Low Testosterone Explained
The hormone testosterone occurs in high doses in teenage and young adult men, allowing them to develop muscles, facial hair, and body hair. However, testosterone levels gradually drop off as a man ages, particularly between 60-80 years of age. If the levels drop too low, the body can no longer function effectively.
Many medical professionals consider levels of less than 300 nanograms per deciliter to be too low. This is the threshold where a man may be considered to have a medical condition called Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome or Low T, which can cause a number of significant health concerns. But how common is this, and how do you know whether you may suffer from it? Let’s explore the frequency, causes, and symptoms of this syndrome.
Although Low T is quite rare in young men, with an occurrence of only around 1 in 100, the numbers rise drastically with age. By the time a man is 80 years old, he has a 50% chance of suffering from the condition. There are a number of other risk factors, which include your weight and whether you have diabetes or not.
Fat cells in the body produce aromatase, which is an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen and thereby reduces the male sex hormone’s prevalence in the body. What’s more, many medical professionals believe that insulin resistance caused by either diabetes or obesity can further reduce the amount of testosterone present. Thus, you have a 50% higher chance of suffering from Low T if you have diabetes.
As mentioned, age, obesity, and diabetes can cause testosterone deficiency syndrome. However, there are other risk factors, including some innate conditions such as Noonan syndrome and Klinefelter syndrome, which are both genetic diseases that affect the way testosterone is produced. In addition, your testicles are likely to produce less testosterone if they have been damaged or removed due to an accident or cancer.
Another factor your healthcare specialist may take into consideration is the types of medicine you take. Narcotic pain medications, antidepressants, and similar substances could lead to Low T, and radiation or chemotherapy are known contributors to the issue. When you arrive at the clinic, all of these factors and more will be taken into consideration to get a full picture of your individual situation.
There is a wide range of symptoms associated with testosterone deficiency syndrome, some of which are related to your sexual function and others are more serious health concerns. Let’s examine thirteen potential issues that can arise and how they affect your life.
Problems With Your Erection
The most well-known function associated with testosterone is your erection. Even though the hormone does not cause an erection on its own, it stimulates the parts of your brain that cause nitric oxide. This substance then triggers a complicated reaction which ultimately causes your erection. Men with Low T may not be able to achieve or sustain their erection and it may no longer occur spontaneously during the night or when waking up in the morning.
However, if you struggle with erections, this does not necessarily mean that your body has trouble producing testosterone. There is a wide range of reasons why your sexual function may be impaired, which includes mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress or physical problems like high blood pressure or cholesterol, excessive smoking, alcohol consumption, or drug intake.
Reduced Size of Testicles
Sometimes, Low T causes a man’s testicles and penis to contract so that they appear smaller in size. What’s more, the scrotum might feel softer than before. Like erection issues, these symptoms can have a variety of causes but could be an indicator of testosterone issues.
Reduced Sex Drive
Along with a decline in physical function of the sex organs, many men suffering from Low T experience drastic changes in their sex drive. While it is normal to have a lower drive as you age, a rapid or extreme change may indicate a bigger issue.
Low Volume of Semen
If you notice that the volume of your ejaculate has decreased significantly, keep an eye on the situation and seek out medical advice, particularly if some of the other symptoms also apply. Your body may not be able to produce sufficient amounts of semen, which is the liquid it produces to transport sperm. A big part of your ejaculate’s volume is derived from semen and in some cases, an inability to produce enough can inhibit your reproductive function.
As mentioned, testosterone is the hormone that helps teenagers develop hair on both their body and their face. The reason why many men lose their hair as they age is genetic, but having low levels of testosterone could be a contributing factor that makes the issue worse. If you suddenly experience hair loss, speak to your healthcare provider, particularly if other men in your family did not experience this at the same age.
