Testosterone is a hormone produced in men’s body by the testicles; it affects man’s sexual development and appearance. The hormone is responsible for the stimulation of sperm production, men’s sex drive, building of the body muscle, bone mass and the production of red blood cells.
Production of testosterone in men starts at puberty, and decreases after the age of 30. Even though low testosterone is associated with old men, sometimes it can affect young men and even children. Low testosterone simply means under or zero production of testosterone in the body.
Apart from the aging factor, low testosterone can also be caused by chronic health conditions like obesity, diabetes, infections and other hormonal conditions. Men can experience varied symptoms when testosterone decreases below the normal.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
Low Sex Drive And Reduced Performance –Testosterone is the hormone that plays a fundamental role in libido in men. With age, men experience a decline in sex interest, but a person with low testosterone (Low T) may experience an extreme drop in their desire to have sex (low sex drive).
Low T can also result to fewer spontaneous erections and low sperm count in men. And in extremely low levels, it can lead to infertility.
- Hair loss – Testosterone has a hand in many body functions including hair production. Men with low T can experience balding and loss of other body and facial hair. However, balding can just be a natural part of age or as a result of inheritance.
- Loss Of Muscle Mass – Men with low T may experience a reduction in muscle mass, but this does not affect strength or muscle functioning.
- Decrease In Bone Mass – Men with low T may notice bone loss and may suffer from thinning of bone mass, a condition known as Osteoporosis. This also causes low bone volume and makes them more vulnerable to bone fractures.
- Increase In Body Fat – Men with low testosterone levels may experience an increase in body fat and may sometime develop gynecomastia. This causes enlarged breast tissue as a result of imbalance between testosterone and estrogen in men’s body.
- Fatigue – Men may also experience extreme fatigue and low energy levels despite getting enough sleep and plenty of rest. You could be having low T, if you always feel demotivated to exercise.
- Mood Swings – Since testosterone affects many physical processes in men’s body as well as influences mental capacity and general moods, men with low T may experience mood change. They are more likely to have depression, lack of concentration and experience irritability.
In fetal development, low testosterone causes impaired growth of external sexual organs and the male child may:
- Develop female genitals.
- Cause ambiguous genitals (that cannot be clearly defined as male or female).
- Cause underdeveloped male genitals.
At puberty normal growth in men may be affected and may cause:
- Lack of body hair.
- Overly long limbs.
- Enlarged breasts.
- Poor muscle development.
Low T Treatment in Men
There are a number of treatment options that can increase testosterone levels in the body as well as reduce its side effects.
Testosterone Therapy – This involves intake of testosterone boosting supplements. It can be administered by injections into the muscles. Gels or patches can also be applied on the skin. The patches can be applied into the mouth or other pellets can be inserted under the buttock skin.
Body Exercise – Doing more body exercise and losing weight may slow the decline of testosterone in your body.
Treating Specific Symptoms – You can take specific medications to treat some advanced symptoms of low T. If low T is causing erectile dysfunction, you can take erectile dysfunction medications to treat the symptom. If you are having poor sleep patterns (insomnia), you may take some sleeping aid to restore proper sleeping patterns.
Visit a doctor – If you are experiencing symptoms as a result of low T, you can see a doctor to diagnose the possible cause and recommend the necessary medication.