Table of Contents
- 1 Causes of Low Testosterone
- 2 Symptoms of Low Testosterone
- 3 Diagnosing low testosterone
- 4 How to treat low testosterone?
- 5 Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
- 6 Conclusion
Low Testosterone levels can make a huge impact on people. From the physical outlook to mental health, testosterone can go a long way to determine the changes in a person. Because of this reason, it is crucially to diagnose and treat testosterone deficiency. In this article, we are going to see the reasons behind low testosterone and the ways that can be used to properly normalize it. Remember that a low testosterone level needs to be normalized and not increased. Increasing testosterone level beyond what’s normal is not a sound medication.
Causes of Low Testosterone
We all know that testosterone is the male sex hormone that is produced by the testicles. The hormone is mainly responsible for men related characteristics such as deep voice, facial hair, and muscles. In addition, testosterone is also needed to boost moods, keep your bones strong and it even increases your thinking capacity. The levels of testosterone produced by the human body are maximum at early adulthood (age 20-28) and it gradually fades as you reach your 30s and your 40s. When men get over the age of 50 years then, low testosterone is most common. We will talk about the symptoms of low testosterone later on but first, let us see what other factors cause low testosterone. Old Age is only one of the causes, there are other causes that can make the decrease of testosterone faster and they are:
- Injury and Infection of testicles can decrease testosterone production.
- If you are a cancer patient and undergoing chemo, low testosterone can be a side effect.
- Medicines that are used to treat prostate cancer can cause decreasing testosterone.
- If you suffer from chronic illness then, your testosterone levels can fluctuate as well.
- Overconsumption of alcohol is another main cause of declining testosterone.
- Stress and Obesity can also result in decreased testosterone.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
If you are an old man then, the symptoms are quite obvious; low sex libido and infertility are common but if you are not old then it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the symptoms. In such cases, low testosterone level needs to have some symptoms, right? Yes! It does. Here, we will see exactly what kind of symptoms can be seen with low testosterone.
One of the major symptoms of people with low testosterone is not being able to maintain a boner. Testosterone stimulates the penile tissues and produces nitric oxide. This starts many reactions that result in the erect penis. When the level of testosterone itself drops, then the production of nitric oxide ceases and thus, erection cannot be maintained.
There are other causes behind erectile dysfunction as well, they are:
- Smoking Cigarettes
- Stress, Anxiety, Mental Health Issues
- Alcohol Consumption and Diabetes
- Very High Blood Pressure
- Issues related to the thyroid gland
- High Levels of Cholesterol
Loss of Hair
It is quite obvious that people lose hair when they grow old but if people lose hair and they are not even thirty yet, it can be very problematic. Many people experience unwanted hair loss because of low testosterone and it can affect women as well. Yes, even women need a stable amount of testosterone otherwise they can face hair fall too.
Bone Mass Reduction
Testosterone’s lack can cause fragile bones and tissue reduction which can also make the bones fracture.
Testicle Size Reduction
If you have a low testosterone level, then you may see a noticeable reduction in testicle size and it is not related to the cold temperature. The Scrotum can feel softer too. With the decrease in testicle size, semes production reduces too. Semen is the male sex fluid that helps humans to reproduce. Since testosterone is directly related to semen, decreased testosterone means decreased semen.
Insomnia and Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone levels can cause difficulty in sleeping, we all need deep sleep and it is pretty difficult to get that with low testosterone levels. Sleep Apnea is a major problem that stems from low testosterone. In addition, the sex drive decreases as well. It is quite true that sex drive decreases with age but when the testosterone is low, sex drive is decreased in a significant way.
Reduced Muscles and Hot Flashes
When testosterone level decreases, so do the muscle mass. As hormones and enzymes are crucial for building muscles, less production of hormones such as testosterone can cause reduced muscles. This doesn’t mean that your muscle strength will decrease though. It only decreases the mass. While hot flashes are attributed with fluctuating estrogen level, it can also be the cause of lowered testosterone.
