At various points in men’s lives, they go through changes in their testosterone levels. The most significant boost comes with puberty, between the ages of 12 and 16 for most boys, and most men’s testosterone levels decrease with age.
However, while testosterone is usually seen as a positive thing to have, some men have too much. This can cause unique complications and difficulties but fortunately, it’s easy to spot.
Not familiar with the signs of high testosterone in men? Then you’re in the right place!
We’ve put together this handy guide on the effects of high testosterone levels and easy-to-spot signs of men with high testosterone. Read on to find out more!
What Does Testosterone Do to Your Body?
Testosterone is a hormone that both men and women produce, although many people know it as the ‘masculine’ hormone because it plays a big role in men’s bodies during puberty. Men also produce much higher levels of testosterone than women do.
Men produce it in their testes and in their adrenal glands, which are just above the kidneys. Most men’s testosterone levels peak in their early twenties and then gradually decline throughout life.
Because of this, the average level ranges from 270 ng/dL to 1070 ng/dL, although between 400 and 600 ng/dL is considered a healthy testosterone level. This hormone helps with a range of functions in your body. These include:
- Growth spurts
- Deepening of the voice during puberty
- Growth of pubic, facial, and underarm hair
- Sex drive and reproductive health
- Production of red blood cells
- Fat distribution
- Muscle strength
- Bone density
- Mood regulation
- Cognitive abilities, such as memory and mental processing
Because of this, having a healthy level of testosterone in your body comes with plenty of benefits. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Benefits of Having Plenty of Testosterone
As you can see, testosterone has a huge effect on multiple areas of your body. This means that maintaining healthy levels can have a big impact on your health and the way you live in general.
Having plenty of testosterone helps you to build and maintain muscle mass and reduce your percentage of stomach fat. This means that you will look and feel great.
Speaking of feeling great, having low levels of testosterone has also been linked with depression and anxiety. These conditions both have a huge impact on your quality of life and can be extremely debilitating. That is why combatting them with hormone therapy can help in the long run.
Your testosterone levels also play a key role in managing and maintaining your sex drive, or libido. A 2015 study showed that men who boosted their testosterone levels from 230 to 500 experienced a marked improvement in their sex drive. On top of this, having healthy levels of testosterone can help to reduce erectile dysfunction which will improve your sex life to no end!
Your testosterone levels can also have a big impact on your cognitive functions, which means they affect how your brain works. Because of this, having healthy levels in your body improves your memory and spatial awareness. It can help with mathematical reasoning and reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
Because of this, you might be wondering, can you have too much testosterone? Surely these benefits will only increase with more testosterone? However, this is not always the case.
Some men find that they have too much testosterone in their bodies. When this happens there are usually some telltale signs. Let’s take a look at some of these and why they happen.
1. Changes in Your Body Hair
During puberty, testosterone plays a key role in the growth of hair on your face, under your arms, and around your genitals. Your testosterone levels decrease over time meaning that the rate of hair growth should slow down with time.
This means that you will still be able to grow a beard or have pubic hair, for example, but it will not get out of control. However, if your testosterone levels are above average or peak in later life this can affect your hair growth.
You may notice that you get new patches of body hair coming through in areas where you didn’t have them before. Or you may find that your hair is growing faster than usual.
While this isn’t the worst problem in the world to deal with, it can be an indication that your testosterone levels are higher than they need to be.
Unfortunately, some men with high testosterone levels experience the opposite problem. In this case, it can spark early male pattern balding, which means you lose some of your precious head hair.
This does happen to some men with time regardless of their hormone levels. However, if you do not have a family history of male pattern balding and live a relatively stress-free life, it is worth considering the cause. If you do have high levels of testosterone, getting these in check could help you to reduce your hair loss.
Most teenagers suffer from acne at one point or another, but for some, it’s really bad. However, your acne usually calms down over time and fewer adults suffer from it. One of the key reasons for this relates to your testosterone levels.
Testosterone has a stimulating effect on your oil glands as it travels through your body. Because of this, high levels will produce more oil than usual and this can have a big effect on your skin.
It means that the pores in your skin become clogged much more easily, and when this happens, you get spots. It also means that the skin cells around your hair follicles become much more sticky and get clogged as well. On top of this, testosterone encourages the production of sebum in your body, which plays a big role in triggering acne.
When your hormone levels are healthy this doesn’t cause too much of a problem. The increase in oil production is manageable and you don’t see a difference in your skin.
