Endogenous androgens are responsible for normal growth and development of the male sex organs and for maintenance of secondary sex characteristics. These effects include growth and maturation of the prostate , seminal vesicles , penis , and scrotum ; development of male hair distribution, such as beard , pubic, chest, and axillary hair; laryngeal enlargement, vocal cord thickening, and alterations in body musculature and fat distribution. Drugs in this class also cause retention of nitrogen , sodium, potassium , and phosphorous, and decreased urinary excretion of calcium. Androgens have been reported to increase protein anabolism and decrease protein catabolism . Nitrogen balance is improved only when there is sufficient intake of calories and protein.
Beyond decreased sperm production, another repercussion you don't see in the pop-up window ads asking "Is it low T?" is dependence: Once you begin taking testosterone, it's very difficult to stop because the body accommodates for the extra hormone and slows its natural production of it. In reality, replacing hormones is a lifelong commitment. Perhaps that's why some doctors are counseling patients to use caution and to look for other solutions before signing on for full testosterone therapy. Others see the gradual decrease in testosterone as a natural form of aging that we can combat by building muscle and reducing stress, even while we accept it and learn to live with it.