Testosterone is a hormone found in all humans. Men have much higher levels of testosterone than women. Testosterone production increases during puberty and starts to decrease after age 30. For each year over age 30, the level of testosterone in men starts to slowly dip at a rate of around 1 percent per year. A decrease in testosterone level is a natural result of aging.
What does this natural hormonal decrease really mean? What symptoms or side effects accompany a loss of the male hormone? Testosterone helps maintain a number of important bodily functions in men, including:
- Sex drive
- Sperm production
- Muscle mass/strength
- Fat distribution
- Bone density
- Red blood cell production
- Because testosterone affects so many functions, its decrease can bring about significant physical and emotional changes.
Warning signs of Low T
One of the biggest worries faced by men with declining testosterone levels is the chance that their sexual desire and performance will be affected. As men age, they can experience a number of symptoms related to sexual function that may be a result of lowered levels of this hormone. These include:
- Desire for sex is reduced
- Erections occur less frequently or spontaneously, such as during sleep
- Low fertility
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is not commonly caused by insufficient testosterone production. In cases where ED accompanies lower testosterone production, hormone replacement therapy may help your ED.
Testosterone is the hormone most responsible for sex drives and high libidos in men. A decrease in testosterone can mean a decrease in libido, fewer spontaneous erections, and a slightly lower sperm count. None of these side effects should happen suddenly. If they do, there could be other issues at play.
A number of physical changes can happen to your body if you have low testosterone levels. Testosterone is sometimes referred to as the "male" hormone. It helps increase muscle mass, leads to body hair, and contributes to an overall masculine form. Decreases in testosterone can lead to physical changes including the following:
- Body fat increase
- Strength/muscle mass decrease
- Loss of body hair
- Breast tissue swelling or tenderness
- Changes in cholesterol levels
Despite that fact that it can cause lower energy levels, low testosterone can also cause problems with sleep such as insomnia and other changes in your sleep patterns.
There is a strong correlation between low testosterone and a decrease in the hours of sleep.
In addition to causing physical changes, having low levels of testosterone can affect you on an emotional level. The condition can lead to feelings of sadness or feeling depressed. It can also degrade your overall sense of well-being. Some men experience difficulty concentrating and/or memory loss. Some men report lowered motivation and self-confidence.
Testosterone is a hormone that affects emotional regulation. Depression has been linked to men with low testosterone. This could result from a combination of the irritability, decreased sex drive, and fatigue that can come with low testosterone.
Treatment for Low T
Regardless of the reason you're experiencing low testosterone, there are treatment options available to increase testosterone levels and reduce the side effects you're experiencing from low T. Treatment options include the following:
Testosterone supplementation is an option for men experiencing low testosterone. It can be delivered in several ways: injections into the muscle every few weeks; gels applied to the skin; or pellets that are inserted under the skin of the buttocks.
Losing weight and being physically active
Exercising more and losing weight can help slow the decrease of testosterone your body is experiencing.
Erectile dysfunction medication
If you're most concerning symptom from lower testosterone is erectile dysfunction, erectile dysfunction medication may help to treat the symptoms.
Successful treatment of Low Testosterone requires a thorough assessment by a medical professional highly trained and experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of Low T in men. At Physicians Age Management Centers, hormone replacement therapy is what we do, everyday. It's our specialty. If Low T or Erectile Dysfunction is an issue of concern for you, call us today for a free consultation at 919-850-0880.