Causes and Symptoms of Low Testosterone
As we grow older, our bodies change. Though it’s so obvious it can go without saying, our age brings quite a few unfavorable physical characteristics. Your skin is not as youthful as it once was, your body has less energy than it used to and your belly protrudes a bit more than it did a few years ago. Ripening also can cause some more embarrassing problems, like suffering from lower levels of testosterone. But, what are the symptoms of low testosterone?
You may not be able to realize you have low testosterone, or low t, right away. You may start to feel yourself going into a slump, meaning an onset of greater fatigue, muscle weakness, depression or erectile dysfunction. While you may think you’ve simply succumbed to old age, you don’t have to live with your situation permanently. Low testosterone may be to blame for your health issues, but treatments exist that can restore your health, making you feel better and younger.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Testosterone, a hormone found in large amounts in men, helps to bulk muscles, lower voices, grow body hair and enlarge male reproductive parts. It also boosts libido and maintains strong bones and muscles. When the testes stop or decrease testosterone creation, or when they’re not stimulated by the pituitary gland to start producing it in a condition called hypogonadism, low testosterone results.
Several other factors can spur lower testosterone, like obesity, diabetes, certain medications, diseases, and hormone disorders. Even high blood pressure, high cholesterol, HIV or AIDS can cause low testosterone, according to the Urology Care Foundation.
What You May Experience with Low Testosterone
Low testosterone sparks a slew of symptoms that can cause discomfort and embarrassment. MedicineNet lists body fat distribution as one responsibility of testosterone. If your testosterone lowers, you may notice your body getting fatter in some places and your muscles getting smaller in others. Sufferers may have trouble sleeping, decreased sex drive, infertility, loss of motivation, low energy, anemia, and several other symptoms.
Everyday Health featured a story about Ed Stevens, a man who began experiencing fatigue, a depressed mood and low libido in his mid-50s. When he started having trouble lifting weights at the gym, an activity he had done regularly for years, he went to see a doctor. Stevens’ physician diagnosed him with low testosterone, so Stevens increased his cardio exercise and improved his diet to fight it with a combination of natural tactics and a testosterone treatment with medication.
Though it cleared many of his low testosterone symptoms, Stevens still experienced muscle weakness and decreased sex drive. After beginning a new testosterone treatment, the rest of his symptoms improved. Though testosterone treatment may not fit everyone, Stevens urged people to strive for improvement for low testosterone instead of accepting it. Many men reach a point where low testosterone becomes an issue; however, clinics offering solutions do exist and actually improve conditions.
When You Should See a Doctor for Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Do you believe you’re suffering from low testosterone? According to WebMD, about 40 percent of men over age 45 have lower-than-normal testosterone levels. If you notice symptoms related to low testosterone, especially ones that are affecting your everyday life, try visiting a physician who can help.
Today, the conversation seems to flow more openly, and there are doctors who focus on treating low testosterone. When you visit a doctor, he’ll most likely start by testing your blood to get a measurement of your hormone levels. Keep in mind low testosterone remains a possibility in accordance with your symptoms, but you should be open to other diagnoses too. While it’s normal to be embarrassed when you attend an appointment, the doctor wants to help you, not judge you.
One common treatment doctors administer to patients with low testosterone is testosterone pellets, a procedure also known as testosterone replacement therapy. After the doctor inserts the pellet containing a hormone combination into the patient’s skin, the body absorbs the hormones.
The treatment proves more effective than oral medication because it bypasses the stomach, allowing the body to fully receive the hormones without interruption from the digestive system. The pellet lasts about four to five months in men before dissolving.