Low Testosterone: 10 Signs & Symptoms

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is made in the testicles. However, small amounts of testosterone are also found in females.

The levels of testosterone are important for both sexes but if the balance of this hormone is somewhat ‘off,’ then it can have a significant impact, especially for males. 

It is during puberty that testosterone helps boys develop male characteristics such as body and facial hair, more muscular strength, and a deeper voice.

Testosterone is also required for men to produce sperm. And, while levels of this sex hormone naturally decrease with age, there are some signs and effects on the body if testosterone levels are too low.

While it is common for older men to have lower testosterone levels, some younger men also experience lower levels. This is known as Testosterone Deficiency Disorder (TD) or Low Testosterone (Low-T).

A deficiency simply means that the body is lacking a healthy amount of a certain substance such as hormones.

Low Testosterone: 10 Signs and Symptoms

If a group of symptoms is found, then this becomes a syndrome suggesting the individual may be suffering from a certain condition or disease. 

There are many signs and symptoms for men who may have low testosterone levels. This can affect them in various ways from erectile dysfunction and a reduced sex drive to reduced bone mass. 

In today’s article, we will be discussing the most common signs and symptoms of low testosterone and why this could be happening.

Main Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels in Men 

Testosterone hormones play a range of very important functions in the human body. These include:

  • The proper development of muscles and bones
  • Hair growth (body and facial)
  • The deepening of the voice
  • The production of sperm

While testosterone helps to change most male bodies during puberty, the production of this hormone tends to decrease as a person ages. This is why many older men will show symptoms of low testosterone. 

According to the American Urology Association, less than 300 nanograms (ng) of the testosterone hormone per deciliter (dl) of blood is regarded as low testosterone. The Association found that around 2 in every 100 men suffer from low testosterone levels. 

Let’s take a look at the main signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels below.

Erectile Dysfunction 

Erectile Dysfunction

This is a common symptom of low testosterone. This hormone helps to stimulate the penile tissues and produces nitric oxide. This leads to a range of reactions that eventually result in an erection. 

If testosterone levels are too low, then a man may find it difficult to get or sustain an erection. 

Some other factors can cause erection issues such as smoking, stress or anxiety, high alcohol consumption, diabetes, thyroid-related conditions, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. 

A Reduction in Bone Mass 

As we mentioned above, testosterone can help produce bone tissue as well as maintain healthy bone volume. If a person has low testosterone levels, this bone volume can reduce.

Therefore, bones become more susceptible to breaks and fractures. This may be one reason why older individuals fracture bones more frequently and easily.

Hair Loss 

Hair loss is common in many men. This is experienced by most men as a natural part of aging. Age-related hair loss can also affect women but it is more likely in males.

A 2012 study concluded that testosterone implants can actually support new regrowth of hair follicles in some women who were receiving treatment for sex hormone deficiency.

So, while testosterone is often seen as the culprit of follicly challenged people, it could be the low levels of the hormone causing hair loss.

Reduced Testicle Size 

If you have noticed a reduction in the size of your testicles, it could be a sign of low testosterone. While cold temperatures often have an effect on the size of the testicles, a reduction in size in other circumstances could be down to lower hormone levels.

Another sign can be a softer than usual scrotum. This can be checked over by yourself or a medical professional.

Reduced Sperm Count 

Male ejaculate is essentially made up of fluid. This fluid is known as semen. This fluid helps the sperm move toward the egg of a female for impregnation. 

Testosterone is critical in the production of semen. If someone is experiencing low levels of testosterone, their levels of semen can also be lower. This can lead to trouble with fertility and more difficulty having children. 

A Decreased Sex Drive 

A Decreased Sex Drive 

Everyone has their own sex drive. Some have a higher drive than others. However, men who have low testosterone levels will usually experience a reduction in their sex drive. 

Of course, the sex drive tends to naturally diminish with age as testosterone levels lower. However, this can become an issue for younger men looking to start a family. If you have noticed a significant decrease in your sex drive, it could be a sign of low testosterone. 

Difficulty Sleeping 

Many people have difficulty with sleeping. For some men, this trouble could be a symptom of low testosterone levels. This includes difficulty when trying to fall asleep and staying asleep. 

Many men with low testosterone also experience sleep apnea. This can potentially be a very serious sleep disorder. This causes someone to temporarily stop breathing disrupting sleep and, in serious cases, it can become life-threatening. 

Reduction in Muscle Mass 

Testosterone is critically important in the development of muscle mass. Reduced levels of this hormone can lead to extensive loss of muscle mass in some people.

However, a 2016 study found that lower testosterone levels may decrease muscle mass but it does not affect the function of the strength of muscles.

Lower Energy Levels 

A reduction in energy levels is a common sign of low testosterone levels. Fatigue means a person will feel tired, even after they have had adequate rest.

As well as this, someone with low testosterone may also show less interest in movements and exercise as energy levels are too low. 

Increase in Body Fat 

Increased body fat can be a tell-tale sign of low testosterone levels. For some men who have a deficiency in this sex hormone, they may develop gynecomastia. This can cause the enlargement of the breast tissue leading to increased fat mass around this area. 

In Summary 

Approximately 2 in 100 men have low testosterone levels. This can affect them in a myriad of ways from increased body fat to a reduction in bone mass.

While a lower level of testosterone is a natural part of aging, it can be treated with certain therapies. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about low testosterone levels.

If required, they may decide to undertake tests to determine if you are suffering from low testosterone. If so, your doctor may propose treatment to increase the sex hormone to healthy levels once again. 

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