Men with low testosterone levels can have issues that can hurt their lifestyle. Recognize the signs early to make changes that’ll help your health.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays a role in male physical and mental health. It affects sex drive, energy, bone strength, and muscle size.
This guide explains how to spot the signs of low testosterone in men. Plus, it covers how to prevent and treat testosterone deficiency.
Causes of Low Testosterone
Testosterone levels that are low in males can cause many physical and mental health issues. Signs of low testosterone in men are a decrease in muscle mass, feeling tired, low libido and depression. These signs can be from different causes such as getting older, decisions in life and sickness.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes for low testosterone:
Aging causes men to produce less testosterone. From age thirty, testosterone levels drop gradually. Up to two hundred million men have Age-related Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD). Symptoms include low libido and fatigue, affecting quality of life.
Males have highest testosterone in adolescence. Between twelve and sixteen, testosterone spikes, lasting until adulthood. After this peak, production declines with age until thirty years old or beyond. Stressors like cold exposure or job stress can cause further decline from twenty-five.
Lifestyle factors like poor diet, excess fat, and sedentary jobs can accelerate declining testosterone in middle age. To maintain an optimal level of testosterone, healthy habits must be kept. This is essential for general health, and aged-related deficiency syndrome (TD).
Chronic illnesses, like diabetes and kidney disease, can cause low testosterone. Diabetes decreases male androgen production, thus lowering testosterone. Imbalances in the renal function system from diabetes can also lead to toxic substances building up in the body, further decreasing testosterone. Other conditions like mumps and undescended testicles may also cause less hormone production. HIV/AIDS, anemia, cirrhosis, and multiple sclerosis may also reduce testosterone. Diseases which harm nerve tissue or reduce metabolic activities can reduce testosterone, leading to fatigue, low libido, and decreased muscle mass.
If you experience symptoms suggesting low testosterone, it is best to seek medical help. Medical professionals may suggest testing for hormonal imbalances.
Certain meds and treatments can reduce testosterone levels. Chemo or radiation can be a cause. Steroids can also stop the body producing natural hormones. Diuretics can reduce testosterone too. Meds for HIV, depression, prostate or testicular cancer can have the same effect. Surgery for those cancers may also lower testosterone due to the removal of reproductive organs and glands.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Hypogonadism, or low testosterone, is a condition that many men experience as they age. It can cause numerous alterations, such as decreased muscle mass and shifts in mood. It is vital to understand the signs of low testosterone to be able to get help if required. Here, we will analyze the symptoms of low testosterone in men.
Testosterone levels dropping can lead to a man’s sex drive decreasing. This is called low libido or HSDD. The main symptom of this is losing interest in activities that used to bring pleasure, like sexual activities.
Receptors that are involved in sexual arousal may also be less sensitive. So, even when exposed to sexually suggestive material, men may not react.
Other symptoms of low libido include stress and fatigue. These can cause erectile dysfunction and weak orgasms. Stress can also increase cortisol levels. This can make the situation worse by inhibiting gonadal receptor activity, which can further lower testosterone levels.
Research shows that more than 40% of men attending clinics for low libido have low testosterone.
Low testosterone can cause fatigue and lack of energy in men. People with low levels often feel tired for long periods, lack motivation and can’t move like they used to.
Other signs of low testosterone are:
- Reduced physical performance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory lapses
- Slower reaction times
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Easily overwhelmed by tasks
- Low motivation
- Depression or “male blues”
- Low life satisfaction
- Low ambition
The cause of fatigue due to low testosterone depends on severity and other factors such as age or lifestyle. Common causes include:
- Decrease in production from Leydig cells
- Imbalance between hormones
- Increase in cortisol production
- Damage to organs like the kidneys or liver.
Weight gain can be an indication of low testosterone in men. When testosterone levels decrease, fat storage can increase, even if weight gain does not occur. This is due to how low testosterone impacts how fat is formed and placed in the body.
Too much belly fat – known as central obesity – can cause health issues like heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Thus, men with weight gain or obesity should get tested for testosterone deficiency.
Low testosterone affects men in many ways. One sign is hair loss. Testosterone helps create hormones that make hair follicles grow and stay healthy. So, low levels of it mean thinning hair in the hairline and crown. It can also lead to changes in texture and curl pattern. Men may even find more hair in their comb as they brush or style it.
Mood changes can indicate low testosterone in men. For example, sudden mood swings and bursts of anger or irritability. Additionally, feeling tense, unhappy, lacking motivation and enthusiasm for activities that used to bring joy. Low testosterone also affects cognitive functioning, leading to foggy thinking, poor concentration, forgetfulness and slow reactions. This can cause difficulty with work, or reduced performance in sports. Low sex drive is also likely to be present, leading to decreased sexual activity with partners.
