Feeling extremely exhausted, irritable and uninterested in sex lately? These signs could be more than just stress-related or from being overworked. These things could be indications of low testosterone.
Findings in one study suggest that one out of four men suffer from low testosterone, and older men are more likely to suffer from it; however, age is not an exemption. Even younger men can suffer from low testosterone.
Conquer low testosterone before it conquers your life. Here are low testosterone signs you should be wary of:
1. Low Sex Drive
Low sex drive is one of the most common low testosterone signs in men. Researchers say there is no exact explanation as to how low testosterone affect’s a man’s sex drive. According to most experts, almost all men will experience a decline in sex drive if their testosterone levels stop low enough.
Moreover, men may experience a decline in their sex drive as they age. Some research suggests it goes down one percent each year, starting at the age of 30.But, men with significantly low testosterone may experience a more drastic effect on their sex drives, regardless of age.
Interestingly, one study in 2012 by Australian researchers suggests that aging may play a part in declining testosterone levels, but behavioral factors and health problems play bigger roles. The study had 1,500 male participants aged 35 to 80 who underwent blood tests to measure testosterone twice apart in five years.
On the data analysis, the researchers included the lab test results of 1,382 men and excluded results from men who had medical conditions and were taking medications that interfere with hormone production.
Based on the analysis, testosterone levels did not decrease significantly over five years and the decline each year could be less than one percent. When the researchers analyzed the data in subgroups, they found out that most men with lowered testosterone levels are those who became obese in five years, those who suffered depression and men who quit smoking.
Moreover, men who were not married had greater testosterone decline than married men. One researcher added that married men tend to be healthier and happier and engage in regular sexual activity, which may contribute to increased testosterone.
2. Difficulty Achieving Erection
Erection problems can occur for many psychological and health reasons. Low testosterone alone is not likely to cause erection problems because men with testosterone below the normal range can still achieve healthy erections. What is clear is that low testosterone tends to be common in men with diabetes, heart problems and obesity, which all contribute to erection problems.
The role of testosterone in achieving an erection is stimulating receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide, a compound that dilates blood vessels to increase blood flow and therefore enables an erection. When testosterone levels take a significant drop, it may affect your ability to achieve erections including erections during sleep.
3. Low Semen Volume
On average, men’s normal ejaculate volume range from three to five cubic centimeters. Contrary to what most people believe, most of the seminal fluid released during ejaculation does not come from the testicles,but from the seminal vesicles and prostate. You need sufficient testosterone levels for the testicles, seminal vesicle and prostate to work hand in hand and produce a normal ejaculate volume. Other factors could affect this production process, but low testosterone levels could also play a role.
4. Hair Loss
The role of low testosterone on hair loss is a bit complex. There are three types of testosterone in the body, the testosterone-binding globulin, bound albumin testosterone and free testosterone. Free testosterone makes up almost all of the bio available testosterone in the body, which is responsible for the development of male characteristics including hair growth.
Certain enzymes in the body convert a small percentage of your free testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Therefore, there is a decrease in your free testosterone level and an increase in DHT level. Dihydrotestosterone is a steroid hormone that binds to the receptors found in your hair follicles causing the hair follicles to shrink and unable to grow healthy hair that may lead to androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness.
Men with low testosterone may not only suffer from hair loss on the scalp. It can also include facial and body hair.
5. Fatigue and a Lack of Energy
Fatigue or extreme tiredness is one of the most common symptoms in men with low testosterone. It is the kind of tiredness that won’t go away even after getting enough rest and sleepiness during the day, even if you had enough sleep the previous night.
Fatigue can be due to several reasons, and if you can’t think of any reasons for your lack of energy and extreme tiredness, low testosterone levels could be the culprit behind it.
6. Loss of Muscle Mass
Testosterone is responsible for many physical changes in men, including muscle growth and strength. Muscle cells have androgen receptors wherein testosterone binds itself to help maintain muscle fibers. Without testosterone, muscle fibers will eventually deteriorate and lose its bulky frame.
Sadly enough, lifting weights or any form of exercise alone may not be able to reverse the loss of muscle mass due to low testosterone.
7. Increase in Body Fat
What worse could happen than losing muscle mass due to low testosterone? Yes, it’s the increase of body fat, which is highly responsible for the appearance of man boobs or “moobs,” and beer bellies.
