more testosterone his body will naturally produce. Resistance training and weight lifting are more likely to increase his testosterone than endurance exercises. Sedentary men generally have lower testosterone levels than active men. In tune with this factor, we find that body weight affects testosterone levels, and a significant weight gain can drop your husband’s testosterone levels dramatically. His nutrition, quality of sleep, and even stress management capabilities are all factors to keep in mind if you suspect his testosterone levels are low. The long-term side-affects of Low Testosterone can be devastating for men trying to become fathers!
Because the process behind testosterone secretion is so complicated, many other more insidious factors could be to blame if your husband’s testosterone levels drop below normal. For example, diseases such as pituitary disorders, inflammatory conditions, HIV/AIDS, can all drop his testosterone. Physical damage to his testicles and some medications can also do the trick.
DOES LOW TESTOSTERONE MEAN LOW SPERM COUNT?
Yes, it does.
Having sufficient intra-testicular testosterone is mandatory for complete quantitative and qualitative spermatogenesis. In other words, testosterone is needed for the maintenance of sperm production. Having low testosterone levels will most definitely impact your husband’s ability to get you pregnant. It is important to note that having low testosterone does not make your husband infertile. The number of his spermatozoids will typically not be affected by his testosterone levels; only the quantity will be.
Testicles must be directly exposed to testosterone levels that are up to 100 times greater than that found in blood in order to efficiently produce sperm. Therefore, sperm production will be one of the first bodily functions to be affected if our husband’s testosterone levels fall off below a certain threshold. Low testosterone will not only drop your husband’s sperm count, but it will also severely diminish his sex drive and potentially cause erectile dysfunction. You and your husband will be having less sex; and when you do, his lower sperm count will make it exponentially more challenging to achieve conception.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Having low testosterone is extremely common. The pace of modern life and exposure to environmental contaminants, only exacerbate the issue. Some studies suggest that an incredible 25% of the male population above 30 suffers from abnormally low levels of testosterone. Alarmingly, low testosterone is often overlooked, and most symptoms are erroneously attributed to other conditions. If you notice that your husband’s libido is lower than average, has less frequent erections, a reduction in muscle mass suddenly gains weight, complains about fatigue, it might be beneficial to both of you to talk to a doctor and have him tested. If his tests confirm a low testosterone count, his doctor will usually prescribe some form of hormone replacement therapy.
In the meantime, there are several methods and lifestyle adjustments you can try that might be enough to get your husband’s testosterone production up to par. For example, adjusting his diet to include more zinc, will improve your husband’s sperm count, motility, and quality. Have him cut back on fatty foods, coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol, to improve his health and fertility. Tell him to exercise regularly and help him to cope with stress if that is a factor.
Last, but certainly not least, there are various testosterone enhancement supplements available on the market. Some of these are based on natural herbs that are highly beneficial to fertility. For example, Yohimbine and Saw Palmetto are fantastic natural remedies that will help your husband’s testosterone levels climb back up. Other synthetic testosterone boosters will also boost and support your husband’s natural endocrine system. After using these products, your husband will have a higher sexual appetite, enjoy firmer and longer lasting erections, and have a much higher chance of getting you pregnant.
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