It is recommended to seek medical attention if symptoms persist, so that the underlying cause can be identified and addressed through laboratory tests, medications and/or supplements to restore testosterone levels to normal.
Diagnosis of Low Testosterone
Men with low testosterone levels may experience a variety of issues. These can include fatigue, sexual dysfunction and muscle loss. However, they can be difficult to spot due to their subtlety. To see if you may have low testosterone, it’s important to note the signs and symptoms.
Let us take a look at what to look out for when diagnosing low testosterone:
For diagnosing low testosterone, a doctor needs to review your medical history, examine your symptoms, and order a blood test. It’s important to note that testosterone levels change throughout the day. So, it’s helpful to have your levels tested at different times.
The most common type of test is Total Testosterone. It measures both free testosterone and those bound to proteins. The results are in ng/dL. To get the best results, this test should be done twice, with 8-12 hours between each one. This is called the “morning & afternoon challenge“.
If more information is needed, other tests may be done, such as SHBG and LH. These can show potential problems related to male reproductive health. Additional tests might include serum creatinine, BMP, and fasting glucose. This depends on the person’s health presentation.
Your doctor may do a physical exam as the first step to find out the potential causes of low testosterone levels. They will likely ask questions regarding changes to your health, such as body weight or stress levels. Plus, they will check physical signs, like decrease in muscle mass or testicular shrinkage.
Besides that, they may do a few physical tests, such as:
- Checking body fat percentage to see if it’s too high or low.
- Measuring waist circumference to check for insulin resistance.
- Listening to blood flow with a stethoscope to check heart and circulation problems.
- Testing reflexes and coordination to see if there’s any underlying condition.
Treatment of Low Testosterone
Low Testosterone, or Low T, is a problem for many men over 40. It can cause issues such as fatigue, weight gain, depression, and erectile dysfunction. To feel better, it is important to know what treatments are available. Here, we will explain treatments, the good and bad, and the risks.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a form of medical treatment. It replaces hormones that are not in the body due to age, illness, or treatments like chemo.
For low testosterone levels, synthetic hormones are used to bring levels back to normal. There are two main types of HRT: topical and injectable testosterone.
Topical testosterone usually comes as a gel or patch. It is applied to the skin and absorbed into the bloodstream. Injectible testosterone is given as small shots, every two to four weeks.
The hormones used are bioidentical. This means they are exactly like the ones found in the human body. They have fewer side effects than non-bioidentical hormones.
Side effects of HRT can include:
- increased blood pressure
- water retention
- decreased sperm production
- and a lowered libido.
Long-term use and high doses can cause more serious side effects. Medication interactions, heart disease, and prostate cancer in men over 65 may happen. Women should not use HRT. It may increase breast cancer risk and cause unwanted changes to the ovaries.
Before deciding if HRT is right for you, talk to your doctor.
Increasing testosterone levels in men is often done with supplements. These provide essential vitamins, minerals, herbs and amino acids, like B6 and D, zinc, magnesium, cordyceps, fenugreek, tribulus terrestris, saw palmetto, maca root, and L-arginine. Talk to your healthcare provider first, to make sure it’s safe and effective.
Besides supplements, lifestyle changes can help too. Eating lean proteins and healthy fats, exercising, getting quality sleep, managing stress, practicing relaxation, limiting alcohol and using herbal remedies can all be beneficial. Behavioral therapies may also help identify causes of low testosterone and improve self-esteem or relationships.
Low testosterone can have bad consequences for a man. It’s good to know the symptoms, like:
- less interest in sex
- erectile issues
- less muscle
- boob growth
- mood swings
- less body hair.
Stay healthy by not smoking, drinking less, and exercising. A balanced diet with zinc and magnesium can help too.
If treatment is needed, talk to a doctor about the best approach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are common signs of low testosterone in men?
A: Common signs of low testosterone in men include decreased energy levels, decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and mood changes.
Q: How is low testosterone diagnosed in men?
A: Low testosterone can be diagnosed through a blood test that measures the amount of testosterone in the body.
Q: Can low testosterone be treated?
A: Yes, low testosterone can be treated with hormone replacement therapy, which can help increase testosterone levels in the body.
Q: Are there any risks associated with hormone replacement therapy?
A: Yes, there are risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and prostate cancer. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy.
Q: Can lifestyle changes help improve testosterone levels?
A: Yes, some lifestyle changes that may help improve testosterone levels include exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress levels.
Q: Can low testosterone affect mental health?
A: Yes, low testosterone can affect mental health and may lead to mood changes such as depression, irritability, and fatigue.