Testosterone is a hormone responsible for all the distinguishing characteristics attributed to a male body. It is mainly produced by the testis. In addition, adrenal glands, one located above each kidney as well as ovaries in females produce small quantities of testosterone. Chemically testosterone is derived from cholesterol.
Testosterone Production at Different Points in Life
Testosterone production starts in the womb of a mother. In childhood, the testosterone production stops and practically no testosterone is produced for up to twelve years of age. Afterward, testosterone production starts again around puberty and lasts through most of the middle age. It starts to decline after 40 and it is usually by the age of 80 that your testosterone production reduces significantly.
Functions of Testosterone During Fetal Life
Testosterone production begins between the second and fourth month of intrauterine life. It is aimed to perform the following functions in the fetus.
- Sex differentiation of fetus
- Development of accessory sex organs and external genitalia
- Descent of testis
Functions of Testosterone in Adult Life
Testosterone exerts following important functions in adult life.
Testosterone brings about eight to ten-fold increase in the size of male sex organs such as penis and testis after puberty. In addition, it is also required for the successful production of sperms.
Secondary Sexual Characters
The secondary sexual characters that help to distinguish males from females develop under the influence of testosterone and are summarized below.
The 50% increase in the muscle mass observed after puberty occurs in response to testosterone hormone. It is because; testosterone enhances the synthesis of proteins by increasing the transport of amino acids to the muscles cells. It also decreases the breakdown of proteins.
The ability of testosterone to enhance the synthesis of proteins as well as deposition of calcium in the bones improves the strength as well as the size of the bone.
Male Pattern Hair Distribution
The male pattern hair growth i.e appearance of hairs on the face, over the pubic region, back and chest after puberty occur in response to testosterone.
Change in Voice
Testosterone at puberty increases the size of laryngeal muscles. In addition, it also causes thickening of the vocal cords. Together these changes make the voice cracking. Later on, the cracking voice changes into a typical adult male pattern voice.
Changes in Skin
Testosterone increases the thickness of the skin by causing deposition of proteins. It also causes deepening of skin color by increases the deposition of melanin pigment in the skin. Another important point worth mentioning here is that the development of acne occurring at the puberty is also secondary to an increase in secretion of testosterone.
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