Image of a couple having intimacy problems due to low testosterone in males

Testosterone fuels many important functions and processes in the male body and it is vital to keep an eye on these in order to watch out for low testosterone.

Living with low testosterone can have a negative impact on a man’s overall health, causing considerable emotional and physical changes.

What Is Testosterone

Most people know that testosterone is important to the process of building strength and muscles and that it plays a large role in a man’s sex drive as well. Testosterone is the thing that gives men what most people see as their “manly” characteristics.

Testosterone is technically a steroid and it is in a classification of hormones called androgens. Testosterone primarily functions in two ways. It works as an anabolic steroid, which fuels the growth and development of muscles in men. It also serves as an androgenic steroid that gives men their physical male traits.

Produced mainly in the testicles and in the adrenal glands, testosterone peaks in adolescence. After around 30 years of age, testosterone starts to taper off. While it never tanks all the way to zero as estrogen does in menopausal women, testosterone can get to seriously low levels.

How Do My Testosterone Levels Get Too Low?

There are a variety of things that can lead to a man experiencing low levels of testosterone. Doctors separate low testosterone into 2 categories…

Primary hypogonadism (low testosterone) comes from a problem within the testicles. It could be a problem that occurred in the development of a man’s sexual organs, it could be something stemming from an injury to the testicles, or it could be from medical treatments like radiation or chemotherapy.

Secondary hypogonadism happens when there is no physical problem with the testicles but they don’t work correctly because of a problem stemming from the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. [1]

As stated earlier, testosterone levels decrease with age, so that is to be fully expected. [2] However, when levels drop in younger men, it can be indicative of an underlying health problem that needs to be taken care of.  Some of these problems are:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Cancer
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • An infection

What Happens When Your Testosterone Levels Drop?

Though testosterone is mainly used for muscle building and sex drive, there are many hormone receptors throughout a man’s body that need testosterone to function correctly.

One of the things that can happen if your testosterone levels dip is that you can lose muscle. You might first notice that you don’t feel as strong, and soon you will find that you are actually losing muscle mass. In a Japanese study, researchers found that as they grew older, men with low testosterone levels had up to 3 times as much muscle loss as men with normal levels. [3]

When your testosterone levels are low, you may start to gain weight, especially around your stomach. Low testosterone has frequently been associated with increased fat mass in men. Low testosterone can lead to insulin resistance, metabolic disorders, diabetes and energy imbalances. [4]

Your ability to concentrate, memory and cognitive functioning can be impaired by low testosterone levels. There are testosterone receptors in the brain, specifically in the cerebrum. This receptor is vital to memory and attention processes. If your body doesn’t have enough of the testosterone hormone flowing through it and into the receptors then your brain might not work as well as it ought to. [5]

In addition to affecting a man’s memory, other receptors in the brain can be negatively impacted by the lack of testosterone. Researchers found that up to 23 percent of men diagnosed with low testosterone are also living with depression. [6] Another problem with this is that it can create a cycle of negativity. Low testosterone affects your mood, causing you to be depressed, and that depression can quash your body’s ability to make *more testosterone. This, of course, causes the problem to become worse.

Having low levels of testosterone can have a huge impact on a man’s sexual health as well. For one, a man’s sexual organ can *shrink without adequate testosterone. It can *lose length and girth, and the testicles may shrink as well. [7] In addition, the most common sign of low testosterone in males is a low sex drive. Testosterone receptor in the amygdala in the brain need the hormones to fire up and do what they are supposed to do. If these receptors aren’t getting what they need, then a man’s body cannot be aroused and he will suffer from a lowered libido. [8]

Can I Fix My Low Testosterone Levels?

If you think you may have low testosterone levels, you should speak with your doctor. The only way to know for sure where your levels of testosterone are running is through a blood test.

Your doctor can order this test and interpret it to let you know if low testosterone is indeed the problem you are facing.

If it is, there are many treatment options your doctor can offer you to help *boost your testosterone levels and help you to *improve the impaired functions and *increase your sex drive.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter what the cause of the low testosterone is, the symptoms that stem from it will likely always be the same. Look out for these signs and you will know if you are suffering from low testosterone.

Speak with your doctor as soon as you are able to make certain you are taking care of you whole health.

References

[1] Kumar P, Kumar N, Thakur D, Patidar A (2010) Male Hypogonadism: Symptoms and Treatment. J Adv Pharm Technol Red 1(3): 297-301

[2] McBride J, Carson III C, Coward R (2016) Testosterone Deficiency in the Aging Male. Ther Adv Urol 8(1): 47-60

[3] Yuki A, Otsuka R, Kosakai R, Kitamura I, Okura T, Ando F, Shimokata H (2013) Relationship Between Low Free Testosterone Levels and Loss of Muscle Mass. Scientific Reports 1818 (2013)

[4] Kelly DM, Jones TH (2015) Testosterone and Obesity. Obes Rev 16(7): 581-606

[5] Beauchet O (2006) Testosterone and Cognitive Function: Current Clinical Evidence of a Relationship. Eur J Endocrinol 155(6): 773-81

[6] Aydogan U, Aydogu A, Akbulut H, Sonmez A, Yuksel S, Basaran Y, Uzun O, Bolu E, Saglam k (2012) Increased Frequency of Anxiety, Depression, Quality of Life and Sexual Life in Young Hypogonadotropic Hypoganadic Males and Impacts of Testosterone Replacement Therapy on These Conditions. Endocr J 59(12): 1099-105

[7] Iacono F, Prezioso D, Ruffo A, Illiano E, Romis L, DiLaurio G, Romeo G, Amato B (2012) Testosterone Deficiency Causes Penile Fibrosis and Organic Erectile Dysfunction in aging Men. Evaluating Association Among Age, TDS and ED. BMC Surg 12(Suppl 1): S24

[8] Corona G, Isidori AM, Aversa A, Burnett AL, Maggi M (2016) Endocrinologic Control of Men’s Sexual Desire and Arousal/Erection. J Sex Med 13(3): 317-37

Related Articles