What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels In Men
The most common “out of balance” testosterone levels are found to be on the low side of normal this occurs because a male’s highest testosterone level usually peaks at about age 20, and then it decreases slowly with age. It has been suggested that a 1% decrease in testosterone level per year is not unusual for middle-aged and older males. While this decrease may not be noticeable in some men, others may experience significant changes starting in their middle-aged years or more commonly at age 60 and above. This drop in testosterone levels is sometimes termed hypogonadism, “male menopause” or andropause.
Low testosteronelevels may result in a decline in
- physical energy,
Additional symptoms of in low-T in men may include the following:
- More aches and pains in the bones and joints than normal
- A decline in libido and erections
Androgens Are Sex Hormones
Hormones can be thought of as chemical messengers. They communicate with tissues in the body to bring about many different changes. Hormones are needed for different processes like growth, reproduction and well-being.
Androgens are the group of sex hormones that give men their ‘male’ characteristics . The major sex hormone in men is testosterone, which is produced mainly in the testes. The testes are controlled by a small gland in the brain called the pituitary gland, which in turn is controlled by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Androgens are crucial for male sexual and reproductive function. They are also responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in men, including facial and body hair growth and voice change. Androgens also affect bone and muscle development and metabolism.
The term androgen deficiency means your body is not making enough androgens, particularly testosterone, for full health. The effects of this depend on how severe the deficiency is, its cause and the age at which the deficiency begins.
What Is Low Testosterone
Testosterone is important for male development and fertility. This hormone, produced in the testicles, is responsible for the bodily changes that happen during puberty and for making sperm. Testosterone levels are low when the body does not produce enough testosterone on its own.
When a patient comes to the UPMC Mens Health Center, they will go through a thorough evaluation with a comprehensive care network.
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Average Male Total Testosterone Levels By Age
The range of total testosterone levels gives us an idea of whats normal, but it doesnt paint the entire picture. Lets look closer by seeing what actual research has shown to be normal averages of total testosterone levels by age.
Here is a chart showing average testosterone levels in men. These are real numbers pulled directly from research studies.
And the same data in a table:
Heres the thing:
Low total testosterone levels are relative to the individual. One man might be fine at 500 ng/dl while the next man feels like garbage with anything less than 700 ng/dl.
To make matters worse, a low T level varies widely across lab tests. Ive seen various labs consider anything from 220, 240, 270, to 300 ng/dl to be low. Researchers and medical institutions are in disagreement on this one. It can be super confusing.
Total testosterone levels are what most men care about, but it shouldnt be. Total testosterone levels dont really mean much when it comes to the way you feel.
Because your body doesnt care about your total.
What does it care about?
What’s A Normal Testosterone Level
Testosterone is a natural hormone produced primarily in the testicles, and it helps men maintain everything from bone density and body hair to sex drive and sperm production. However, you don’t have to hit a certain number or level to be “a real man,” despite what the constant flow of ads may tell you. What matters is who you are and where you are in your life.
On average, a testosterone level of 3001,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood is normal. Hypogonadism reduced testicular function generally occurs when the total testosterone is less than 300 ng/dL. However, a healthy level for you depends on your age, lifestyle, and bioavailable testosterone level the unbound testosterone your body isn’t using for daily functions.
Unlike many low-T clinics, we calculate bioavailable testosterone by measuring levels of two proteins, sex hormone binding globulin and albumin, that typically bind to testosterone. It’s possible to have a normal total testosterone level and experience low-T symptoms if this balance is off.
Having a normal bioavailable testosterone level tells us your body is making plenty and you likely won’t benefit from testosterone replacement therapy. If your bioavailable testosterone level is low, we can discuss options.
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When To See A Doctor
A doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy if a person displays a number of symptoms.
Low testosterone does not always present symptoms, and some people only learn about it after a routine physical examination with bloodwork.
However, anyone who experiences one or more of the symptoms listed above should seek medical attention.
To diagnose low testosterone, a doctor will often perform a physical evaluation and review the personâs symptoms. The doctor may also request testing to look for additional signs.
For example, a bone density test can show diminished bone mass, one result of low testosterone.
Treating Testosterone Issues In Women
When treating high testosterone levels, your doctor will consider your goals and your symptoms. Treatment is different if youre trying to conceive. For example, one possible treatment is birth control pills, but that wouldnt be appropriate for someone trying to get pregnant.
Another possibility is the anti-androgen drug spironolactone Spironolactone is not safe to take when pregnant, so it isnt appropriate for those trying to conceive. Options for women hoping to have a baby include:
- Weight loss and exercise: Losing excess weight and regular exercise, especially in women with PCOS, can help lower testosterone levels and may even restart ovulation.
- Metformin: Treating insulin resistance with the diabetes drug metformin may help reduce PCOS symptoms and even restart ovulation.
