Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in human health, especially in men. It helps build muscle mass, bone density, and fuels sex drive. However, some men are diagnosed with naturally low testosterone levels that can not only affect the quality of a man’s life but also increase their risk of death by 88%.
A better diet, supplements, and exercise can help, but if an individual’s testosterone level falls below the required range, testosterone therapy may be necessary. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of low testosterone that you need to look out for.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that is responsible for the development of the male reproductive tissue and secondary sex characteristics like muscle mass, bone mass, and body hair. It also regulates male mental health including moods, behaviors, and temperament.
The chemical breakdown or formula for testosterone is C19H28O2. Most of the testosterone in men is produced in the gonad region of the body. That includes the testicles, which are responsible for most of the production with just a small amount coming from the adrenal glands above the kidney.
In the female human body, testosterone is produced in various locations. Roughly half of it is produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland, and the other half in fat cells and skin cells. On average, men produce 20 times more testosterone than women.
What Is the Main Cause of Low Testosterone?
The failure of male or female sex organs and glands to produce sufficient testosterone is known as hypogonadism.
In men, this condition can set in after the age of 30. After this point, their natural production starts to decline little by little throughout their lives.
Low hormone production due to aging is normal. However, there are other factors besides age that can cause hypogonadism even in young men. Some of the causes are as follows.
#1. Injury or infection to the testes
#2. Chemotherapy for cancer patients
#3. Use of medications such as steroids, which diminishes the body’s ability to produce its own testosterone
#4. Alcohol or opioid abuse
#5. Metabolic disorders such as hemochromatosis
#6. Dysfunction of the pituitary gland
#7. Obesity or extreme weight loss
#8. Estrogen coming from an external source
#9. Head trauma
#10. Congenital defects that have been present from birth
#11. Type 2 diabetes
8 Symptoms of Low Testosterone
1. Reduced Sex Drive
Not being able to experience sexual attraction to the opposite sex can be a sign of low testosterone levels. Testosterone plays a key role in encouraging human reproduction. Male sex drive begins to decline with age due to the drop in testosterone production.
2. Reduced Erectile Function
Low testosterone production may also inhibit men’s ability to rise to the occasion. Testosterone is not directly responsible for erections, but it triggers the brain’s receptors to produce nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide catalyzes a series of chemical reactions that allow men to achieve and sustain their erection in response to sexual arousal or stimulation.
However, erectile dysfunction is not always a symptom of low testosterone. It’s one of the many factors. Erections are the result of excess blood flow to the male reproductive organs. Conditions like stress, anxiety, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, and alcohol use can also affect the blood circulation system and contribute to erectile problems.
3. Loss of Body Hair
One of the roles testosterone plays in the body is the production of hair. Body hair loss is thus one of the common symptoms of low testosterone. When testosterone levels drop, it may lead to balding. This is part of why many men eventually start to go bald after a certain age.
4. Less Beard Growth
Testosterone production affects the growth of all body hair, including facial hair. Men with low testosterone tend to have poor beard growth.
5. Loss of Lean Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays a key role in the building of muscle tissue. A drop in the production of this hormone can result in loss of muscle mass. However, this does not necessarily diminish strength and function.
6. Feeling Very Tired All the Time (Fatigue)
One of the well-known symptoms of low testosterone is constant fatigue. Men with low testosterone tend to get tired much sooner and experience lower energy levels on average. If low testosterone levels are responsible for your fatigue, resting won’t make it any better.
7. Obesity (Being Overweight)
Body fat is positively correlated to testosterone levels. An imbalance of testosterone and estrogen production in men can lead to gynecomastia, which is enlarged breast tissue.
8. Symptoms of Depression
Testosterone levels are directly related to sexual drives, energy levels, and muscle production. All of these things share an intricate relationship with the quality of life men experience. Low testosterone levels can cause depression in young adults for not being able to participate fully in their base desires.
Different Symptoms Between Men and Women
Women with lower-than-average testosterone levels can experience poor blood cell production, low sex drive, reduced fertility, and imbalanced fat distribution. A woman’s testosterone production changes regularly throughout the phases of her body’s natural cycles such as her menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. They can also drop or rise several times throughout the course of a single day.
Most of the symptoms men and women experience due to low testosterone levels are the same. The difference lies in how and when testosterone is produced as well as how much.
Risk Factors for Low Testosterone
Having low testosterone can result in the following risks:
#1. Increased fatigue
#3. Sexual dysfunction
#4. Osteoporosis, a condition where bones become more fragile
#5. Hot flashes
#6. Sleep disturbances
#7. Emotional changes
#8. Effects of cholesterol on metabolism
#9. Heart Disease
Treatments & Medications for Low Testosterone
If you’re suffering from low testosterone levels, there are certain things you can do to treat yourself or opt for professional treatment options to overcome it.
1. Testosterone Therapy
Testosterone therapy is a professional treatment option that needs to be approved by your doctor or physician. It can include weekly muscle injections, patches, or gels, or testosterone pellets that are inserted inside your buttocks.
Exercise can stimulate testosterone production to promote muscle building. Some exercises are better than others for increasing testosterone production, such as resistance training and weight lifting.
3. ED Medication
Again, you should always consult your doctor or physician before taking any kind of testosterone medicine. Erectile dysfunction medications work by relaxing the muscles and arteries inside the penis to increase blood flow when aroused. They work for both adults having a hard time getting hard and for those suffering from low testosterone levels.