As a man begins to age, his testosterone levels can begin to decline. When this occurs, the symptoms of low testosterone in men can appear. A diagnosis of low testosterone (Low T) occurs when testosterone levels fall below what is considered normal. According to the U.S. FDA, normal testosterone levels are between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL. A laboratory blood test will measure the levels of circulating testosterone levels in the body.
When testosterone levels decline, men can experience a number of symptoms. The symptoms of low testosterone in men, also known as hypogonadism, can be subtle and may be mistaken as a natural part of aging.
Low Sex Drive
Testosterone is one of the main hormones responsible for libido in both men and women. Men may experience a drop in desire as they age; however, those with symptoms of low testosterone in men will experience a radical drop in their desire to have sex. Low testosterone levels can also decrease libido in women. In addition to low testosterone levels, there are a number of mood changes and hormone imbalances that can cause low sex drive.
Difficulty Achieving an Erection
In addition to stimulating libido, testosterone helps a man achieve an erection. Testosterone alone does not cause an erection; however, it stimulates certain brain receptors that generate nitric oxide that the body uses to produce an erection. When a man’s testosterone levels are low, he may not be able to achieve an erection for sex or spontaneous erections that occur during sleep.
Low Semen Volumes
Testosterone is used in the production of semen. The more testosterone in the body, the more semen is produced. Men with low testosterone levels will notice a decrease in the amount of semen volume during ejaculation.
Testosterone is also used during hair production. Those with low testosterone levels are often experiencing hair loss. This hair loss can cause premature balding and loss of facial and body hair.
Low Energy Levels and Fatigue
The symptoms of low testosterone in men notice a decrease in their energy levels and increased fatigue. If you are fatigued even after a good night’s sleep or lack of motivation to exercise, you may be suffering from low testosterone levels.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Testosterone is used to strengthen and build muscle. Men suffering from low testosterone levels may notice a decrease in strength and muscle mass. Those who weight trains may find it difficult to rebuild or increase their muscle mass if they have low testosterone levels.
Increased Body Fat
Low testosterone can cause increased body fat. A man with low testosterone levels may develop gynecomastia, which occurs when men develop enlarged breasts. Although the reasons for this condition are not clear, researchers believe that testosterone influences how the body stores fat.
A Decrease in Bone Mass
Osteoporosis, which occurs when bone mass decreases, are often considered as women’s medical condition. However, men with low testosterone levels may also experience osteoporosis. Testosterone is used by the body to produce and strengthen bones. Men with low testosterone levels, especially older men who have suffered from low testosterone levels for a number of years, are more likely to experience fractures.
If you believe you have low testosterone or have any of the aforementioned symptoms of low T, contact your doctor for an appointment. Your physician will request a simple blood test to measure your testosterone levels. If your testosterone levels are low, your physician will work to determine if there are any underlying conditions causing the symptoms of low testosterone in men. Luckily, with the advances in medicine, there are a number of treatment options available.