Every time I hear the word “testosterone”, the first person that comes to my mind is Austin Powers.  That fictional character is a representation of the sexual revolution that boomed during the” swing” era. Apart from Austin’s representation of the sixties, he also represented the self-assertive alpha male who will do anything not to lose his “mojo”. The word “mojo” may mean a lot of things, but it is definitely a metaphor for the main hormone that makes a man a “MAN”: testosterone.Testosterone is a hormone that’s present in both men and women. However, women have this hormone in very minute quantities. A declining libido and a lack of energy are usually the first two signs that a person’s testosterone levels are decreasing in men. For women, the testosterone level dip causes depression; and this usually happens pre-menopausal.Manifestations of the symptoms vary depending upon the age and stress levels. Be on the lookout for the symptoms below if you are onto your 50’s.

1)      Muscle loss –The medical term for this symptom is muscular “atrophy”. Muscle atrophy occurs faster in men who are less physically active prior to their 50’s. A person’s protein intake also plays a large role in the retention of a person’s muscle by the time he goes beyond his 48th year of age.Testosterone is also a muscle building hormone. That’s why athletes who look forward to getting more muscles take in testosterone supplements to expedite increase in muscle mass.

2)      Reduced Quality of life – Quality of life is a general term which connotes happiness and overall well-being. A person with low testosterone levels will experience a lack of energy. This lack of energy will definitely affect the way a person performs his tasks and daily routines.  Men with below normal levels of testosterone get tired easily. Basketball, football and other contact sports aren’t as enjoyable anymore. In cases like this, men in their 50’ are still urged to at least get 2-3 hours weekof exercise for cardiovascular health and to ward off obesity.

3)      Decreased sexual urges – As harsh as it may sound, but sexual urges won’t be as “raging” as it used to be before a person’s testosterone levels slump down.  On top of a declining libido, inadequate testosterone levels will also cause weak erections. Some men in their 50’s might find it easy to get an erection but will eventually find it difficult to maintain throughout intercourse. Weak erections are due to the inability of the penis to hold the blood inside its tissues. This capability loosens up with age and testosterone inadequacy.

4)      Infertility – Women with low testosterone levels will have ovarian atrophy. This decline n the function of the female ovary render is unable to produce healthy egg cells which are needed by the sperm to produce a successful conception.

5)      Mood Swings occurring more frequently – A person’s mood is affected by the quality of sleep he gets; whether during night or day. Low levels of testosterone, usually causes poor sleep in men and womenin their 50’s. Women encounter hot flushes and men experience night sweats which affect the level of comfort while sleeping.

6)      Depression – Because of the sudden change in the body’s capability to perform tasks , a person may feel inferior in comparison to what his previous self can do: this, depression may set in. It is important for the person who’s undergoing this phase to hang on to the support of his family and friends in order to get through the emotional setback. Likewise, professional help should be sought if depression is already getting in the way of a person’s food intake and sleep-wake cycle.

7)      Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis might sound scary for some, but is very preventable. Testosterone plays a large role in keeping the bones of the human body solid and intact. Once testosterone falls below normal levels, the wasting of the body’s main frame follows. Doctors suggest stacking up in calcium as early as the teenage years to prevent this from happening.