What if you noticed that one day you could no longer bound out of bed with the energy you used to? Or, say you lost interest in your partner and couldn’t even muster up the motivation for your morning run. You might be surprised to learn that these common issues could be warning signs of low testosterone.
Low testosterone (hypogonadism) is a condition common for men in the United States. It affects approximately 20-40% of middle-aged and older males 45 and up. It should be stated, however, that it can affect testosterone production for men of all ages.
Hypogonadism is frequently missed and untreated owing to symptoms being interpreted as a consequence of aging or the use of certain medications. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms because testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can improve quality of life tremendously. In fact, only about 5% of hypogonadal men receive TRT.
Here are some of the most common Symptoms of Low Testosterone and how to fix this.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that’s responsible for the development of male characteristics. This naturally occurring steroid produced by the testes plays a vital role in strength, endurance, and sex drive. As men become older, their levels gradually decline.
Most doctors would agree that levels of 300 to 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) are considered the normal range while levels below 300 would be indicative of hypogonadism. According to the Endocrine Society, hypogonadism, also known as male hypogonadism, is a disease characterized by testicular failure to produce adequate amounts of testosterone (also known as androgen deficiency) and normal sperm counts as a result of disruption of one or more levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis.
Due to testosterone being vital for maintenance and development of sexual function in men, low testosterone levels can seriously affect sex drive and functioning. In fact, testosterone is what fuels a man’s sex drive.
With that being said, there are also a number of health conditions and symptoms that can be caused by having low testosterone.
What are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
There are numerous low testosterone symptoms, some more common than others. Here are 10 of the most common warning signs:
1. Decreased Sex Drive
It’s typical for a mans sex drive (libido) to gradually drop from its peak during the early teenage years through their early 30s. With age, men’s libidos may continue to decline. If testosterone levels are low, though, this process might be accelerated.
In one study, testosterone level in men between the ages of 40 and 79 decreased by about 1% each year. But those who had testosterone levels in the low range at the start of the study were more likely to have a more significant drop-off in libido over time.
This is one of the most common signs and usually goes hand in hand with erectile dysfunction (ED). In one large
2. Erectile Dysfunction
Testosterone is necessary for erections, but the connection between the two is complicated and not fully comprehended. Although some males have good erections despite having low testosterone levels, there are a numerous studies that connect low testosterone and ED, with no consensus on how much testosterone is required to trigger ED.
Late onset of hypogonadism is the result of the normal aging male process and is responsible for low testosterone levels. So, if you are having difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, this could be the first indication of low T.
Just as testosterone is necessary for erections, it’s also needed for sperm production. Low testosterone levels can lead to a decrease in sperm count and infertility. In fact, testosterone is vital for all stages of sperm production from the start of puberty to old age.
By definition, infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected sex or six months if the woman is 35 years or older. It’s important to note that some men are infertile because of low sperm count, but have high testosterone levels. This can be attributed by a number of factors. However, a study from 2020 looked at testosterone levels in men with infertility issues and discovered that the majority of them had poor sperm. Surprisingly, they discovered that low testosterone does not cause infertility on its own.
Another reason is that testosterone is involved in sperm production, but other hormones such as FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) are also important. These two hormones encourage the testes to produce testosterone and sperm. If there’s a problem with either of these hormones, it can cause testosterone levels to plummet and lead to infertility.
4. Loss of Muscle Mass or Strength
Low testosterone levels can lead to a decrease in muscle mass and strength. Testosterone plays a vital role in muscle growth, so having low testosterone can impact your ability to build muscle.
One study looked at the effects of testosterone therapy on muscle mass and strength in men over 65 years old with low testosterone levels. After one year of testosterone therapy, there was a significant increase in leg muscle mass and strength. There was also an improvement in grip strength.
5. Increased Body Fat
Low testosterone can cause an increase in body fat, especially around the waist. One study showed that testosterone therapy in men with low testosterone and obesity was associated with a decrease in waist circumference and an increase in lean body mass.
Another study looked at how testosterone levels affect different types of body fat. They found that testosterone levels were
6. Decreased Bone Density (Osteoporosis)
The testosterone receptor (a protein that testosterone binds to) has been found to be expressed in cells that are responsible for making and breaking down bones. This means that testosterone has a direct role in bone metabolism.
