Most men equate low testosterone levels to decreased libido or sexual function, but it is much more than that. It can cause depression, fatigue, weight gain, and many other health symptoms that most men don’t normally associate with a healthy testosterone level.
Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As men get older, testosterone levels gradually decline — typically about 1 percent a year after age 30 or 40. It is important to determine in older men if a low testosterone level is simply due to the decline of normal aging or if it is due to Hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism is a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles. Testosterone replacement therapy can improve the signs and symptoms of low testosterone in these men.
It helps inform everything from a man’s libido to his mood, and when testosterone levels are low, it can have a negative impact on a man’s emotional and physical health. If you have any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor and be sure to ask about your testosterone levels.
Changes in sexual function. This may include reduced sexual desire, fewer spontaneous erections — such as during sleep — and infertility.
Changes in sleep patterns. Sometimes low testosterone causes insomnia or other sleep disturbances.
Physical changes. Various physical changes are possible, including increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density. Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia) and body hair loss are possible. You may have less energy than you used to.
Emotional changes. Low testosterone may contribute to a decrease in motivation or self-confidence. You may feel sad or depressed, or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
Thankfully, there are many treatments that can help improve your sexual response and get your hormone levels back on track. Doctors may prescribe testosterone as injections, pellets, patches or gels. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.