Decreased Energy and Increased Fat
Low Testosterone can cause lowered energy level and even fatigue, a person feels tired all the time and they don’t want to exercise or move. With decreased energy comes an increase in body fat which is a major problem for people with low testosterone. Gynecomastia is also an effect that causes breast enlargement in male.
One of the major issues with decreased testosterone level is the loss of self-confidence and self-esteem. This results in constant mood swings and depression that can be a major issue. Depression is a major cause of death in many parts of the world and low testosterone level is one cause of depression. Mental health-related issues need to be treated with care and this is why low testosterone needs to be diagnosed as soon as possible.
Diagnosing low testosterone
The symptoms alone cannot determine the testosterone level in both men and women. There are certainly other factors that need thorough examination as well. To properly pinpoint low testosterone levels, doctors will do many tests on you. These tests include:
A simple blood test can be helpful to determine testosterone levels. One thing that you need to remember is the level of testosterone can fluctuate as the day progresses. The level is very high in the morning but as the day goes, the level can somewhat fluctuate. This test doesn’t really give a solid answer though. Therefore, a blood test is not sufficient to test for low testosterone level.
There are many physical tests that can help determine the level of testosterone in your body. A doctor will normally look at the following things while performing physical test:
- The amount of hair that your body has
- The size of your breast, testes, scrotum and even penis and their consistency (tests for lumps and infections).
- Your peripheral vision (as it is related to a tumor that can cause low testosterone.
For this test, the doctor will take a glance at your medical history, in addition, S/he will also look at your family’s history. They will discuss your symptoms and this will provide the doctor with a more complete picture of the effects that low testosterone can cause. The doctor may want to know about things such as:
- The sex drive that you have
- Genetic disorders/conditions in your family (diabetes, blood pressure etc)
- The condition of impotence or your sex drive
- Current or Past Illness that you might have
The main diagnosis is performed by combining the results of the above-mentioned tests. The doctor generally takes an informed guess and they are 99% of the time right. If the doctor sees any problem, they will do extra tests which are given below:
- Hormonal tests can be performed. This is usually tested if the doctor suspects some problem in the pituitary gland. It is a really intense test so, the results may take a day or two.
- The doctor may do some genetic tests as well, this test will give the doctor; a more complete structure of your DNA so that he can get many things right.
- Another test is the MRI test if the doctor suspects a tumor. An MRI or a CT Scan will provide a complete picture of any problem.
If the diagnosis is timely and accurate, low testosterone levels can be cured pretty easily. There are many areas that the doctor will focus on so, a complete diagnosis may set you a couple of hundred dollars back but it’s worth it.
How to treat low testosterone?
Treating Low testosterone is more than possible. The way to go about doing it is quite easy actually. The natural way you can increase your testosterone level is by changing your lifestyle and adopting a very grounded, physical health regiment. What do we mean by that? Exercise of course! and Healthy Food, obviously. It has been known that resistance exercises like weight training can directly increase the level of testosterone in men. Even older men can benefit from it. Weight Training and Cardio can contribute to the loss of excess weight from the body. This, in turn, helps to increase testosterone in obese men and women.
Other equally important testosterone treatments include:
Testosterone supplements are also known as “Testosterone Boosters” and they can make your testosterone level rise. The manufacturers of testosterone boosters claim that the ingredients in the supplement can drastically change the outcome of the supplement ingestion. There is a piece of minimum evidence to support the effectiveness of these supplements but we can say that they work for most people. Also, these supplements are regulated by the FDA in the US so, they undergo strict manufacturing. This method of supplementation is a bit bad though mainly because of the side effects involved.
Food is the main source of testosterone, if you eat correct food then your body will produce a moderate amount of testosterone. But what kind of foods do you have to consume? Well, you can eat foods that have a high amount of Zinc and Vitamin D. There are many testosterone boosting food products that can help you get a good amount of vitamins and minerals that you need to be healthy enough. Other food items that are also equally beneficial are garlic that has been credited for increasing testosterone levels in all types of people. Garlic is a major source of testosterone and it has been found in every kind of research.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a huge deal for most of the people but it kind of works. It can be used to treat people with abnormally low testosterone levels. The therapy consists of medication, pills, gels, and patches and it kind of is a sure shot way to increase testosterone. The only downside is the cost of the therapy and the side effects involved. We will discuss it later.
