Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the human body, mainly in men’s testicles. It is the hormone that stimulates sperm production and sex drive in men and also in building bone and muscle mass. Production of testosterone typically decreases as men age and they can experience a variety of symptoms if the decrease is more than normal.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 to 1000ng/dL, which is considered the normal range.
There are warning signs that indicate a drop in testosterone, which include:
- Low Sex Drive – Testosterone is the hormone that fuels a man’s libido. If he is low on it, it is likely that he will be less interested in sex. A man with low T is likely to experience a drastic drop in sex drive. According to experts, men are not the same when it comes to how frequently they like to have sex, but for men with low testosterone, the desire to have sex is completely absent.
- Erectile Dysfunction – The release of a tiny molecule in the body, known as nitric oxide, is what triggers erections. But testosterone is needed to trigger this release and if there is not enough of it, the release does not take place. It results in the inability to get an erection, or it is not firm enough for intercourse. Other problems can also influence erectile dysfunction, so you should visit your doctor to determine whether this symptom is being caused by low T.
- Low Semen Volume – Testosterone plays a vital role in semen production, which is the milky fluid that helps in sperm motility. It is quite simple – when a man has more testosterone, he is able to produce more semen. Men who have low T will notice a reduction in the volume of their sperm during ejaculation.
- Fatigue and Lack of Energy – Men with low testosterone levels are said to encounter a noticeable dip in energy levels and extreme fatigue. If you find yourself always tired despite getting enough rest and sleep, or if you are finding it difficult to get motivated to exercise or go to the gym, you may just be experiencing symptoms of low T levels.
- Loss of Muscle Mass – Due to the fact that testosterone plays an important role in the strengthening and building of muscle, men who have low testosterone levels may notice a decrease in both muscle mass as well as strength. Those who try to reverse the loss of muscle through weight training may find it hard to build or rebuild muscle.
- Decrease in Bone Mass – Osteoporosis, or the thinning of bone mass, is a condition that is often associated with women. However, men with low T can also experience loss of bone because testosterone contributes to the strengthening and production of bone. Men who have low testosterone, especially older men who have had this problem for many years, are more susceptible to bone fractures.
- Increase in Body Fat – Men who have low testosterone may also experience an increase in body fat. In particular, they occasionally develop “gynecomastia” which is a condition in which they develop breasts. Although it is not known why this occurs, research shows that the way your body stores fat is influenced by the testosterone in your body.
- Depression and Mood Problems – According to research, men with low testosterone are more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression by four times. Even if they are not experiencing clinical depression, men with low T can often feel blue or down. They feel less optimistic than they used to in the past. This problem can also cause them to be irritable and grouchy.
- Genital Numbness – Guys with low testosterone often complain about a feeling of numbness below the belt. Men who have low T levels may not be completely numb, however when the penis or the scrotum is touched, it may fail to elicit or create that “electric” feeling that is needed to spark intimacy and make intercourse a pleasurable experience. If you feel numb down below, it could be a sign that you have low T.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, you should visit your doctor and find out if you have low testosterone. Your doctor can conduct a blood test to determine if you have low T and if required, recommend suitable treatment, as well as discuss any risks and benefits that you need to know about.
The good news is that low T can be easily treated and apart from helping resolve problems with appearance, mood, and sexuality, testosterone therapy can help in protecting you against various serious medical issues including osteoporosis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.