Chronic Low Testosterone — Symptoms and Solutions
Since 2012, the number of prescriptions for testosterone supplements has increased five-fold — men and women alike are seeking relief from the unpleasant symptoms of chronic low testosterone as awareness of this common illness grows.
As we age, our testosterone levels begin to drop, which can create some issues that include (but are not limited to) infertility, fatigue, reduced libido, and weight gain (though ironically, treatment of Low T can itself cause sperm counts to decline further, which is why hCG is sometimes recommended).
Let’s explore the warning signs and symptoms of chronic low testosterone that you should watch for, and let’s discuss why you shouldn’t just brush them off.
The Significance of Testosterone
The hormone known as testosterone is responsible for the development of male characteristics. Women also produce this hormone in the ovaries, but it is made in much smaller quantities.
Most of us know that testosterone is associated with the male sex drive, but did you know it’s also responsible for red blood cell production and fat distribution? In addition, this hormone contributes to muscle strength and bone mass in both men and women.
Given the significant responsibilities of testosterone in your body (no matter your sex), it’s no wonder low testosterone can have such a detrimental effect on your body and your well being.
Although the hormone naturally begins to decline after age 30 or so, this is not the same thing as clinically diagnosed low testosterone.
Testosterone Naturally Declines With Age, but That’s not the Same Thing as Low Testosterone
Though testosterone will naturally decline in a process colloquially known as “manopause,” this is not the same thing as clinically low testosterone. Clinically low testosterone is caused by a problem in your body, whether that be a genetic issue (e.g. Klinefelter’s syndrome), a physical issue (i.e. physical damage to your body), or the symptom of a disease.
You will not simply develop low testosterone over time as a consequence of aging — something has to cause it.
Here are the signs of clinically low testosterone.
Decreased Sex Drive
One the most noticeable signs of chronic low testosterone is a decreased sex drive. As testosterone levels decrease, so does libido, but researchers still cannot pinpoint exactly why.
Low testosterone is linked to erectile dysfunction, but it’s rare for Low T to be the sole cause of the problem.
Anxiety and Depression
Testosterone plays a big role in your metabolism, so it’s no surprise that declining levels of this hormone often lead to weight gain.
Men with lower levels of testosterone have a higher percentage of body fat than men with high or normal levels.
It has been suggested that the increased body fat is, itself, responsible — it produces an enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol (estrogen). The increase in estrogen slows down the production of testosterone, which leads to even more body fat, and then even more estrogen further suppressing testosterone production. It’s a vicious cycle that is difficult to fix because of chronic fatigue — another symptom of chronic low testosterone.
Chronic fatigue is a real issue in men with low testosterone levels — even a full night’s rest can still leave you waking up tired and unmotivated to tackle the work of the day.
With little energy and initiative, men with low testosterone are more likely to forego working out, which contributes to weight gain, and also increases the chances of developing depression.
Low testosterone levels may cause thin, brittle bones. Although osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bones,” is a condition that is typically associated with women, research shows that 20% of all cases are men.
Testosterone is converted into estrogen. That estrogen is necessary to build bone mass, and it naturally preserves bone density.
When there’s little testosterone to convert, your bone health is at risk.
Treatment for Low Testosterone
Normal testosterone levels are critical to living a happy, healthy life. If you’re suffering from the symptoms listed below, it can only help to get your levels tested — if nothing else, you’ll know where you stand.
One way to regulate testosterone and its symptoms is through testosterone replacement therapy. The most common (and most effective) method of testosterone replacement therapy involves testosterone injections, which can have a variety of benefits when administered by a trained clinician, including the following:
- Increased sex drive
- Improved symptoms of erectile dysfunction
- Increased energy
- Enhanced mood
- Increased muscle mass
- Fat loss when applied with exercise and a balanced diet
Getting Tested For Chronic Low Testosterone
If you think you might be suffering from chronic low testosterone, a simple blood test is all it takes to assess your current levels and overall hormone balance.
It’s the first step in determining the best course of treatment.
Learn more about how simple these blood tests can be — click to start.