Increasing testosterone can also be done with medications. As we talked about it earlier, different kinds of pills can be used, patches and gels are also pretty prevalent and all of this help to increase the testosterone level.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is also called Androgen Replacement Therapy. It is used for treating the low level of testosterone in people. Remember it is a medical therapy therefore, it is applicable to people with medical conditions. There are increasingly non-medical uses of this therapy and they are performed to enhance sexual drive, get high energy levels and build muscle mass for bodybuilding competitions. There are many medical journals that have published the reports and said that testosterone replacement therapy works for wide demography. Using that as the basis, today we are going to go over this subject in detail.
How can you perform TRT?
TRT can be performed in many ways. There are many methods of TRT usage in the body. The best option for TRT requires daily administration while other TRT medications are to be done on a monthly basis only. TRT must include the following: Oral Medications in the form of Pills and Liquid, Injections, Patches, creams, etc. There is also a gum form of testosterone medication.
Medical Use of TRT
TRT is mainly used for treating a condition called hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a medical condition of the gonads when they do not produce enough amount of testosterone. There are mainly two types of hypogonadism; Primary, which results from the low testosterone level in the gonads and Secondary or Central that can result from low testosterone level in your pituitary gland.
TRT works by making up the testosterone that is not produced by your testes. The therapy improves your sexual function, increases the sperm count and it’s volume in the testes and has a significant increase on other hormones like Prolactin that helps to increase the testosterone levels.
There are also some conditions that can cause an imbalance in Testosterone levels such as; Immunity Deficiency, Genetic Problems, Infections, Undescended Testicles, Radiation or Chemo, Surgeries on sex organs etc. TRT therapy tackles these kinds of problems as well.
In many developed countries, testosterone boosting medications are available to buy without a prescription. The non-medical usage of testosterone is done for things such as; losing weight, increasing energy level, increasing sexual performance, raising stamina, bodybuilding and mass gain, etc.
The non-medical use of TRT medication has some few benefits, muscle mass increment is one area where it actually works as shown by the research but there have been cases where few people, especially teenagers have had a really bad condition with TRT medication. As far as competitive sports go, using testosterone is considered to be a major sin as it is considered as “doping” which has a pretty bad rep.
The price of the therapy can really depend on a number of factors. If you have reliable health insurance then, TRT can be free but if you don’t then, it can probably cost you on a wide scale. The actual cost of the therapy can be boiled down to a number of factors like; where you stay, the type of medication you want (administration way), if there is a generic version available or not. Generally, the price can range anywhere from 20 to 1000 dollars a month which is actually pretty wide. One thing to be aware of is that TRT will only be useful to treat your Testosterone level or normalize it, it will not treat the problem that causes low testosterone in you.
All of the side effects of TRT are not public yet, the research is ongoing and experts have predicted that there are some considerable side effects. Most of the side effects stem from using a large dose of Testosterone. It is kind of unknown if proper TRT has any side effects or not. There are many side effects that can take place because of your current health as well. The side effects include:
Chest Pain, Difficulty Breathing and difficulty in speech as well, Very low sperm count, lowered HDL cholesterol level, Swell in hands or legs as well as stroke, Sleep Apnea Enlarged Prostate, A deep vein thrombosis, and even heart attack. If you are at risk for some of these problems then, you should really consider consulting a doctor before starting TRT and don’t directly go for non-medical usage, that is not a smart thing to do!
Low testosterone can be a problematic situation for many as testosterone is one of the most important male sex hormones. It is the hormone responsible for the overall feasibility of human reproduction therefore, it is necessary to normalize the ‘T’ level in your body. There are many ways to go about it, we discussed the natural ways to d it and also artificial things such as supplements and therapy. While doing these treatments, it is crucial that you follow the method properly. It is recommended that you see a doctor before doing any treatment yourself.