Testosterone is a steroid hormone and the principal male sex hormone. Testosterone is responsible for the promotion of secondary sexual characteristics like growth in muscle mass, body hair, bone mass, etc. and general health in men. Low testosterone levels in men can affect the health and also result in other undesirable effects. Symptoms of low testosterone in men are worth understanding to be able to get the condition evaluated at the earliest.
Testosterone is the male hormone that produces sex drive and develops secondary male characteristics, such as facial hair, chest hair and a lower voice in men. A male’s normal testosterone level begins at about 300 ng/dL. In males, this anabolic steroid plays a key role in the development of the male reproductive tissues, including testis and prostate. Testosterone is also essential for well-being and the maintenance of health, and the prevention of a condition known as osteoporosis in men.
However, many men may experience low testosterone levels, particularly after the age of 30 years. While symptoms of low testosterone in men are worth understanding, the basic complaint usually involves loss of interest in sex. Low testosterone in men is also considered as a sign of aging by many people and may be associated with other symptoms as well.
Low testosterone levels produce a number of symptoms, which are similar to symptoms produced by other medical problems. Hence, symptoms of low testosterone in men need to be properly evaluated.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
While low scores do not necessarily produce symptoms of low testosterone related health problems in every case, treatment is necessary. If left unattended, low testosterone in men can often lead to degradation in bone density. This can make bones increasingly fragile, and vulnerable to damage, such as fracture. Low testosterone levels can produce a variety of symptoms in men. The main responsibility of testosterone is to aid the sexual function. Low testosterone can affect these functions and result in related symptoms.
Loss of Libido – Major Symptom of Low Testosterone in Men
Testosterone is mainly responsible for maintaining a man’s sex drive. The most common problem that men can face with low testosterone levels is the loss of libido or sex drive. Sexual desire and function may get affected as men age or due to other health conditions, but reduction of sexual function or loss of libido is one of the major symptoms of low testosterone in men. Men with low testosterone can experience other associated symptoms related to sexual functioning but mainly note a decrease in their sex drives.
Erectile Dysfunction – A Symptom of Low Testosterone in Men
In addition to loss of sexual desire, symptoms of low testosterone in men may include erectile dysfunction. Testosterone is not only involved in sex drive in men, but also signals the brain and helps to achieve erection. Difficulty in achieving erection can be a symptom commonly experienced by men with low testosterone.
Testosterone is responsible for production of semen, which help in motility of sperms. Men with normal testosterone have good amount of semen, which increases sperm motility but reduced levels of testosterone can affect this function. Low or inadequate semen is a common symptom of low testosterone in men. As sperms and their motility is essential for fertility, many men with low testosterone levels may have infertility; another symptom of low testosterone in men.
Loss of Muscle Mass – Symptom of Low Testosterone
Testosterone is essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength in men. Low levels of testosterone can cause decrease in muscle mass and affect their strength as well. Exercise and muscle training may not be as effective if loss of muscle mass is a symptom of low testosterone in men.
Low Testosterone in Men can Cause Reduced Bone Mass
Men with low testosterone levels can experience decrease in bone mass and strength. Osteoporosis, which occurs due to thinning of bones can be a symptom of low testosterone in men. It also increases the risk of falls and bone fractures.
Increase in Body Fat
Increased body fat is another symptom, likely to be experienced by men with low testosterone levels. Men may sometimes develop a condition known as ‘gynaecomastia’, in which their bodies develop enlarged breasts possibly due to storage of excess fat.
Decreased energy levels can result in extreme fatigue or weakness, which is a common symptom of low testosterone in men. Increased fatigue, not feeling refreshed even after adequate sleep and loss of interest in physical activity can be possible symptoms of low testosterone in men.
Low Testosterone Levels in Men May Cause Symptoms of Emotional Disturbances –
Men with low testosterone can experience mood variations and can also see some changes in their emotional states. Testosterone is known to influence mental abilities in men and symptoms of low testosterone in men can include irritability, depressed feeling or inability to focus on a task.
In addition to these, symptoms of low testosterone in men may include sparse body and facial hair, back pain, difficulty in doing physical or mental labor and sleep disturbances. Low testosterone in men can also increase their risk of raised cholesterol levels, heart diseases and other lifestyle disorders.
What Causes Low Testosterone Levels in Men?
Certain conditions can affect testosterone levels in men. Some causes of low testosterone levels in men include
- Testicular problems like injuries, testicular cancer and treatment of testicular cancer.
- Hormonal problems that affect testosterone production
- Certain infections affecting the testicles or testicular production, HIV/AIDS
- Medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney or liver diseases or certain genetic conditions
- Certain medicines, which affect hormonal production, particularly testosterone levels in men.
- Being overweight or obesity
- Normal aging.
- Mayo Clinic – Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism): https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-hypogonadism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354881
- WebMD – Low Testosterone: https://www.webmd.com/men/what-is-low-testosterone#1
- National Institute on Aging – Low Testosterone: https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/research-interactions/2019/01/low-testosterone-and-how-treat-it
- Healthline – Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men: https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-of-low-testosterone-in-men