Low testosterone may lead to the deposit of fat, particularly in the belly area. Fat cells, especially in the belly area cause the production of aromatase, an enzyme that converts into estrogen and estrogen, can cause fat storage in other areas of the body, such as the thighs, hips, and chest.
Low testosterone and storage of fats can create a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
8. Decrease in Bone Mass
It is a common misconception that osteoporosis or loss of bone mass can only happen to women due to lack of calcium. Guess what? Osteoporosis can also happen to men, though more common in women, due to significantly low testosterone levels.
A lot of men with low testosterone suffer from osteopenia, a condition referring to bone density that is lower than normal, but not lower enough to be called osteoporosis. However, the longer a man with osteopenia suffers from testosterone deficiency, the greater his risk of suffering from osteoporosis.
9. Mood Changes
Have you noticed that women in their menopause age tend to be more irritable and aggressive? Men who experience fluctuating hormones will also experience mood swings. This is because brain cells have testosterone receptors that may influence mental health. Men with low T may experience difficulty concentrating, mood swings and depression.
According to studies, men with low testosterone are likely to suffer from symptoms of depression. In addition, the symptoms of low testosterone, such as fatigue, low sex drive, and weight gain can increase distress, which can be more depressing to men with testosterone deficiency.
11. Weight Gain
Several things contribute to weight gain when it comes to low testosterone. Loss of muscle mass, increase in body fat and fatigue, which can get in the way of living an active life all lead to weight gain. What’s more, it can be a vicious cycle between weight gain and low T because men who are overweight or obese tend to have low testosterone.
12. Sleeping Problems
Low testosterone does not directly cause sleeping problems. Nevertheless, sleeping problems, including insomnia and sleep apnea could be a sign of low T in men because the lack of sleep can lower testosterone levels.
Production of testosterone follows a circadian rhythm; it peaks in the morning and gradually decreases in the afternoon. Replenishing of your testosterone happens during sleep, because your brain sends a signal to your testes to produce more testosterone to get you ready for the next day. However, you need more than shuteye to trigger testosterone production. It should be hours of undisturbed or REM sleep.
If you’re having difficulty getting quality sleep, your testosterone could be low.
These symptoms could be the answer to your longstanding question “Do I have low testosterone?” If you suffer from these low testosterone signs and symptoms, see your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis.
Low T: When is It Too Low?
Testosterone is a male sex hormone mainly produced by the testes and partly by the adrenal glands. Testosterone production peaks during puberty as the hormone are responsible for several physical changes in males at this age. Testosterone production normally takes a constant decline as men age, usually starting at the age of 30.
Failure of the testes to produce sufficient testosterone or hypogonadism not only happens in aging men. It can happen to younger men even in their teens due to:
- Injury to the scrotum or testicles
- Undescended testicles, or cryptorchidism
- Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy
Secondary and tertiary hypogonadism could also be the cause of low testosterone. Secondary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem with the pituitary gland, which is responsible for regulating hormone-producing glands. Tertiary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem with the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland.
Medical conditions and lifestyle factors can also contribute to low testosterone. These include:
- Renal Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Drug Abuse
You need to undergo blood testing to measure your testosterone level. A normal measurement ranges from 280 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter in healthy men. Based on some medical observations, symptoms usually occur when a man’s testosterone level is as low as 100 to 200 nanograms per deciliter.
Women also have testosterone and may suffer from testosterone deficiency as well. Signs of low testosterone in females include:
- Hair loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Decreased sex drive
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Fatigue and a constant lack of energy
Low testosterone signs in males and females are almost the same. Men have significantly more testosterone than women. Therefore, testosterone level measurement may vary accordingly.
How to Increase Testosterone: Learning Which Low Testosterone Treatment is Best for You
If low testosterone symptoms affect your quality of life, you can choose to undergo treatment. Treatment for low testosterone varies depending on its cause. If it is due to a medical condition, you may need to treat your condition firsthand.
Getting an accurate diagnosis should be your first step in getting treatment. If you suspect your symptoms are due to low testosterone, your doctor can perform a blood test.
If the blood test is affirmative of low T, here are your treatment options:
1. Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT is not only for women. Men with significantly low testosterone levels may also undergo HRT to improve symptoms associated with hypogonadism. HRT comes in different forms. It could be muscular injections, testosterone patches, testosterone pellets inserted under the buttock’s skin, or topical gels.
