2017-05-03 / Health Care

9 signs of low testosterone men should not ignore

By Dr. David Samadi

The male hormone testosterone is a potent chemical messenger directly influencing an array of physiological processes. From functioning as the regulator of a healthy sex drive in men to maintaining the male physique to increasing a man’s competitive nature, testosterone has far-reaching and powerful effects on a man’s body and mind.

A normal range for testosterone is between 280 to 1,100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). However, low testosterone in men is considered to be below 300 ng/dl. When a man has a low level of testosterone, it may be referred to as low testosterone, low T, hypogonadism and/or testosterone deficiency.

Would a man necessarily know if he his testosterone levels are low? And if they are, why does it matter? Men with low T may have several bells and whistles trying to get his attention that low T is his problem. From his sex life suffering to having certain health parameters out of range such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, these can be signals something within is not right and is affecting his health and well-being.

Men who suspect that low testosterone might be the trigger for certain symptoms he is experiencing, need to be familiar with signs of low T. Ignoring these signs or symptoms is not advised.

It is important for a man to discuss these symptoms with his doctor and to get his testosterone levels checked. If it is low T, it can be replaced to make up for what his body is no longer producing enough of. Just like blood pressure or thyroid levels are treated to help bring back to a normal state, low T needs the same attention. Not addressing a testosterone decline can subject men to an increased risk for bone fractures, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as cognitive declines, loss of sexual performance, and overall lack of motivation.

Here are 9 signs indicating a man might have low T that all men should be aware of:

Low libido

One of the most significant and first signs of low T is a reduced interest in sex. Some men may chalk it up to getting older, as it can be common for sex drive to decline with age. But men with low T will usually have a noticeable drop in their desire for sex.

Erectile dysfunction

Testosterone is the driver turning on the engine for sexual desire, but it also is responsible for helping a man achieve and maintain an erection. Testosterone works together with nitric oxide, a molecule triggering a series of chemical reactions that is necessary for an erection to occur. If testosterone levels plummet, a man will have difficulty in achieving an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

Fatigue

A drop in testosterone can zap a man’s energy levels. Men who used to have loads of energy throughout the day, who now require an afternoon nap just to make it to dinnertime, could be experiencing low T.

Depression and mood changes

When testosterone levels drop, this can result in a drop in a man’s emotional well-being and an increased likelihood of depression and moodiness. For many men, these types of emotional shifts can be some of the first indications of low T. Research has shown that up to 56% of men with low T will also have significant symptoms of depression.

Decreased bone mass

Even though the brittle bone disease of osteoporosis is mainly associated with women, men with low T can also experience thinning bones. Testosterone helps produce and strengthen bone and when levels are below normal this means a man may have lower bone volume making them more susceptible to bone fractures.

Loss of muscle mass

What helps play a role in giving men their muscular physique is the hormone testosterone. If a man is noticing his muscle mass is less than usual, he might be able to blame it on low T. Studies have shown testosterone affects muscle mass, but not necessarily strength or function.

Breast growth and increased body fat

Low testosterone levels in men can sometimes lead to increased body fat and a condition called gynecomastia, or the development of larger breasts. The male body produces both testosterone and estrogen, although estrogen is usually found at low levels. But if a man’s testosterone levels are especially low in comparison to estrogen, or if there is an excess of estrogen relative to testosterone, larger breast may develop along with more body fat leading to extra weight gain.

Changes in sleep patterns

In some men, low testosterone can cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances.

Trouble concentrating

Many men with low T complain of “brain fog” or find themselves getting off track easily due to trouble concentrating. Memory loss is another common complaint of men with low T that has started to affect their daily life.

In conclusion

Any man experiencing any of the symptoms of low T needs to contact his primary care physician as soon as possible. By getting tested and then treated for low T, this can help a man avoid many of the health issues associated with this common condition and to have better management over his health and well-being.

Patients newly diagnosed with elevated PSA can contact world-renowned prostate cancer surgeon and urologic oncologist, Dr. David Samadi. For a consultation and to learn more about prostate cancer risk, call 212-365-5000

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