Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone which is produced by the leydig cells of the testicles. It plays crucial role in the body such as regulating libido or sex drive, fat distribution, muscle mass & strength, bone mass & creation of rbc/red blood cells in men. In the body the testosterone produced is converted into estradiol that is a form of estrogen. With advancing age the production of testosterone is reduced, as well as estradiol. Females also produce testosterone, but they are produced in very small amounts. In men if an adequate amount of testosterone is not produced then it might lead to infertility. It is because testosterone is responsible for the development of mature sperm.
Can Low Testosterone Cause Hair Loss In Males?
Testosterone plays an important role in development of secondary sexual characteristics in men that include a deeper voice, hair on the chest & face, increased strength & muscle mass. It is believed that low levels of testosterone can lead to male pattern baldness & loss of body hair. But according to studies there has not been a direct relation of decreased testosterone level with hair loss in males. People who have adequate amount of testosterone also experience hair loss with age. Testosterone is only responsible for hair loss of the body & not the scalp. The causes of thinning hair & balding can be contributed to genetics, hormonal imbalances & advancing age. If there is a history of hair loss in the family then it is very likely that you will suffer from hair loss/baldness as you are predisposed to male pattern baldness (hair loss or preceding hairline). Hormonal imbalances that include low testosterone level can be one of the contributing factors in some men but it is not necessarily the only cause that leads to baldness. Age is another factor that can lead to thinning of hair/hair loss. Most men by the age of 45 begin losing their hair & almost all men experience hair loss by 70 years of age.
Symptoms Of Low Testosterone In Men
Low levels of testosterone in men can lead to erectile dysfunction or problems in maintain an erection/fewer spontaneous erections, decreased libido or sexual activity, infertility, rapid hair loss, decrease in muscle mass & increase in body fat especially around the abdomen, enlarged breasts, sleep disturbances, fatigue & weakness, depression & brain fog (inability to focus, episodes of confusion & disorientation).
In men under the age of 30 years decrease in testosterone levels can be contributed to factors such as high cholesterol levels, obesity, consumption of excess amounts of alcohol, taking illegal drugs, use of anabolic steroids, certain prescription medicines (steroids & opiates in excess amount). Medical conditions that can lead to low amounts of testosterone are hypothalamic or pituitary tumors, injuries or tumors affecting the testicles that includes inflammation related to childhood mumps, inherited diseases such as kallman’s syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome or Down’s syndrome. Diabetes, liver disease or AIDS can all lead to low testosterone production along with cancer treatments (radiation & chemotherapy).
Treatment Of Low Testosterone Levels
If you suspect that you might have low testosterone levels then you can consult a doctor who will suggest a simple blood test to determine the testosterone level. If the levels are found to be low that is less than 240 ng/dL then additional tests are done to know the exact cause & further treatment options are planned.
While testosterone & hair loss are not always directly related, but there can be some correlations between the two. In such cases testosterone replacement therapy is a popular choice of treatment. Although, it is important to know that low testosterone levels only affects only the hair on the chest, arms, legs, around the face and not as much the hair on top the head. Testosterone replacement is done through pellets, creams & patches that might help with certain types of hair loss that can help boost your confidence.
- Mayo Clinic – Low Testosterone (Low T).
- American Urological Association – Low Testosterone (Hypogonadism).
- Harvard Health Publishing – Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you age. Link
- Cleveland Clinic – Hypogonadism. Link
- Endocrine Society – Testosterone Therapy in Men with Hypogonadism: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. Link