Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced in the testicles. Testosterone hormone levels are important for normal male growth and function.
During adolescence (adolescence), testosterone helps boys develop masculine features such as body and facial hair, deep voice, and muscle strength. Men need testosterone to make sperm. Testosterone levels usually drop with age, so older men tend to have lower testosterone levels in the blood.
Some men have low testosterone levels. This is called Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD) or low testosterone (Low-T). Deficiency means that the body does not have enough of what it needs. Syndrome is a group of symptoms that, together, suggest a disease or health condition.
The American Urology Association (AUA) detects low blood pressure (Low-T) below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng / dL). These symptoms or conditions may be associated with Low-T:
Low sex drive
Decreased soft tissue
There are many other possible causes for these symptoms such as opioid use, other birth conditions (congenital medical conditions), loss or damage to the testicles, diabetes, and obesity (obesity). See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Why Testosterone Therapy (TT)?
You may need testosterone treatment (TT) if you have Low-T. Both the FDA and the AUA recommend that TT be used to treat congenital conditions, such as Klinefelter syndrome.
You may also need TT if you are injured or lose your testicles. If your testicles are removed due to a cancer-like illness, you may need TT. Most men with Low-T (whatever the cause) will be treated if they have Low-T symptoms and blood tests that show Low-T levels. Talk to your doctor if you feel you may need TT.
TT can be helpful but can have side effects (dangerous). (See discussion of these side effects below.) The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) said testosterone drug labels should indicate the risk of heart disease and stroke in some men using testosterone products. All men should be tested for heart disease and stroke before, and occasionally during TT. However, the AUA, in a careful review of peer-reviewed peer review literature, found that there was no strong evidence that TT increases or decreases the risk of cardiovascular events.
The FDA was also concerned when it found that men were being treated for Low-T only because of aging. There is ongoing research to determine additional TT in older men. Your doctor will talk to you about the benefits and risks of TT and carefully consider how you treat your symptoms.
Direct Symptoms / Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency (TD)
Certain symptoms are those that are more likely to be or are directly related to TD such as:
Sexual desire is reduced
Reduced erectile function
Body hair loss
Shaving the beard
Loss of soft muscle
Feeling very tired all the time (fatigue)
Symptoms of depression
Indirect Signs / Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency (TD)
Indirect symptoms are those that may or may not be connected to TD such as:
Low energy level, endurance, and physical strength
Difficulty finding words to say
Poor performance at work
Having any direct or indirect symptoms may not indicate that you have TD. But if you have a mixture of symptoms, for example, if you start to feel tired and depressed over time and this is a change for you, you may want to get tested for TD.
Low sexual desire alone may not indicate that you have TD. But if you have a combination of low sexual desire, reduced erectile function, and feelings of sadness and fatigue, you should talk to your doctor.
Some people are born with conditions that cause Testosterone Deficiency (TD) such as:
Undefined genitals (when genitals grow abnormally)
Some men may have Low-T due to conditions such as:
Removal of testicles due to cancer
Chemotherapy or radiation
Pituitary gland disease leading to hormone deficiency
Autoimmune disease (when the body makes the immune system attack its cells)
If your testicles continue to produce less testosterone than normal, your testosterone levels will drop. Most TD men with low T levels are linked:
Metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat)
Use of medications such as antidepressants and narcotic pain medications
Men with certain health problems also have lower testosterone levels. Some of these are:
HIV (about 30 out of 100 also have low testosterone)
AIDS (about 50 out of 100 also have low testosterone)
Although many symptoms may be associated with Low Testosterone (Low-T), total blood testosterone level is the most important measure of testosterone deficiency. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will use other symptoms and signs in addition to your blood testosterone level.
At your medical visit, your medical history will be taken, and your doctor will examine and evaluate any of the signs and symptoms mentioned in this article.