What Exactly is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced by our bodies (yes men and women both have testosterone) that is responsible for most bodily functions including growth and sex drive. However, it’s mainly produced in men’s testicles. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for giving men a more “manly” appearance, and for their sexual development. Testosterone stimulates sperm production and increases a man’s libido or sex drive. It also helps in building muscles and bone mass.
As men age, their body’s ability to produce testosterone gradually decreases. According to the American Urological Association, 2 out of 10 men over the age of 60 have low testosterone levels. On the other hand, 3 out of 10 men get lower testosterone levels once they reach the age of 70-80. But what is the median T-level, what levels are defined as high and low?
Low T San Diego explains that men experience a number of symptoms if their testosterone decreases even more. Low testosterone or often called as Low-T, happens when a man’s testosterone levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) men normally have about 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. To determine the level of testosterone circulating in your body, you need to take a blood test called a “serum testosterone test”.
Common Signs of Low T
There are many symptoms that can manifest once testosterone production significantly drops below normal levels. Low T symptoms are often subtle, but below are 12 of the most common signs of Low T in men.
Low Sex Drive/Libido
Experts at Low T San Diego explains that testosterone plays an important role in driving men’s sex drive or libido. Some men tend to experience a decline in sex drive the older they get. But, someone who has Low T is bound to experience a more drastic drop in their sex drive compared to others.
Difficulty Getting An Erection/Erectile Dysfunction
Although testosterone stimulates sex drive or libido in men, it also helps in getting and maintaining an erection. Testosterone is not the only hormone that causes an erection, but it stimulates the brain’s receptors into producing nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a molecule that triggers a series of chemical reactions responsible for erection. When a man’s testosterone levels are too low, he may have trouble getting an erection before sex, or have random erections (like during sleep).
Testosterone, however, is not the only thing that causes erectile dysfunction. There are many other factors involved too. Research, however, is inconclusive on how testosterone replacement therapy effects in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
Low Semen Count
Testosterone plays a huge role in the production of semen. Men suffering from Low T eventually notice that they produce less sperm during ejaculation.
Testosterone is an important hormone that aids in hair production in men. Balding is a normal part of aging for most men. While some forms of balding are hereditary or can be inherited, men with suffering from low T experience body and facial hair loss too.
Men with low T have been observed to experience extreme fatigue or tiredness, and a decrease in energy levels. If you have been getting proper sleep and still feel tired all the time, or you don’t feel motivated to exercise, then there’s a chance you might have low T.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Since testosterone is an important component in the body’s muscle-building ability, men with low T are observed to experience a decrease in muscle mass. Studies have shown that testosterone therapy helps in building muscle mass, but it doesn’t necessarily add strength or function to it.
Increased Body Fat/Obesity
Men going through low T also experience an increase in body fat or gain weight. They specifically end up developing gynecomastia, or enlargement of the breasts. This is believed to be caused by an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone in men.
Decreased Bone Density/Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, or the decrease of bone mass, is a disease often associated with women. After all, women tend to be affected by osteoporosis more than men. However, men suffering from low T can also be at risk of bone loss. Testosterone helps in strengthening the bones. This means that men with low T, particularly older men, have lower bone density and are highly susceptible to bone damage and fractures.
One symptom you could easily spot if you’re suffering from low T is a drastic change in mood. Men with low T have mood swings. Testosterone does not only influence so many physical processes in man’s body, it also influences a man’s mood and mental capacity. Research suggests that men with low T are prone to losing focus, being irritable, and falling into depression.
Doctors have speculated that lower testosterone levels may lead to poor memory as both tend to decline with old age.
Research in the Journal of American Medical Association reveals that some studies have found a connection between testosterone supplementation and improved memory from men suffering from low T. The study’s authors, however, did not observe improvements in memory of 493 men with low T levels who took testosterone treatment or placebo.
Shrinking of Testicles
A decrease in testosterone levels in the body can result in the shrinkage of testicles. Since the body needs testosterone for the penis and testicles to grow and develop, low levels could result in a smaller penis or smaller testicles. Men with normal testosterone levels will have an average to large-sized penis and normal-sized testicles.
But, there are also other reasons for having smaller than normal or shrinking testicles besides low testosterone levels.
Low Blood Count
Low T has been linked to an increased risk of anemia for men. Administering testosterone gel to anemic men resulted in improvements in blood counts compared to men who used placebo gels.
Women experience a rapid decrease in hormone levels once they reach the menopausal stage. Men, however, experience a more gradual decrease in testosterone levels over time. The older the man gets, the more he is likely to experience lower than normal testosterone levels.
Men who have testosterone levels below the normal range (300-1000 ng/dL) are likely to experience some symptoms of Low T. Low T San Diego experts can conduct a blood test and recommend the necessary treatment afterward. If you feel you are suffering from low T or are exhibiting symptoms of such, talk to an expert and discuss the potential risks and benefits involved in testosterone therapy as well.