Testosterone is a hormone present in males and females but in different quantities. It is produced more in the male body and contributes greatly to the male’s sexual development. Much attention is placed on testosterone production by the male body as it is responsible for changes during puberty and afterward. Despite this, it is also important for the female body’s hormonal balance.
Due to its importance to both the male and female body, testosterone must be produced adequately by the body, according to need. As a result, people often suffer from low testosterone, or Low T, as it is often called. When a person suffers from low T, they need to visit the doctor to notice any of its symptoms. Before we get to the symptoms, let’s go through some of the causes of low testosterone in men.
Causes of Low Testosterone
A myriad of reasons can cause low testosterone. Some are more common than others, but the doctors know what to look out for. According to the American Urological Association (AUA), a man must have a testosterone count between 300 – 1000 nanogram per decilitre of blood (ng/dc). Anything below 300 is a sign of Low T and can be caused by any of the following.
As men grow older, their body produces less testosterone. However, the change is gradual after reaching 40 years old. Therefore, a normal aging process should only reduce testosterone production by 1%-3%.
Stress often causes low testosterone, especially in young men. If you have been going through some stress in your daily life, you may notice some symptoms of low T, such as low libido, hair loss, depression, and so on.
Injury to the Testicles
An injury to the testicles may cause a reduction in the production of testosterone in males. Whether a physical or non-physical injury, doctors should always check the testosterone level after a direct injury to the testicles.
Chemotherapy or Radiation
Undergoing intensive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation may cause low testosterone in the body. Therefore, people undergoing such treatments should check for Low T and ensure it does not clash with their treatment.
Long Use of Medications or Narcotics
Long use of some medications or narcotics may lead to low testosterone. During diagnosis, doctors will check for steroids, opiates, and other drugs.
Other Health Issues
Ailments such as cancer, diabetics, and HIV/AIDs can cause low testosterone in the body. The symptoms can be unnoticeable amidst other disease symptoms, but a proper diagnosis will reveal the truth.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
The symptoms of Low testosterone can differ from person to person. You may notice some of these symptoms yourself, but you should always go to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Here are some of the ways to know if you have low testosterone.
Low Sex Drive
People with low testosterone often suffer from low sex drive or libido. This symptom is common when people age, but it is more rapid and unnatural with Low T.
Testosterone regulates a man’s libido and helps to achieve an erection. Low T is one of the many causes of erectile dysfunction, although testosterone replacement may not be enough to solve the problem.
Low Semen Secretion
Low T often causes a reduction in semen secretion, which can be noticed during ejaculation. This can cause infertility as the semen pushes the sperm during ejaculation.
Testosterone is a hormone in the body, just like estrogen. Low testosterone will cause hormonal imbalance, such as men having enlarged breasts. This is due to an imbalance in the level of testosterone and estrogen present in the body.
Low testosterone often causes hair loss, and leaving it untreated for a long time may cause a person to go bald. However, it is one of the less noticeable symptoms and is common with people with serious cases of low testosterone.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Testosterone is responsible for developing several parts of the body, including muscle building. Thus, low testosterone will make you lose muscle mass and gain fat. The symptoms may be gradual or rapid, depending on the severity of the illness.
Thinning Bones (Osteoporosis)
Similar to loss of muscle mass, low T may lead to a loss of bone mass. However, unlike the former, the symptom is more common to women than men.
If you get tired often or find yourself unmotivated to go about your daily life, you may have low T. This can also lead to depression if the case is serious. Other similar symptoms are mood swings and hot flashes.
Solutions to Low Testosterone
Once you are diagnosed with low testosterone, you can discuss a treatment plan with your doctor. The most common option is to undergo testosterone therapy. Sometimes, people are given supplemental testosterone to boost testosterone production by the body. Testosterone therapy can be in the form of:
Oral testosterone is taken like any other medication. The user places it in his mouth and waits for it to dissolve. This method is not approved in the United States as experts believe it can adversely affect the liver.
The gels are applied to the upper part of the back and arms every day after cleaning those parts. Users have to be careful not to transfer the hormone to others around them.
Patches are also applied to the back, arms, abdomen, and buttocks every day.
Testosterone supplements can be injected into the body through a muscle. It is usually done every 10 to 14 days.
This is a more lasting solution. Pellets are surgically implanted under the skin every two months.
Apart from hormone therapy, other treatment options include using artificial reproductive techniques for those who have infertility due to low T. Also, doctors often advise patients to practice living healthy lifestyles by staying away from narcotics, losing weight, eating well, etc.
Most of these will be provided through a hormone therapy clinic, and services like Prolong Labs help you find one that fits your needs.
Low testosterone is not as common as the media sometimes make it, but it is important to treat it immediately when it is diagnosed. Failure to do so might affect not only your sex life but also your normal daily life. Hormone therapy is one of the most popular low testosterone treatments, but you should discuss with your doctor the proper treatment plan.