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Low testosterone, also referred to as male hypogonadism, occurs when insufficient testosterone is in a man’s body. The testicles do not produce enough testosterone during this condition, which impairs hair growth, semen, and sex drive. This is quite common and can be easily treated.
Causes of Low Testosterone
There are many causes of this condition. Some men are born with underlying conditions that decrease testosterone levels. An example is Klinefelter syndrome, where men are born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome — instead of just one X. This inhibits the body’s ability to produce the typical amount of testosterone common in men with an XY chromosomal combination. Other causes include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Trauma to the testicle
- Drugs like steroids and opioids
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
It is essential to understand the symptoms behind the condition to diagnose and treat. It is normal for testosterone to decrease with age. Some signs that you may have it include:
Diagnosis of Low Testosterone
This is relatively easy to diagnose. Various exams can be done to conclude the testosterone levels in your body. Men are supposed to have a testosterone level between 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. Anything below 300 ng/dL impacts fertility and sex drive.
Diagnosing starts with a physical at a doctor’s visit. The doctor can ask you questions about your current symptoms during this physical. It is crucial to verbalize details like how long it has been going on and the exact symptoms. This can help your doctor develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
Total Testerone Level
The test used to precisely diagnose the condition is called total testosterone level. During this exam, blood samples are taken before noon. Taking them in the afternoon could potentially disrupt the results as testosterone is known to lower during the day.
The blood test is then examined by a medical professional. Typically, doctors will ask for several blood samples over time. This is because exercise, activities, and infections can alter testosterone levels.
Luteinizing Hormone Test
During a luteinizing hormone test, a doctor will take your blood sample once again. Instead of looking for your testosterone amount, though, the medical professional will look for the cause behind the jump in numbers. If there are abnormal levels of the luteinizing hormone, it indicates problems with the pituitary gland.
How to Treat Low Testosterone
Throughout the last few decades, much research has come out about low testosterone and how to increase its levels. The most popular treatment is called testosterone therapy (TT). This therapy is common in men and popular because of how easy it is to take.
Men can take TT through an injection, a pill, or inhalation. There is no difference between these three types as the purpose and results are all the same. Throughout this treatment, medical professionals will test your blood various times to see if it works.
How to Prevent Low Testosterone
Not all men can prevent this, as sometimes it is genetic. In addition, men born with conditions that naturally lower their testosterone levels may find themselves struggling to maintain a normal or high testosterone rate.
As men age, it is also natural for testosterone levels to decrease. However, some measures can be taken to maintain testosterone levels. Some ways to do this are:
- Reducing stress
- Sleeping well
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Actively exercising
- Can young men suffer from this? Any age can develop low testosterone. However, it is important to note that, unless genetic, it is more likely to develop in older age groups.
- Can this harm my fertility? Unfortunately, yes. Low testosterone levels typically mean that not enough sperm is being produced. This decreases the chances of fertility but does not necessarily make it impossible to have kids.
- Do all older men have low testosterone levels? No, although older men are more likely to develop low testosterone levels. However, only 2 out of every ten men over 60 years old will see a significant drop in their levels.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment. Always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!