November 29, 2015
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Erectile Dysfunction: Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone deficiency introduction

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles and is responsible for the proper development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone is also important for maintaining muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, memory, bone growth, sense of well-being and sexual function.

Inadequate production of testosterone is not a common cause of erectile dysfunction; however, when ED does occur due to decreased testosterone production, testosterone replacement therapy may improve the problem.

What causes testosterone deficiency?

As a man ages, the amount of testosterone in his body gradually declines. This natural decline starts after age 30 and continues throughout life. Other causes of lowered testosterone levels include:

  • Injury, infection, or loss of the testicles.
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
  • Genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter's Syndrome (extra X chromosome).
  • Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the body).
  • Dysfunction of the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain that produces many important hormones).
  • Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation of the lungs).
  • Medications, especially hormones used to treat prostate cancer and corticosteroid drugs.
  • Chronic illness.
  • Chronic kidney failure.
  • Liver cirrhosis.
  • Stress.
  • Alcoholism
  • Chronic pain and use of narcotics for pain contol.
  • HIV and AIDS

The significance of age-related testosterone decline is controversial and poorly understood.

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