Infertility tests are meant to establish the reason why a couple is not able to conceive naturally. Hormone testing can be performed both in men and women. Hormonal problems in men are accountable for up to 5 percent of the cases of men that are infertile. Overall, 20 to 30 percent of the cases of infertility are due to a problem with the male partner.
Hormonal Testing for Men
Testosterone levels should be measured when hormonal testing is performed. Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the brain and will affect the sperm production. In addition to testosterone, there are also other hormones that may also be produced that control the production and formation of sperm. However, testosterone is considered the most important in sperm production.
How a Low Level of Hormones Can Influence Fertility
Male fertility may be affected by a wide range of environmental factors as well as diet and personal history. The production of hormones is highly important when it comes to determining the quality and quantity of sperm cells that are produced. For instance, a low level of testosterone will affect the production of sperm negatively and the couple may have difficulties in conceiving. However, the testosterone may also influence the development of the sexual organs and may cause a physiological problem if it occurs when the patient is in his developmental years.
Normal Hormonal Levels
The normal hormonal levels in men are entirely defined and may vary according to age and other factors. However, when a man has levels of testosterone of 300 ng/dL or lower, he is considered to have a testosterone deficiency.
The hormone testing should be performed in the morning, as the results are most relevant at that time. In some cases, several tests will be performed over several days, to get more conclusive results. A man that has low testosterone levels may present some symptoms such as:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decreased bone density
- Resistance to exercising
- Poor memory
- Lack of libido
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The levels of male hormones produced in the body will decline with aging. However, the levels of sexual hormones may also be affected by other factors and there may be low levels of testosterone even in young patients.
Whether men need a hormone replacement therapy as they get older is still under debate. However, men that are trying to conceive and fail to do so due to low levels of sexual hormones should get a hormone replacement therapy. The therapy will enhance the couple's chances of conceiving. The therapy is administered through injections or patches that may be worn on the skin. There are some gels and pills as well.
Side Effects of Hormone Therapy
A man that is under hormone therapy may experience side effects such as:
- Acne and oily skin
- Sleep apnea
- Hair thinning or hair loss