However, use of HRT has its drawbacks. It has minor and serious side effects that may outweigh its benefits.
Minor side-effects of testosterone HRT include:
- Fluid retention
More serious side effects of testosterone HRT include:
- Breast enlargement
- Decreased size of the testicle
- Worsening of sleep apnea if you suffer from it
- Fluctuation of cholesterol level
- Increased red cell blood count
- Decreased sperm count
- Prostate growth
An FDA warning issued in March 2015 stated that there is an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death in men with low T due to aging who used testosterone therapy. Before deciding to undergo HRT, weight your options first and think if it is the best choice for you. For more information on how testosterone replacement therapy can affect you, join a TRT forum.
2. Low Testosterone Supplements
Testosterone supplements do not contain testosterone or testosterone-like substances. What they do is increase testosterone by stimulating your body to produce more testosterone.Usually, these supplements are a mixture of herbs and plants known to increase testosterone production and promote good health.
Herbs usually found in testosterone supplements include:
- Tongkat Ali
Most supplements also contain DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone that converts to testosterone. Before taking any form of testosterone supplement check with your doctor first. They may contain substances that can interact with the medications you are taking, or they may aggravate certain medical conditions.
3. Lifestyle Alterations
Aging play a role in declining testosterone levels, but your lifestyle can hugely contribute to the decline of testosterone. Your doctor will also require you to shift to a healthier lifestyle along with modern treatment. Lifestyle changes that may improve testosterone levels include:
- Get enough quality sleep.Testosterone production is active during sleep, and it should be an undisturbed sleep. A healthy adult requires at least seven hours of sleep to function well.
Aim for at least seven hours of undisturbed sleep. Turn off your gadgets or keep it away from your bed. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Turn off the lights if you have to. Establish a sleeping pattern by allotting an exact time of when you should go to bed every night. Your body will get used to the rhythm and disruption in your established sleeping pattern could lead to sleeping problems the next days.
- Lose some weight. Overweight or obese men are more likely to have low testosterone levels, and low testosterone levels may increase storage of fat in the body. A study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology confirmed that losing weight can help increase testosterone production.
Avoid crash diets. An effective and safe way to lose weight is to eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Make sure you get enough zinc.Low testosterone or hypogonadism could be to zinc deficiency. The effect of zinc on testosterone production remains unclear, but according to experts properly guided zinc supplementation may help increase testosterone.
You need a daily intake of zinc because your body cannot store zinc. Taking zinc supplement is not always necessary; you can get zinc from your diet by eating these foods:
- Fortified Cereals
- Lean Pork
Eating these zinc-rich foods each day can help you reach the recommended daily intake of zinc, which is 11 milligrams.
- Curb calorie intake.According to research in 2011, limiting calorie intake for up to 600 calories a day effectively improved sexual desire in obese men with type 2 diabetes. The participants’ diets in the study were low in fat, low in sugar and high in carbohydrates. Your doctor can customize a diet plan for you depending on your body’s nutritional need and current health condition.
- Be physically active through regular exercise.Regular exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise particularly resistance training proved to be effective in increasing testosterone level naturally. It can also make you feel better and healthier in general. You need to exercise at least 30 minutes a day to reap its benefits. Incorporating simple exercises in your daily activities is also a way of ensuring you stay active.
- Tackle any substance abuse.Smoking, excessive alcohol intake and drug abuse are generally bad for your healthy, which may affect hormone production. You may need to entirely quit any substance abuse or slow down with smoking and limit your alcohol intake. You can seek help from a professional if you cannot tackle substance abuse on your own.
- Deal with daily stressors effectively.Too much stress triggers the body to release a high amount of cortisol, which can suppress testosterone and affect your sleeping pattern. Practice relaxing techniques when you put in stressful situations. Deep breathing can help. Make a priority list of your activities to avoid overlapping and multitasking, which can be stressful.
Doctors may recommend lifestyle changes along with medical treatment to alleviate low testosterone signs, or they can recommend these lifestyle changes alone to increase testosterone levels.
Testosterone is what makes a man a “man.” Watching out for these low T signs allows you to fix it before it ruins your life.
Testosterone is what makes a man a “man.”Watching out for these low T signs allows you to conquer low testosterone level before it conquers your life.