Low testosterone can mean two things. The first is when a man’s body doesn’t make enough of it. The second is when the amount in a man’s body is lower than usual for his age. It’s also known as hypogonadism and it has many different effects on a person’s physical health and quality of life.
Plus, some men have a set of other conditions connected to low testosterone, called partial androgen deficiency in aging males (PADAM). This could mean that symptoms are caused by something other than low-T. A hormone specialist can help figure out the cause.
The most common signs are:
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep issues
- Joint pain
- Changes in muscle mass and body fat
Causes of Low Testosterone
Low-T. That’s what we call low testosterone levels in males. It brings about a range of signs. To comprehend why testosterone drops, we must first comprehend what it is and how it influences the body. That knowledge will help us talk about the numerous causes of low testosterone:
Age is a major cause of low testosterone. It typically drops 1-2% annually after 30. Low testosterone is defined as a total level under 300 ng/dL. This can be caused by issues with the testicles or pituitary gland (hypogonadism). Men may have symptoms when levels are 200-350 ng/dL. Below 300ng/dL, these symptoms become concerning.
Other possible causes of low testosterone include:
- Chronic illness
- Doctor-ordered hormone treatments
- Changes due to aging
- Metabolic changes from stress
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Lifestyle habits such as drinking or smoking
So, to stay healthy, it’s important to get a physical exam and address any underlying conditions.
Obesity is a risk factor for low testosterone in men. It increases body fat which interferes with the body’s use and production of testosterone. This can reduce libido, cause erectile dysfunction, and alter sexual desire.
The primary cause is fat tissue buildup around major organs. This raises estrogen levels compared to testosterone, which creates an imbalance.
Poor circulation can also be a factor. It can limit oxygen supply and slow down testosterone synthesis. It also reduces nutrient delivery, which can lead to cholesterol changes. These changes form lipid deposits around organs like the liver or kidneys, leading to low testosterone.
Stress and overwork can lower testosterone levels. Symptoms may include fatigue, difficulty in building muscle, decreased libido, weak erections and reduced energy. Stress hormones like cortisol cause the brain to release luteinizing hormone (LH). LH tells the testicles to stop making testosterone. So, reducing stress is important to maintain testosterone balance.
Managing stress includes:
- Identifying and removing sources of stress.
- Doing mindful activities such as yoga and meditation.
- Getting 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
- Exercising daily.
- Eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
- Taking dietary supplements with vitamins and minerals to help restore balance. This helps endocrine function and healthy hormone production.
Certain drugs can cause low testosterone in men, for example steroids, opioids, and antidepressants. Drugs for prostate cancer and HIV/AIDS can also lead to reduced testosterone. These drugs stop the production of testosterone, as they block the release or transport of hormones that the male reproductive system needs to work properly.
Hormonal imbalances can come from conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypothyroidism. These are caused by medical conditions or lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, or lack of exercise. In some cases, these conditions need medical help to correct the hormones or fix the underlying cause. Medications taken to treat these conditions could affect the body’s ability to make testosterone, causing low testosterone in men.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Low testosterone levels can have many consequences on your health. Fatigue, reduced muscle mass, low libido and depression are among them. Moreover, you may experience a decline in energy, an increase in body fat, cognitive issues and joint pains.
In this article, we explore the typical signs of low testosterone levels:
- Reduced muscle mass
- Low libido
- Decline in energy
- Increase in body fat
- Cognitive issues
- Joint pains
Most men see a dip in sex drive as they age. But for those with low testosterone, it’s worse. Low libido can dent your self-confidence, relationships, and wellbeing. It often comes with other symptoms such as fatigue and depression, which lower sexual desire even more.
Signs of low libido caused by low testosterone may include:
- Fewer or no spontaneous sexual thoughts
- Less interest in sex or none at all
- Weaker erections
- No morning erections
- Weaker orgasms or less ejaculate
Fatigue is often linked to low testosterone. Men with low T levels can feel tired, lack motivation and even become depressed. This can cause them to reach for unhealthy food. Low testosterone also leads to less muscle mass and strength, making it harder to stay active and fit.
If your energy level is low, it might be a sign of low testosterone. Speak to your doctor about testing options.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Testosterone levels can impact males and females. Men in particular are vulnerable to low amounts in their body. A symptom of this is less muscle mass. Testosterone aids in muscle growth, so when levels are decreased, there is a decrease in muscle mass. This causes weaknesses, lessened physical performance, tiredness, and weight gain from the lack of lean muscle.
If someone desires to expand their muscle mass and strength, then restoring testosterone to healthy levels may be beneficial.
Low testosterone can cause hair loss. Androgens, or male hormones, flow less, so hair follicles become delicate. If your body lacks hormones, thinning of the scalp’s hair is likely. Besides low testosterone, another reason for hair loss is alopecia.
To understand hair loss, talk to a medical professional about hormone levels.
Difficulty concentrating? It may be one of the earliest signs of Low Testosterone (Low-T). Other signs? Difficulty remembering, reduced productivity and an inability to focus. Also, excessive sleeping, irritability and depression. And, persistent fatigue and decreased energy.
Physical symptoms? Decrease in muscle mass, increase in fat around midsection, hot flashes, breast enlargement, ED, diminished sex drive, softer bones. All due to low testosterone levels.
