The Relationship between Low Testosterone and ED - Alpha Male Nation
The Relationship between Low Testosterone and ED – Does It Exist?
Contrary to popular opinion, chances are that low testosterone isn’t the cause of your erectile dysfunction (ED). As a matter-of-fact, if you take a look at every case of ED, endocrine issues are the least likely culprit.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the principal sex hormone responsible for the development of male characteristics (deeper voice, more body hair, etc.) and reproductive function, in men. It’s produced by the testes, with small amounts secreted by the adrenal gland.
The testicles are just a small piece of a larger network of glands that secrete hormones to regulate the body’s normal functioning. This network includes the pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and more.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
There exist various components that factor into the production and regulation of the body’s testosterone production. In turn, there is no one disorder that causes low testosterone across the board. Here are the most commonly seen causes:
- Alcoholism or liver cirrhosis
- Testicular dysfunction or loss of testicles
- Infection, injury, chemotherapy or radiation affecting the testicles.
- Hemochromatosis (too much iron)
- Medication (including prescription medication)
- Genetic abnormalities, such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome.
- Undescended testicles
- Mumps orchitis
This is not a list of every reason in the book but is rather to help you visualize just how many various disorders can cause low testosterone. The most common cause of ED is reduced blood flow to the penis due to chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries.
Psychological issues like depression, anxiety, and relationship issues are also possible causes of ED. So are multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, chronic back pain, and other neurological conditions. It is important to be seen by a doctor to address these concerns and to treat any underlying cause of ED. If it goes undiagnosed, then you will not be able to properly cure it.
Why Did We Assume Low Testosterone is the Cause of Erectile Dysfunction?
Not so long ago, medicine was primarily based on observation, and certainly not as much was known about the body and certain disorders. One associated symptom with the commonly seen disorders.
- As men age, their test levels lower. As men get older, the prevalence of erectile dysfunction grows higher.
- Castration (the removal of the testicles) typically results in a drastic drop in sexual function.
- Sexual function (typically) goes back to normal levels in castrated men after additional testosterone is supplemented.
In the developmental stages of western medicine, as we know it, the above points caused physicians to correlate low testosterone as being the cause of ED. Logically, it made sense, but it was not accurate. Consequently, doctors tried many different methods of supplying testosterone to the body. Some are more brutal than others.
In 1920 Serge Voronoff transplanted chimpanzee testes into men in hopes to improve sexual function. This was done after he discovered that injecting ground-up dog and guinea pig testicles under his own skin. Although he meant well, it may be best that his career didn’t go much further (also to the obvious joy of dogs and guinea pigs).
In the 1940’s, there was a breakthrough, and synthetic testosterone was developed. It was consistently one of the most popular treatments for ED, until recently. Despite its popularity, there weren’t many positive results, and little evidence to show. It wasn’t until the 1990s when sildenafil (Viagra) dropped onto the market, did they stop prescribing synthetic T. Despite all of this, the common misconception correlating low testosterone with ED exists.
Can Low Testosterone Cause ED?
As erections are testosterone dependent, the answer is “yes”; however, it is not a rule.
The truth is, many men suffer from both low testosterone and erectile dysfunction simultaneously, without one being the cause of the other.
It’s confusing, but let us explain. Research has proven that a man must have a significantly low testosterone level for it to affect his erectile function. However, men do not require normal adult quantities of testosterone for a healthy erection.
In addition to that, the normal process of aging typically results in declining testosterone levels, but clinically this doesn’t seem to be a cause of lessened sexual function in this demographic of men. If aging men do have decreased testosterone, it can be dealt with through supplementing testosterone. Although, as previously mentioned, the erectile function may not necessarily increase by adding supplemental testosterone.
For men who already possess healthy levels of testosterone in order to achieve and keep a healthy erection, additional supplementation of testosterone beyond this baseline minimum does not show to improve sexual function.
Treatment of Low Testosterone
If a patient has low testosterone levels, first, try to raise testosterone through natural methods. This means reducing weight and stress and managing any underlying conditions that are causing the low testosterone. It is important, first, to begin by attempting to correct the source of the issue and bring the body’s systems back into balance, before moving on to the next step.
If it ends up not working, Chinese medicine stimulates both the production of testosterone and assists the body to become more susceptible to its effects. As a last resort, if the body has no reliable way of producing testosterone (such as severely damaged testicles), the exogenous pharmaceutical testosterone supplementation will be necessary. Make sure to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have.