What Are the Functions of Testosterone?

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Testosterone is a hormone that is considered an androgen or male sexual hormone. It is a natural steroid in the body and is produced primarily in the testes, but may also be produced in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. (In women, smaller amounts of testosterone are made in the ovaries.) The production of testosterone is governed primarily by the pituitary gland, which signals the need for additional testosterone by releasing luteinizing hormone, or LH. The functions of testosterone are discussed below.

Handsome man relaxing
Handsome man relaxing (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Fetal Development

Testosterone plays a role in determining the gender of developing fetuses.

Baby boy portrait
Baby boy portrait (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Secondary Sex Characteristics

Testosterone is responsible for the development of a deeper voice, muscle mass, facial hair growth and male genital development at puberty.

Adolescent boys skateboarding
Adolescent boys skateboarding (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Libido

Testosterone contributes to an active sexual drive in both men and women.

Affectionate couple
Affectionate couple (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Metabolism

Testosterone increases the metabolic functions in men, which contribute to faster healing and lower total body fat.

Man mountain biking
Man mountain biking (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Sperm

Testosterone is necessary for sperm to mature and contributes to the overall quality of the sperm.

Microscopic image of Sperm
Microscopic image of Sperm (Image: Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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