Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Normal levels of testosterone are essential to maintain sexual development and functioning. But what happens when you have low testosterone, and what are the symptoms of low testosterone?
During puberty, testosterone helps men develop body and facial hair, a deeper voice, and muscle strength. Plus, men need testosterone to make sperm. After the age of 30, men’s testosterone levels start to decrease by 1-2% a year. In some men, this can cause low testosterone levels. Lower than normal testosterone levels can result in a deficiency, leading to health conditions such as testosterone deficiency syndrome (TD) or low testosterone.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
There are various symptoms of low testosterone; some are more generic, while others are linked closely with testosterone deficiency. Someone with a testosterone deficiency may have many symptoms or just have one. Low testosterone can look different in everyone.
Some of the common symptoms of low testosterone are:
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- A higher percentage of body fat, in particular, stomach fat
- Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Lack/loss of body hair
- Voice doesn’t deepen
- Low muscle mass
- Slowed growth of the penis or testicles
It’s important to note that a low sex drive or erectile dysfunction alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have low testosterone. Still, if you have a combination of symptoms in the list above, it may be worth speaking to your doctor.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
There are various causes of low testosterone. As testosterone production starts to slow down as men get older, this can cause low testosterone levels in older men. In addition, some men are born with genetic health conditions that can cause testosterone deficiency, such as Klinefelter, Kallman, or Prader-Willi syndromes.
There are also some health challenges that men may develop that could cause low testosterone, for example:
- Health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, or high blood sugar
- Damage to the testes, such as from physical trauma, alcoholism, or infection
- Hypothalamic disease or tumor
- Pituitary disease or tumor
- Testicular failure
What Is a Normal Testosterone Level?
A blood test is used to measure testosterone levels and generally, a normal testosterone level is between 300 to 1,000 nanogram per deciliter. Typically, around 40% of men over 45 will have levels in that range. If you’re now wondering, “So, what is a low testosterone level?” The American Urology Association considers a low testosterone level to be below 300 nanograms per deciliter.
How Common Is Low Testosterone in Men?
The American Urology Association reports that 2 in 100 American men have low testosterone. In addition, testosterone deficiency is found to be more common in men who are overweight or have diabetes. One study revealed that 30% of overweight men had low testosterone levels, compared to only 6.4% of men with a normal body mass index (BMI). Another study found that 24.5% of men with diabetes also had low testosterone levels, compared to 12.6% of men with low testosterone without diabetes.
When to Speak to a Doctor About Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
It can be challenging to speak to your doctor or healthcare professional about concerns around low testosterone, fatigue, and your sex life. However, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, and your doctor should talk through your concerns with you.
For some men, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is incredibly effective as a treatment and can help relieve many of the symptoms of low testosterone or testosterone deficiency.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to speak to your doctor:
- Lowered sex drive (libido)
- Difficulty achieving or maintaining erections
- Fatigue, low energy, or feeling lethargic
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Difficulty focusing
- Depression or low mood
- Hot flashes or sweats
- Interrupted sleep
Here at Opt Health, we have specialized men’s health doctors who can provide treatment and test results from the comfort of your own home. As well as increasing men’s vitality and offering testosterone replacement therapy, we use preventative medicine to help you feel like you again.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment. Get personalized support from top-tier physicians that are available 24/7.