Think you have Low T or other hormonal imbalances? See a doctor. Endocrinologists specialize in hormones. They can assess your hormone state with lab tests and create a tailored treatment plan. For you.
Mood swings? Low testosterone levels may be the culprit. Irritability, frustration, sudden anger, concentration and memory issues, plus changes in sleep patterns like sleeping too much or too little. On top of that, feelings of depression can arise from not being able to do activities once enjoyed.
To check if hormone levels are the cause, regular doctor visits are a must. Identifying underlying issues is key to reclaiming personal wellbeing.
Low-T? Got it! Men, it’s time to be aware. Symptoms of low testosterone can be mild or severe. Recognize them? You should! This section will discuss how to recognize low-T symptoms and how to get an accurate diagnosis.
Get informed and get diagnosed!
Blood tests are the best way to find out your testosterone levels. A sample of blood is taken and sent to the lab for testing. High levels of testosterone are higher than usual, and lower levels are lower than usual.
For a low testosterone diagnosis, a doctor may order several blood tests over days or weeks. They measure total testosterone, free testosterone, and SHBG. The doctor can also check estradiol in men, since high estrogen can cause wrong results. Low testosterone can be caused by other medical conditions or medications that mess with hormone production.
A physical exam might show signs of low testosterone, like
- lower sex drive
- less body/facial hair
- weak bones
- poor concentration
- low energy/strength
Also, extra exams might check for medical conditions like thyroid issues or pituitary gland problems.
A physical exam to diagnose low testosterone may include different procedures. The doctor may check blood pressure, reflexes, and neurological functions to detect any sign of low testosterone. For instance, decreased strength, stamina, or libido can be tested through physical exams.
Moreover, the doctor might order laboratory tests to measure Total Testosterone and Free Testosterone levels. If there are any abnormalities, the doctor may suggest further evaluation, such as testing pituitary function with Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH), or genetic testing if Klinefelter Syndrome is suspected.
The physical exam also includes checking for age-related changes in other organs that could be linked to Low Testosterone, like BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). This is an enlarged prostate in men over 50 years old, which can cause similar Low T symptoms like
- frequent urination
- weak stream
- dribbling at the end of urination
It is important to explore these conditions, as they require different treatments from Low Testosterone issues.
Low testosterone is a common issue in men. It can give rise to several symptoms such as: lack of energy, sleeplessness, reduction in libido, weight gain, and decrease in muscle mass.
Treating low testosterone generally needs hormone replacement or other types of testosterone supplementation. In this article, we’ll look into the various treatments accessible for low testosterone and their results:
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a treatment for Low Testosterone. It’s also called Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). To reduce symptoms and return levels to normal, medications such as injections, gels, implants or patches are used.
Benefits: increased energy and muscle mass, better mood and concentration, improved fat burning ability. Plus, interest in sexual activities can be restored.
Medications: testosterone enanthate, testosterone cypionate, AndroGel® 1%, Testim® 1%.
Risks: acne, high blood pressure and liver dysfunction. Regular check-ups are necessary. Discuss potential risks and benefits with your doctor to make an informed decision.
Diet and Exercise
Diet and exercise are keys to improving testosterone. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs can help. Get regular physical activity to increase testosterone levels.
Fill your plate with green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins like fish and poultry. Limit processed foods and added sugars. Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados regulate hormone production. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish may increase effectiveness of hormones.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 mins of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week spread out over 2 or more days. Also, do 2 days of strength training that targets all major muscles. Physical activity increases hormone production by improving blood flow and storing less fat.
Learning how to manage stress is key for people with low testosterone. This condition can lead to physical, mental and emotional strain. It’s wise to practice a healthy lifestyle that reduces stressors and increases wellbeing.
Recognize what causes you stress. To cope with anxiety, try:
- Talking to friends or family
- Taking some “me time” to focus on yourself
Ensure rest and relaxation each day. Breaks throughout the day will give you a chance to clear your mind and shift focus to productive activities. Don’t fixate on one task that could cause tension or overwhelm you.
In conclusion, be aware of signs and symptoms of low testosterone in men. If any of these occur, it might mean testosterone levels are low. Treatment could be hormone replacement therapy or natural testosterone boosters. Talk to a health care professional about concerns and treatment options, as well as lifestyle changes that could help with overall health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the common symptoms of low testosterone?
A: The common symptoms of low testosterone include decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, and sleep disturbances.
Q: How can I test if I have low testosterone?
A: A blood test is the most reliable way to diagnose low testosterone. Your doctor may also ask you about your symptoms and medical history before ordering the test.
Q: Can low testosterone cause depression?
A: Yes, low testosterone can cause depression. It is a common symptom of low testosterone and can often improve with hormone replacement therapy.
Q: How is low testosterone treated?
A: Low testosterone can be treated with hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle changes, and medications. Your doctor will determine the best treatment based on your medical history and symptoms.
Q: Who is at risk of having low testosterone?
A: Men over the age of 50, overweight or obese individuals, men with type 2 diabetes, and those with a history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy are at a higher risk of having low testosterone.
Q: Are there any natural ways to increase testosterone levels?
A: Yes, there are natural ways to increase testosterone levels such as exercise, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating a healthy diet. However, these methods may not be sufficient for severe cases of low testosterone.