- Fertility drugs: You will likely need both lifestyle changes and fertility drugs to conceive. Clomid and letrozole are the first line fertility treatments for women with PCOS.
- Cosmetic treatments: For women trying to conceive, cosmetic treatments like waxing or plucking are possible solutions for unwanted hair growth.
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Symptoms Of Low Testosterone In Women
What are some low testosterone symptoms in women? Low libido, weight gain, and changes in mood are all common signs of low testosterone levels. Low testosterone over a long period of time may also contribute to more serious issues like heart disease, poor memory, and loss of bone density.
Other common signs of low T?
- Your hair may begin to thin
- Your skin may become drier
- Your sex drive may be dampened
- You might lose muscle mass
- An increase in body fat, as well as mood changes , can also stem from lower-than-healthy testosterone levels
- Sexual dysfunction, bone loss, and overall loss of strength are some other possible low T symptoms
Testosterone Replacement Therapy And Prostate Cancer: Is There A Link
In past decades, many scientists believed that higher levels of total testosterone came with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
It was thought that low testosterone production actually helped protect against prostate diseases, so restoring testosterone to normal levels â through testosterone therapy â could mean a greater chance of prostate cancer.
So could prostate cancer be a potential risk of TRT?
Not likely, says todayâs researchers. While initial studies suggested a link between high T levels and prostate cancer, much more modern research â using much more rigorous methods â has convincingly shown that testosterone therapy comes with âlittle if any riskâ of prostate cancer.
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The Highs And Lows Of Testosterone
- Read in app
Getting a high testosterone reading offers bragging rights for some men of a certain age and may explain in part the lure of testosterone supplements. But once you are within a normal range, does your level of testosterone, the male hormone touted to build energy, libido and confidence, really tell you that much?
Probably not, experts say.
Normal testosterone levels in men range from about 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. Going from one number within the normal zone to another one may not pack much of a punch.
You dont see the big improvement once men are within the normal range, said Dr. Shalender Bhasin, an endocrinologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The largest differences in terms of energy and sex drive are when men go from below-normal to normal levels.
A 2015 study in JAMA found that sex drive improved among men who went from about 230, considered low, to 500, around the middle of whats considered normal. There was no difference among men who moved within the normal range from 300 to 500.
Testosterone does influence muscle size. The more testosterone a man takes, the larger the muscle regardless of starting level, one reason the hormone is popular with young bodybuilders. But testosterone supplements do not seem to help frail older men walk farther or get out of chairs more easily, goals that doctors typically look for in aiding older patients.
When Testosterone Therapy Might Help
Men who are no longer interested in conceiving may benefit from safe, monitored testosterone replacement therapy. Some patients with genetic issues that cause subfertility, such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, may also benefit.
- Lose a few pounds: Approximately 30% of obese men have low-T. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle you have, the less likely your body is to store excess calories as fat. However, some research suggests that low-T contributes to weight gain it’s a vicious cycle. Start by cutting belly fat, which is good for your heart health and general wellness.
- Eat a healthy diet: For full-body health and hormone balance, consider the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on lean proteins, healthy fats, and plant-based foods. Also enjoy foods that are high in vitamin D, which supports testosterone production, strong bones, and mood. Some of these include eggs, salmon, and mushrooms.
- Rethink online viewing habits: Pornography is readily available online and it can perpetuate skewed expectations for what masculinity and sexual virility should feel like. Your body was not designed to perform sexually for hours on end what you’re seeing on the screen is cinematography, not reality.
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Testosterone Levels In An Unhealthy Population
As you may imagine, these ranges are not set to optimal levels. They are from a cross-section of men aged 20 to 80. Many of whom may be sick or diseased, from a lifetime of unhealthy habits.
Upon receiving the results of your blood test, your T levels may be close or under the bottom of the range. If your doctor refuses treatment, a gentle reminder of what optimal health entails may be in order.
After pointing out, you have the T levels of a sick 80 year old hopefully, your doctor will come around.
Treatment For Low Testosterone
If youre experiencing any of the signs of low testosterone, its important to first talk to your doctor. Many of these signs are common and could be reflective of other problems. To ensure that youre getting the proper treatment, a medical diagnosis is needed. If your doctor concludes that your suffering from low testosterone, only then should you consider treatment. Never try to self-treat low testosterone with medications that have not been approved by your doctorits too risky. Instead, talk to your doctor about treatment options to find one that works for you.
You know your body best, so if you start to notice any of these signs of low testosterone dont hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to test for testosterone imbalances and then help you correct them to mitigate these signs of symptoms. If you need any urological supplies or educational resources, visit our educational support page or our product selection guide. Byram Healthcare is proud to offer full-service urological care and we have all the high quality urological supplies that you need. If you need to order any urological supplies, all of your orders can be discreetly delivered to your home. If you have any urological questions or need personalized, confidential services, our customer service team is here to help.