Lower Bone Mass
One of the more worrying symptoms of Low T is the higher instance of osteopenia or osteoporosis. These conditions, which mean that your bones are brittle and prone to breaking, are often associated with women, in part because testosterone helps men to retain a high bone mass. When your body no longer produces much testosterone, this effect is reduced and you are much more susceptible to osteoporosis, particularly if you are older.
High Risk of Anemia
Another risk factor is low blood count. In recent years, a study of anemic men with low testosterone has shown that those who used testosterone gel were less likely to keep suffering from this condition than men who were given the placebo gel. If you experience anemia, you may suffer from a variety of symptoms including leg cramps, trouble sleeping, dizziness, and loss of concentration. In such cases, you may find testosterone treatment a simple solution.
Increased Risk of Obesity
Lower levels of testosterone cause both a loss of muscle mass and an increase in body fat. In particular, a condition called gynecomastia, which involves large or swollen breasts in men, often presents itself. This issue arises when there is an imbalance between the two hormones testosterone and estrogen and can have a big effect on a man’s mental wellbeing and sex life.
Trouble Sleeping and Fatigue
Many men suffering from Low T no longer participate in physical activities they used to enjoy and suffer from fatigue despite eating well and getting enough rest. Others will experience changes in their sleeping patterns or have trouble falling asleep in the first place. These symptoms can both increase the risk of obesity and decrease quality of life.
When the blood vessels close to your skin expand to cool off, you may experience a sudden feeling of heat, accompanied with a red face and sweating. If this happens suddenly, it is called a hot flash. People suffering from Low T often experience this symptom, both during the day and at night.
It is natural that our memory declines as we age, but many healthcare specialists believe that there is a link between lower levels of testosterone and memory issues. Some studies have indicated that taking testosterone supplements can stop this from occurring. Anyone suffering from sudden or drastic memory loss, along with some of these other symptoms, should consider contacting their local clinic to find out if their testosterone levels are at fault.
Finally, Low T can cause mood swings because testosterone regulates not only sexual function but also our moods. You may experience depression, irritability, and problems concentrating or focusing, which can affect both your private life and professional capabilities.
Do You Need Treatment?
You may be reading this article because you have recently found out that you have low testosterone in a blood test. Sometimes, men don’t experience symptoms and in this case, the condition might not present a problem for you. However, the majority of patients suffer from several of the above-mentioned issues related to Low T.
If your life is negatively affected by this or you are worried about the associated health risks like osteoporosis and anemia, then it may be time for you to take action and seek out treatment. Schedule a visit at your local clinic, where you will be thoroughly tested for Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome and advised on your next steps. Aside from a blood test, you may be physically examined and asked to take a bone density test to confirm the diagnosis.
How Low Testosterone Syndrome Can Be Treated
Once you know for sure that you suffer from Low T, there are several easy and pain-free ways this can be treated. The most common solution is called testosterone replacement therapy and can be administered in a variety of ways. You might receive an injection, a gel, a skin patch, a tablet, or even a pellet that is implanted into your body. 6-8 weeks after this treatment, you should start to notice a significant reduction in symptoms.
Testosterone therapy is an effective and simple way of treating Low T symptoms, in particular in patients with genetic causes such as Klinefelter syndrome or in cases where a man’s testicles have been physically harmed due to an accident or a cancer treatment.
Supporting Your Treatment
To support the healthy production of testosterone, your healthcare professionals may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, in particular related to your diet. There are several foods that boost testosterone in the body, including beans, milk, shellfish, and certain types of fortified cereals.
Although the main problems associated with low testosterone are related to sexual function, there is a great variety of other, equally disruptive issues associated with the condition. If you experience any of the symptoms above, there is an easy way to get back to normal. Consider getting in touch with your local clinic to find an optimal solution, such as testosterone therapy.
Contact us today at Androgenix Advanced Health and Wellness Center in North Palm Beach, FL. Our friendly and competent team will be more than happy to welcome you to the clinic for an initial consultation. We offer individualized therapy programs so that you can be confident you’re getting exactly the type of treatment you need to regain your optimal wellbeing.