Signs of Low Testosterone
As men age, it’s not uncommon for them to experience signs of low testosterone. In fact, low testosterone, or low T, affects two out of 10 men over the age of 60.
While everyone produces levels of testosterone, it’s mostly produced by men in the testicles. Testosterone is responsible for a man’s sex drive, his appearance, bone mass and muscle development as well as his ability to generate sperm.
While most men understand the importance of testosterone, many fail to recognize the signs of low testosterone as they begin to experience them.
If you or a loved one experiences any of the nine signs of low testosterone listed below, contact your urologist to discuss your symptoms and next steps.
1. Low sex drive
Low sex drive, also known as low libido, is common in men with low T. While a reduced sex drive may also be due to age, low testosterone is known to cause a significant decrease in a man’s desire to have sex.
2. Erection difficulties
In addition to low libido, a man may also experience difficulties in achieving and maintaining an erection.
Before having sex, testosterone signals the brain to produce nitric oxide, the molecule that helps trigger an erection. However, if testosterone levels are low, the brain may not receive the signal it needs for a man to achieve an erection. Alternatively, a man may experience erections at random times, like while he’s sleeping.
The difficulty to achieve or maintain an erection may not be entirely due to low T, though. Erection difficulties are linked to a variety of health concerns, such as diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and thyroid issues.
3. Hair loss
Unfortunately, hair loss is a part of aging for many men. Hair loss can be frustrating, especially for men suffering from low T. Low testosterone can not only cause a man to lose hair on his head, but also on his arms, legs and other areas of his body including his facial hair.
4. Decreased bone mass
As we mentioned earlier, testosterone plays a major role in developing bone mass. One of the signs of low testosterone is weakened bones that may make men, especially aging men, more susceptible to bone fractures.
5. Emotional changes
Since testosterone is a key influencer in so many bodily functions for men, it’s no surprise that low T may result in serious emotional changes. Some men lose focus, become more irritable, or even report feelings of depression.
Sporadic mood changes are one of the more noticeable signs of low testosterone, especially in conjunction with other symptoms.
6. Change in sleep patterns
With all of the changes happening to his body, a man living with low testosterone may also struggle with restful sleep. A shift in sleep patterns can be frustrating, and amplify the other signs of low testosterone on this list.
Sleep deprivation can also result in increased irritability, a weakened immune system, weight gain, low sex drive and more. Treating low T is important for multiple reasons. However, when its symptoms directly threaten a man’s overall health, treatment for low testosterone becomes crucial.
7. Decreased strength
In addition to affecting bone mass, testosterone affects muscle mass. Aging men with low T may find developing and maintaining muscle mass to be difficult. While low testosterone won’t decrease muscle mass, men may feel that their overall strength has decreased due to low T.
8. Weight gain
Low testosterone levels may cause men to gain weight. However, working to lose this additional weight can help men boost their testosterone levels and reverse its symptoms.
9. Low energy levels
Lastly, men with low T often experience low energy levels and feelings of fatigue. Lack of sleep, moodiness, weight gain and decreased strength can also influence these feelings.
Low Testosterone Treatment Options
While exercise, weight loss, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep can help boost low testosterone levels, there are treatment options available. Let’s take a look at the five treatment options for low T:
1. Intramuscular testosterone injections
Intramuscular testosterone injections are administered around every two weeks, depending on the diagnosis. The injections send testosterone directly into the bloodstream through the muscle, alleviating the symptoms of low T.
2. Transdermal gels or patches
The transdermal gel or patches are applied to the man’s arm or upper body. They deliver testosterone to the body through the skin. A testosterone patch may be prescribed by a urologist when injections aren’t convenient or preferred by a man.
3. Testosterone gels
A man using testosterone gels applies the gel topically once a day, directly onto the skin. The gel absorbs testosterone through the skin for easy delivery.
Testopel is an in-office procedure in which testosterone implants are placed directly into the subcutaneous tissue, allowing for a slow, steady release of testosterone into the endocrine system. This quick procedure is required every four to six months for effective alleviation of low T symptoms.
5. Clomiphene citrate
For men struggling with low testosterone who are trying to conceive, a urologist may prescribe this drug to boost testosterone levels.
The signs of low testosterone and their treatments look different for every man, which is why it’s so important to have a urologist who understands you, your body and your needs. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms associated with low T, schedule a visit with us. Let us help you get back to life before low T.
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