Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men. When it’s produced at optimal levels, testosterone helps develop and maintain many of the characteristics that make a man masculine. Your muscle mass, deep voice, and libido are supported by normal testosterone levels.
Testosterone levels peak at around age 20 and begin naturally decreasing at age 30, at a rate of about 1% annually throughout your lifetime. When levels fall too low, the condition is called low testosterone or “low-t.” Low testosterone becomes more common with age, occurring in about 40% of men 45 and older.
Many symptoms of low testosterone are subtle and can be overlooked or brushed off as part of the natural aging process. However, doing so may result in overlooking a chronic health condition, like diabetes or sleep apnea, that may be the source of physical and/or emotional changes.
Getting a medical evaluation can determine whether your symptoms are caused by low testosterone or another treatable condition. The testosterone therapy specialists at Ovation Wellness in Madison, Mississippi, provide expert diagnosis and treatment of low testosterone. The professional staff can help improve your quality of life by determining the cause of your symptoms and options for testosterone therapy or other appropriate treatments.
Low testosterone can affect you in ways you don’t expect. Find out more about nine common symptoms of this condition and whether low testosterone may be the cause of changes to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
1. Low sex drive
Testosterone makes an important contribution toward maintaining your sex drive.
The effect of low testosterone on your sex drive is more dramatic than the natural decline of interest in sex that occurs as you age. Low sex drive typically involves having no interest in any sexual activity for long periods of time.
2. Erectile dysfunction
Low testosterone can interfere with your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, resulting in erectile dysfunction (ED). While testosterone doesn’t control your ability to have an erection, the hormone stimulates receptors in your brain that initiate the chemical reactions necessary for an erection.
It’s important to discuss this symptom with your provider since ED is a common sign of several chronic life-threatening conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
3. Hair loss
Testosterone contributes to the production of new hair. Low testosterone can result in hair loss on your head and other parts of your body.
With low testosterone, your hair follicles become finer and finer. Eventually, there’s no hair remaining, and the hair follicles become dormant — unable to produce new hair.
4. Increased weight gain
Normal testosterone levels help your body turn food into energy. Low testosterone can reduce these benefits, making it easier to gain weight.
When coupled with other symptoms of low testosterone, such as decreased strength or fatigue, you’re likely to have less motivation to exercise, which can also contribute to weight gain.
Unfortunately, the effect of low testosterone on weight gain can cause an ongoing cycle of low testosterone and weight gain because being obese ranks as a leading risk factor for low testosterone.
5. Loss of bone mass
Testosterone helps build and strengthen bones. Having low testosterone increases your risk of osteoporosis, a condition that results in a reduction in bone mass.
While osteoporosis usually begins silently, it can also start with back pain or a stooped posture. Having the condition can make you more susceptible to bone fractures, especially as you age.
6. Depression and irritability
There is evidence that testosterone levels impact emotional health, with low testosterone levels causing an increase in mood changes. Feelings of anger, irritability, and depression are associated with low testosterone.
7. Loss of muscle mass
Testosterone plays an important role in building muscle mass. Declining testosterone levels can have the opposite effect and interfere with maintaining and adding muscle mass. The result may leave you feeling weaker.
Research indicates that testosterone treatment may improve muscle mass, though it may not contribute to improved strength.
You may experience fatigue as a result of low testosterone. Fatigue is more extreme than normal drowsiness or sleepiness that occurs at the end of a busy day. Fatigue involves constantly experiencing a lack of energy and motivation.
Fatigue can also be associated with depression and weight gain, which also occur with low testosterone.
9. Impaired cognitive function
There is evidence that low testosterone may affect memory and cognitive functions, resulting in problems such as loss of intellectual activity and spatial orientation. While both testosterone and cognitive ability decline with age, the correlation between the two conditions is not fully understood.
Find out more about symptoms associated with low testosterone and how we can help you feel like yourself again. Call our office today to schedule a medical consultation.