However, when your testosterone levels peak, as they do during puberty, this can be too much for your skin to manage in one go. That is why acne, especially during later life, may be a sign of high testosterone levels.
If you find yourself experiencing this, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor and look into other contributing factors for adult acne. These include:
- Environmental irritation
- Emotional stress
- Changes in diet
- New medication
- Exposure to new bacteria
- Physical stress
- Family and medical history
If you can eliminate these causes, it may be that your testosterone levels are higher than average.
3. Changes in Your Sexual Health
As we’ve already discussed, low levels of testosterone can harm your sexual health. This can contribute to erectile dysfunction, low libido, or a low sperm count.
Because of this, many people assume that having more testosterone means that you will have a higher sex drive. However, this is not that case. Too much testosterone in men can have similar effects to too little!
This is because your testosterone sits in a fine balance with another hormone. This is called follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH. FSH is the hormone that stimulates sperm production in your testes.
When your testosterone levels are healthy—not too low or too high—this balance remains fine and sperm production continues as normal for your body. However, too much testosterone means that the production of FSH decreases. As a result, your production of healthy sperm will also decrease.
Lowering your testosterone levels so that they sit inside the healthy margins (between 400 and 600 ng/dL) can help to increase your sperm count.
4. Mood Swings
As with low testosterone levels, high levels of testosterone can be responsible for changes in your mood and your ability to focus. This is because your hormone levels have a huge impact on your cognitive function.
Throughout your brain, there are testosterone receptors. These receptors feed off healthy levels of testosterone in your bloodstream.
They help with mood regulation and verbal memory. When they receive a healthy level of testosterone they can function normally.
However, too much testosterone can overstimulate these receptors. This means that they no longer function in the way that they should.
As a result of this, high testosterone signs can include a change in your mood or behavior. This can result in suffering from:
- Low self-esteem
- Impaired judgments and decision making
- Periods of extreme euphoria
A lot of people also associate high levels of testosterone with an increase in aggressive behavior. This may be a result of increased levels of irritability or impaired decision making. However, there is little scientific evidence to link testosterone directly with aggressive behavior.
5. Increase in Appetite and Weight Gain
When we think about food, often we just think about what we fancy eating and what is good for us. It feels like a decision that is controlled by our minds, not our bodies. However, this is rarely the case.
Two hormones play a key role in managing your appetite and the types of foods you crave. These are ghrelin and leptin, otherwise known as the hunger hormones. The one we need to focus on is ghrelin.
Ghrelin is produced in your stomach and is responsible for sending hunger signals to your brain. This increases before a meal and decreases after you have eaten.
So how does this relate to testosterone? Well, there is a clear link between your testosterone levels and your production of ghrelin. Higher levels of testosterone in your blood mean you are more likely to experience high levels of ghrelin in your stomach.
This is fine if your testosterone levels are healthy—it means that you will produce a healthy about of ghrelin. However, if your testosterone levels are too high you may notice an increase in your appetite. Because of this, you may also notice that you gain weight when your hormone levels are above average.
Some men find that high levels of testosterone increases their chances of suffering from sleep apnea and disturbed sleep. This often affects older men rather than younger ones.
This may fluctuate in the same way that your hormones do, and it can also cause adrenal fatigue if it goes on for a long period of time.
One of the biggest downsides of insomnia for men with high testosterone levels is that it creates a vicious cycle. Sleep deprivation can cause more fluctuations in your hormones and increase your chance of insomnia. This is why it is important to get your hormones healthily balanced as soon as possible.
7. Fluid Retention
Another common sign of high testosterone levels in men is fluid retention. This happens if your testosterone levels upset your body’s hydration balance.
Your diet and fluid intake can also have an effect on your water retention, so make sure that these are in check as well.
Most men who experience water retention find that this affects their body and legs, rather than their arms or face. This is something that affects older men more than younger men.
Fluid retention can come on gradually making it hard to spot at first. One of the key places to look is around your socks or any clothing lines that pinch your skin. If you take your socks off and find that there is an imprint of them, this could be a sign that your body is retaining fluid.
Keep Watch for Signs of High Testosterone in Men
Low testosterone levels aren’t the only thing that can affect your body. That’s why it is important to keep your hormone levels within the healthy margins of 400 and 600 ng/dL. You should also keep an eye out for any of these signs of high testosterone in men.
For more help getting your hormones in check, get in touch today to discuss your options.