How Low Is Too Low?
As men get older, a drop in testosterone is considered normal. But sometimes, a significant reduction in testosterone can adversely affect a man’s quality of life. What is the difference between natural aging and abnormally low testosterone?
What is considered normal?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. The hormone is responsible for regulating sex drive, fat distribution, muscle mass, bone mass, and sperm production. Depending on the individual, normal levels can vary considerably. The range is of what is considered normal is so broad, men can have difficulty determining whether levels are concerningly low or just a natural part of aging.
Age and testosterone
Testosterone levels are expected to decrease with age. Low-T is also often referred to as hypogonadism. Much like women experience hormonal imbalance through menopause, men have the same imbalances during andropause. Low testosterone levels can put men at a higher risk for osteoporosis.
What are the symptoms of a deficiency?
When men have abnormally low testosterone, some symptoms can occur. The most common of these include reduced sex drive, loss of pubic hair, decrease in energy, feelings of fatigue, depression, or disrupted sleep. Men often also notice a reduction in muscle mass and strength.
When to see a doctor
Men who experience any of the symptoms of a deficiency should schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. An endocrinologist is the best specialist to diagnose hypogonadism. A proper diagnosis is necessary to determine if the cause is nature or some underlying pituitary issue.
Causes of low testosterone
Sometimes low testosterone is simply part of the aging process. In other cases, there may be an underlying factor or condition. Some of these include depression, thyroid gland conditions, or excessive alcohol use. Some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, or morbid obesity can also cause levels to drop.
When someone has a deficiency in this hormone, a doctor may recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The treatment is available as an oral medication, patch, topical cream, or injection. People also opt for TRT to help increase energy, boost sexual drive, lose weight, or increase muscle.
How do you know your testosterone is low?
A gradual decline in testosterone is to be expected with aging. However, if low testosterone is affecting a man’s quality of life, TRT may be an option. Speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more about diagnosis and treatment options.