A healthy testosterone level is vital for maintaining a man’s bone density, muscle mass, red blood cells, sense of well-being, sex organs, and sexual and reproductive functioning. Testosterone is produced in the testicles. Its production and release is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which are both in the brain.
Low testosterone levels can occur at any age due to a problem with the testicles, pituitary gland, and/or hypothalamus. Testosterone production naturally begins to decline after age 30.
Low testosterone can be responsible for many symptoms that can affect mental and physical health, fertility, and relationships.
14 Common Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Having one or more of these symptoms isn’t enough to diagnose low testosterone, but if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. There are many other possible causes, and a blood test will be necessary to determine if the reason for your symptoms is low testosterone or something else.
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Shrinking testicles
- Infertility, low sperm count
- Hair loss (head, body, and/or facial)
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Hot flashes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
If you are experiencing symptoms and blood tests show low levels, your doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy.
What causes low testosterone?
Although aging decreases testosterone levels, the decrease is gradual, and most men stay within the normal range. Many others don’t experience or notice symptoms at all.
Low testosterone tends to be more common in men who are obese or who have Type 2 diabetes.
Other conditions that can lead to low testosterone include:
- Alcohol use disorder
- Anabolic steroids
- Brain injury
- Cancer treatment
- Certain rare genetic conditions
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Hemochromatosis (storing too much iron)
- Inflammation in one or both testicles
- Injury or removal of testicles
- Kidney failure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Some medications
Can you prevent low testosterone?
Healthy lifestyle choices may keep your testosterone levels in a healthy range if you don’t have a medical condition associated with lower levels. To keep your testosterone levels healthy along with the rest of your body, it helps to:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Keep alcohol and drug use to a minimum
- Maintain a healthy weight
There is currently no way to prevent low testosterone that stems from genetic conditions or issues with the testicles, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland.
If you’re experiencing any of the common symptoms of low testosterone listed above at any age, talk to your doctor about what you’re going through. It may or may not be low testosterone but finding the cause and treating your symptoms will improve your quality of life either way.
Start feeling like yourself again by addressing low testosterone – schedule an appointment today!