Testosterone is an important hormone often related to masculinity. Low T levels – as often known low testosterone levels in men, may bring several subtle signs such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, extreme fatigue, hair loss, mood changes, and memory issues are some of them. Here you will learn 5 signs that you might be suffering from low t, how can be diagnosed, and its treatment
Testosterone is an important hormone commonly related to males, but also produced by women in smaller amounts (1).
This hormone possesses several important functions, some of which are:
- The production of sperm,
- The correct development of muscles and bones
- The maintenance of proper levels of red blood cells
- An equilibrated sense of well-being
- In male puberty, the deepening of the voice, development of strength, pubic hair growth, among others
Naturally, testosterone production tends to decrease with aging. 2 out of 10 men suffer from low t by the age of 60, and that number will increase to 3 out of 10 between the ages of 70 and 80, as stated by the American Urological Association in their website (2).
However, some men can experience low levels of testosterone in their lives without knowing it, and this can affect their quality of life and even the correct development of some important organic features. Here you will learn some common signs of low t, how can it be diagnosed, and its treatment.
5 Signs that you might be suffering from Low Testosterone
According to Urology Care Foundation, the American Urology Association (AUA) establishes normal testosterone levels in men are between 300 to 1,000 per deciliter (ng/dL), while low testosterone can be anywhere below the 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) (3).
Some research states that approximately, low testosterone may affect 40% of men between 45 years of age and older (4). On the other hand, 2 out of 100 men may suffer from low t, while this condition might be more common in men who suffer from type 2 diabetes, and obesity: up to 30% for men with overweight and 24.5% for men with diabetes (3).
Here are some common signs of low testosterone levels. Keep in mind that some of them might be related to other conditions, so make sure to ask your physician before taking any decision:
#1 Erectile dysfunction
Low levels of testosterone might be related to erectile dysfunction since this hormone is responsible for stimulating the penile tissues in order to produce nitric oxide – a molecule responsible for triggering several reactions that are necessary for an erection to occur -.
#2 Low sex drive
Testosterone plays an important part in a man’s libido.
The decrease of this hormone in their bodies will directly affect their sex drive at any age.
#3 Mood swings
Testosterone influences many key processes in males' physical development, as well as mental and mood capacity.
According to research, low t levels might increase the risk for men suffering from irritability, depression, and cognitive impairment (5). Moreover, a 2017 review showed that hormone therapy replacement of testosterone improved depression symptoms as well as the quality of life among men suffering from low t (6).
#4 Low energy levels
Low testosterone levels might be related to low energy levels and fatigue, even after a good night of rest.
Moreover, people under low t might experience a decrease in their interest in exercise or movement at all.
Additionally, you may find a lack of endurance and muscle strength while exercising or doing some strenuous activity.
#5 A significant increase in body fat
Typically, men suffering from low testosterone levels tend to develop gynecomastia – the unexpected growth of breast tissue – as well as gain weight due to the imbalance between testosterone and estrogen levels.
How can Low Testosterone be diagnosed?
Signs of low t are often very subtle and can be confused with other conditions.
Your physician will try to search for more specific signs such as less beard growth, the reduction of sex drive or erectile dysfunction, the loss of body hair, muscle mass, mood swings or depression symptoms, sudden obesity, and fatigue are among them.
After a visit to your doctor, he will probably advise you to take a total blood testosterone level test to determine if the cause of all these symptoms is low testosterone.
It might take several measurements throughout the day or even a week to determine if you suffer from low t since testosterone levels tend to vary within a day. The highest levels of testosterone in men tend to be in the early morning, near 8 am.
Additionally, your doctor will ask you some questions related to your puberty, history of trauma in your skull or any injuries in your testicles, the use of opiates or anabolic steroids, family history of low t, mumps after puberty, episodes of chemotherapy or radiation and many more.
These may happen because low testosterone might develop from several potential causes such as:
- Metabolic disorders
- Injuries or head trauma
- Tumors or dysfunctions in the pituitary gland
- Alcohol, medication, and drug abuse
- Liver or kidney failure
- Estrogen excess
- Congenital defect
- Sleep apnea
Is there a treatment for Low Testosterone?
Depending on the cause, low testosterone might be treated in several ways. These treatments have often coined the name Testosterone Therapy Replacement or TRT.
This type of treatment is only prescribed after the doctor diagnoses you with low t based on a blood test and symptoms.
These are some of them:
- Muscle injections of testosterone every 10 or 14 days
- Hormone patches with testosterone that might be placed in the arms, back, abdomen, or buttocks
- Gels filed with testosterone to be applied in the upper back and arms
- Pellet implants are replaced every 2 months
Most individuals will start finding relief from their symptoms between the 4th and the 6th week of the treatment.
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