NB. The only way to be sure as to whether or not you have low testosterone is to take a test. You can get one from your doctor or postal testosterone tests are available, this article seeks to address the warning signs.
Low testosterone levels, also called testosterone deficiency syndrome, is a condition where you have a low blood testosterone level. Recent studies saw data suggest it affects 2% of the population and 8% of the over 50s, with those percentages being much higher in males .
Symptoms of low testosterone can range from mild and annoying to potentially life altering. Diagnosing low testosterone conclusively will require a medical examination, and the longer you suffer from low testosterone levels, the worse the symptoms are likely to get.
Luckily, there are steps you can take while waiting for your blood test results or even when you first think you may have low testosterone. With that in mind, we will now show you the most common low testosterone symptoms and explain how to go about treating them.
What Are The Main Causes Of Low Testosterone?
There are a number of things that can cause you to have low testosterone levels. Health conditions like male hypogonadism and increased body fat are among the most common causes, while other factors like simply being an aging male can also cause levels to drop.
Even certain medications like opioids and steroids can make testosterone levels fall. This will usually occur as a result of these factors damaging or impeding the glands that produce the hormone, causing it to be released into your system much more slowly than it normally would.
The Symptoms Of Testosterone Deficiency
The only way to know for sure if you have a testosterone deficiency is with a blood test. That said, there are a number of specific symptoms of low testosterone to look out for if you think you may have an issue and want to treat it before any other health problems can develop.
Anaemia is a medical condition where the red blood cells aren't able to transport oxygen around the body effectively. This can lead to a number of symptoms of its own, such as cramps, dizziness, problems sleeping, trouble concentrating, and an elevated heart rate.
Recent studies have shown a clear pattern of men with low testosterone levels having an increased risk factor of developing anaemia. This is due to testosterone helping to produce haemoglobin, the part of the blood used to transport oxygen.
Anxiety & Depression
There has been heavy links between testosterone levels and the uptake of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that directly affects your mood, with low levels causing people to develop conditions like anxiety and depression.
With low testosterone levels leading to poor serotonin uptake, it puts you at much greater risk of developing these and other mental conditions .
While testosterone is an important sex hormone for both men and women, it is especially important for the sexual function of men. Erectile dysfunction, meaning the inability to get or maintain an erection, is one of the most common symptoms of low testosterone in men.
The lower your testosterone level is, the harder it becomes to get an erection, and those with extremely low levels may not be able to get one at all .
Fatigue & Low Energy Levels
One of the main functions of testosterone is to give you energy and a feeling of vitality.
When your testosterone levels start to dip, you will gradually become less energetic as a result. If left untreated, this can even develop into chronic fatigue syndrome, with sufferers struggling to find the energy to complete even the most basic tasks .
Testosterone is a follicle stimulating hormone that can attach directly to the roots of the hair. When your testosterone levels get too low, the hair begins to weaken and you may start to notice bald patches.
Low testosterone is one of the main causes of male pattern baldness (contrary to popular belief) on the head, but it can also affect hair growth of body hair and facial hair as well .
Testosterone affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which controls your body temperature, and keeps it functioning effectively. One of the more common and earliest presenting low testosterone symptoms is that the hypothalamus will start to malfunction.
It will begin sending false signals, tricking the rest of the body into thinking its temperature is wrong, which will lead to hot flashes .
Lowered Bone Density
The receptors in the brain which are responsible for producing osteoblasts, the cells that form bone tissue and determine bone mass, are directly affected by testosterone. Those with low testosterone levels will see the number of these osteoblasts produced decrease .
This means your bones will stop being repaired as effectively, bone mass and bone density will decrease, and you are likely to see an increase in the number of fractures or breaks you experience.
Much like with anxiety and depression, the affect testosterone has on the receptors in our brain means it has a major impact on our mood and mental health . This means, when our levels aren't correct, our brain doesn't function as it should.
As a result, mood swings are one of the most commonly experienced low testosterone symptoms.
Reduced Sex Drive
Testosterone plays a vital role in the functioning of the sex organs and libido, especially in men. This means not only does low testosterone impair erectile function but it can also cause a man's sex drive to diminish or disappear entirely .
Reduction In Muscle Mass
Testosterone is required for protein synthesis and the development of muscle tissue, which is why artificial testosterone is used by people like bodybuilders as steroid injections.
When you are suffering from low testosterone, not only will you not be able to build new muscle but you also won't be able to effectively repair the fibres of what you already have. This will lead to a reduction in both muscle strength and muscle mass .
Testosterone is required for the development of the male genitals, and low testosterone levels during adolescence can lead to them not developing at the normal rate. Similarly, in extreme cases, low testosterone levels can lead to genital shrinkage in older men as well .
The shrinking or insufficient development of the genitals can also lead to other medical conditions, including male hypogonadism and poor sperm production.
Low testosterone causing a reduction in your muscle mass can also lead to an increase in body fat cells as well . This is because muscle mass is directly tied to a person's metabolism.
That means there is a direct chain between low testosterone, low muscle mass, low metabolism, and increased fat storage and weight gain. This is particularly unfortunate as weight gain can also lower testosterone in and of itself.
How To Boost Testosterone Levels Naturally
Once you have conclusively determined you are suffering from low testosterone levels it is vital you take action as soon as possible, to reverse the symptoms and prevent any further damage. We will therefore now look at the most common treatment options that are available.
Whilst it is more difficult if you're suffering with a low testosterone level if you are overweight this can wreak havoc on your testosterone production. This doesn't just mean BMI however, body fat percentage has more of an impact. So working out can help.
Not getting enough sleep can also cause low t, again this is another compounding issue as disturbed sleep is an issue caused by low testosterone symptoms.
Testosterone Supplements And Getting The Right Vitamins
Testosterone boosters are an over the counter supplement that will be made using a blend of natural herbs and ingredients. These ingredients will have the ability to stimulate your body's natural testosterone production when consumed in the correct doses.
The benefit is you aren't using any artificial hormones that could cause harm. These boosters typically address vitamin and mineral deficiencies which can cause low testosterone symptoms.
The drawback to this is that the effects of testosterone boosters are also quite mild. This means if you are much further below normal levels than you anticipated, it is unlikely to work and the time wasted puts you at a higher risk of the condition worsening.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Rather than using supplements to boost your natural testosterone production, testosterone replacement therapy will see a person administered small doses of artificial testosterone.
Testosterone replacement therapy can be given through many methods, including injections, pills, patches, skin creams, subcutaneous pellets, or testosterone gel.
Due to its greater strength and use of controlled substances, testosterone replacement therapy requires a prescription and will sometimes need to be administered by a medical professional.
Testosterone replacement therapy can also cause side effects, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, enlarged breasts, sleep apnea, prostate and other men's health issues, hair loss, lowered sperm production, and the development of certain other medical conditions.
While you will definitely want to get blood tests done to conclusively determine whether or not you have a testosterone deficiency, knowing what symptoms to look out for will give you the ability to diagnose low testosterone levels as early as possible.
This is important as the earlier you start treatment, the easier it is to reduce the symptoms and reverse the damage.
With common treatment options like testosterone boosters and testosterone replacement therapy available, low testosterone isn't as big of an issue as it once was, but it is still one you need to keep on top of.