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Emphasize Your Low Male Hormone Symptoms
Perhaps your doctor is stubborn or doesn’t like their patients being active participants in their own healthcare. In that case, you may be better off emphasizing your symptoms of low testosterone.
Noting a loss of sex drive, the development of impotence, and/or reduced muscle mass and strength is a start. That should give any knowledgeable doctor a red flag that T levels aren’t on par.
Depression, fatigue, and loss of motivation are also commonly caused by low testosterone. Sadly, many doctors would rather prescribe an antidepressant. Bringing back to normal, a natural substance your body already makes, may be wiser.
Why Would My Testosterone Decrease
Men naturally decrease testosterone production as they age. Typically, there is a testosterone drop of 1-2% for each birthday you experience. This is normal. However, a condition known as hypogonadism can happen at any age where the testicles dont produce enough testosterone.
There are two types of hypogonadism: primary and secondary.
- In primary hypogonadism, the testes fail to make enough testosterone due to an inherited physical condition or due to damage to the testicles. For example, undescended testicles or a condition called Klinefelters syndrome are inherited genetic issues that affect testosterone production. Cancer treatment, such as radiation, can affect testosterone production as can a mumps infection.
- Secondary hypogonadism damages the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, two glands that control hormone production. Medications and obesity can fall into this category, along with inflammatory diseases like tuberculosis or even HIV/AIDS, all of which can disrupt the production of testosterone and cause secondary hypogonadism.
Low Testosterone: How Low Can It Go
Most men don’t need to worry about dangerously low testosterone, but you should know the symptoms. Find out about really low T and its warning signs.
As if erectile dysfunction weren’t enough to worry about, low testosterone weighs on the minds of many men. Throughout your life, testosterone plays an important role in regulating sexual, mental, and physical health. That’s why low testosterone, or low T as it’s called, can cause common symptoms like erectile dysfunction , low libido, depression, and low energy. The good news in all of this is that very low testosterone is very unlikely, and certain signs will let you know when testing and possible treatment are needed.
Androgen Deficiency In Older Men
If testosterone levels decline with age, a number of factors may be causing it. In particular, any cause of poor general health, including obesity, will lower testosterone. Recent research shows that testosterone levels do not drop significantly in healthy older men.The impact of the fall in testosterone levels in older men is still not completely understood. There has been much media coverage of ‘andropause’ or ‘male menopause’, suggesting that many older men would benefit from testosterone treatment . However, there is limited evidence to suggest benefit, and the risks are not clear.
A recent study on the effects of testosterone treatment in older men showed a small increase in sexual function with testosterone treatment , but no significant improvement in mood, vitality or physical function.Do not start any testosterone treatment without careful diagnosis of androgen deficiency. Make sure you have a full health assessment, and that your testosterone levels have clearly been shown to be consistently low. Often, there are other health problems at play that should be treated first, which may make testosterone replacement therapy unnecessary.The effect of lower testosterone levels with increasing age and the effects of testosterone replacement therapy in men are currently being studied. Of concern are some studies suggesting a rise in cardiovascular disease after starting testosterone therapy in older men, but this remains controversial.
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What Should You Do
If youre concerned about low testosterone levels, contact your physician and get tested, mainly to see how deficient you are and to get a diagnosis. If you have low testosterone levels, there are many solutions for you from supplements to testosteronebuilding activities, changing your diet, exercising, and much more.
Side Effects Of Treatment Of Androgen Deficiency
Once testosterone levels are restored to the normal range, side effects of testosterone replacement therapy are not common. Some of the possible side effects include:
- weight gain
- mood changes and increased aggression
- male pattern baldness
- Snyder PJ, Bhasin S, Cunningham GR, et al. 2016. ‘Effects of testosterone treatment in older men‘, New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 374, pp. 611624.
- Grech A, Breck J and Heidelbaugh J 2014 Adverse effects of testosterone replacement therapy: an update on the evidence and controversy, Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, vol. 5, no. 5, pp.190200.
- Sartorius G, Spasevska S, Idan A, et al. 2012, Serum testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and estradiol concentrations in older men self-reporting very good health: the healthy man study, Clinical Endocrinology, vol. 77, no. 5, pp. 755763.
- Yeap BB, Grossmann M, McLachlan RI, et al. Endocrine Society of Australia position statement on male hypogonadism : assessment and indications for testosterone therapy, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 205, no. 4, pp.173178.
- Yeap BB, Grossmann M, McLachlan RI, et al. 2016 Endocrine Society of Australia position statement on male hypogonadism : treatment and therapeutic considerations, Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 205, no.5, pp 228231.
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