If your testosterone is low, it can cause a decrease in bone density and lead to osteoporosis (a condition where bones become weak and fragile). This is one of the reasons why older individuals are more prone to bone fractures.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that men with very low testosterone amounts had very low bone density. In that same study, the men underwent testosterone therapy for 18 months and found that bone density increased.
Low T levels and low bone density may result in osteoporosis, which is a more serious issue for older males, but any man should be aware of this risk.
7. Mood, Stress, and Depression
Feelings of depression accompanied with anxiety and irritability are commonly reported by men with low T. This is likely because testosterone plays a role in regulating mood and stress.
Studies have found that testosterone therapy can improve mood in men with low testosterone levels and depression. In one study, testosterone therapy improved depression, fatigue, and erectile function in men with low testosterone levels.
It’s crucial to remember that a variety of other health issues might cause sudden changes in mood or feelings of sadness, making it difficult to determine whether it’s solely low T that is causing the problem. If you are experiencing any inexplicable mood swings or extreme stress as a result of a lack of sex desire, speak with your doctor.
With age, both testosterone levels and cognitive abilities, particularly memory, deteriorate. As a result, doctors have suggested that lower testosterone levels might be involved in memory loss.
A cross-sectional study looked at testosterone levels in relation to cognitive function in older men. The study found that men with low T were associated with poorer verbal memory and executive function (the ability to think, plan, and organized). They were given testosterone and discovered that their memory and cognitive functioning had improved. It’s still being investigated whether treating hypogonadal men with testosterone will help prevent the deterioration of memory performance.
9. Decreased Energy Levels & Fatigue
Healthy levels of testosterone help you feel happy and energized. It is a hormone that aids in the maintenance of a healthy metabolism and enhanced physical performance. However, if you’re fatigued and have any additional symptoms such as weight gain and muscular loss, it’s possible that your testosterone need to be increased.
This is one of the most prevalent issues reported by men with low T.
10. Hot Flashes
A hot flash is a sudden, intense, hot feeling that spreads over the face and upper body. They are often accompanied by a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and flushing. Hot flashes are a common among women, particularly during menopaulse. But, similar to women, men can also experience hot flashes due to reduction in their main sex hormone as well.
Excessive weight can cause men to produce less testosterone and increase cortisol levels, which can affect the hypothalamus and its job of maintaining body temperature. Some males experience short bursts of heat, burning sensations, or chilly sweats are symptoms of men with low T; some individuals refer to them as “night sweats” during sleep hours.
Hot flashes generally go after levels of testosterone are brought back up to more normal levels.
Other Symptoms of Testosterone Levels
There are a few additional symptoms of low testosterone that you should be aware of. However, these symptoms can appear at various ages and is not restricted to middle-aged or older men.
Poor Development of Genitals
Men who are diagnosed with hypogonadism before puberty may notice that they have underdeveloped testes. For example, boys who were born with Kleinfelter syndrome have low testosterone levels and are frequently identified as having hypogonadism. This is generally discovered in puberty when his testes do not fully mature.
If a young male is diagnosed as having low testosterone, typically he does not have as deep of a voice. This is due to testosterone being the primary hormone that causes thickening of the vocal chords.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Treatment for testosterone is now quite simple. It just entails supplying what was missing. If testosterone levels are gradually going down as a natural consequence of age, no treatment may be required. However, in some cases testosterone therapy may be recommended to bring testosterone levels back up to a normal level. This can help with energy levels, sex drive and other testosterone related issues.
Common Testosterone Therapy Treatments
These are some of the most common treatments used to treat symptoms of low testosterone:
- Testosterone gels
- Testosterone creams
- Testosterone injections
- Testosterone pellets
Your doctor will likely monitor your testosterone levels regularly to ensure that the testosterone therapy is working.
Therapy needs to be customized to the individual patient, according to Dr. Morello-Frosch. “Patients receiving testosterone replacement should have their prostate health, high red cell mass, and blood clotting evaluated, as well as other hormone issues. An endocrinologist should decide on testosterone replacement therapy and the low T patient’s treatment.”
If you have any concerns or side effects from testosterone therapy, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.