Hormones serve as chemical messengers for your body. You can think of hormones as musical conductors signaling your body to keep its complex systems playing in harmony. When your hormones are balanced, the music plays beautifully. However, when the hormone levels drop in your body, the tempo can become quite flat. Testosterone is a sex hormone that works to boost sex drive and arousal in both men and women, so an imbalance of testosterone can often leave your sexual vitality playing a much more mellow tune.
Testosterone is the best-known sex hormone among its hormone class, called androgens. While testosterone is often thought of predominantly as a male hormone, it is also heavily involved in female sexual responses. Similarly, estrogen isn’t simply a female hormone, it also serves important functions in men. However, these hormones are found in much higher levels within their respective sexes. Testosterone influences many physiological functions in both men and, women but its primary role involves its influence on sex drive.
Testosterone’s Role in Men
In men, testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced in the testicles and is responsible for a variety of bodily processes and characteristics, including facial and body hair, muscle mass, sex drive, sperm production, and bone health.
In a man’s lifetime, his testosterone levels are at their highest in his late teens, after which they slowly begin to decline. According to the American Urological Association, about 2 out of 10 men older than 60 years have low testosterone. As men continue to age, lower testosterone production becomes increasingly common, with 3 out of 10 men showing low testosterone in their 70s and 80s.
The decline in testosterone production can often be attributed to andropause, which is frequently compared to female menopause. Men can feel the effects of aging just as strongly as women experience the drop in hormone levels during menopause; although, these hormonal changes tend to occur more gradually in men. Andropause typically begins in the late 30s to early 40s, so by the time a man begins his 70s, he may be producing as little as a third of his previous testosterone levels. When testosterone levels drop in men, they can experience weight gain, muscle and tone loss, increased risk of bone fractures, and decreased sexual arousal.
Testosterone’s Role in Women
Women also require testosterone; however, they need far less than men. Men tend to produce fifteen to forty times more testosterone than women! Men and women also differ in how they produce testosterone. Whereas men produce testosterone in the testes and adrenal glands, women produce testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands.
Women also experience a decrease in testosterone as they age. Alongside the various other disruptions caused by menopause, women can often experience symptoms stemming from lower testosterone production. During menopause, the ovaries produce fewer hormones overall. While menopause is typically associated with the well-known female hormones estrogen and progesterone, women also experience lower testosterone production. In women, testosterone plays a key role in producing estrogen, regulating mood, maintaining muscle mass, and driving libido.
Declining Sex Drive in Men
As testosterone plays a key role in libido in men, some men may experience a significant decline in sex drive as they age. While testosterone isn’t the only factor contributing to male libido, someone with low testosterone will likely experience a more drastic drop in their desire to have sex.
Just as low levels of testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction, testosterone has a strong effect on sex drive in men. Sex drive in men starts with the release of testosterone, which is signaled by reduced levels of the hormone available to stimulate the nerves in the brain. Once testosterone is released into the bloodstream, the hormone induces sexual desire. However, aging testes are less responsive to the signal to produce testosterone, resulting in lower testosterone levels and reduced arousal.
Declining Sex Drive in Women
Once a woman is in menopause, her ovaries stop releasing eggs and produce significantly fewer amounts of sex hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all play significant roles in female arousal and sex drive. While we primarily think of estrogen imbalance during menopause, the overall reduction in all of these sex hormones contributes to the reduced sex drive that many older women experience.
In particular, testosterone serves to heighten sexual response and orgasms in women. With the loss of sexual vitality that accompanies testosterone imbalance, women can tend to experience a decrease in libido.
Remedy at Dr. Randolph’s
If you’re experiencing a loss of sex drive, we recommend that you have your hormone levels checked. We prescribe bioidentical formulations at the Ageless and Wellness Medical Center to help you restore your deficient hormone levels and recapture these natural benefits. With optimal levels of testosterone, you can benefit from increased energy, reduced fat, a healthy sex drive, and a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels.