Man’s testosterone in low levels represents hypogonadism, a condition characterized by insufficient production of testosterone and sperm in the body. Low testosterone levels influences the normal growth and function of the male reproductive organs. Low testosterone levels can occur at any age of man’s life. It shows symptoms according to man’s age and its causes. It can be genetic in origin, or secondary to other diseases like infections, injury or surgery on the sexual organs. Low testosterone levels can be detected by physical examination and testosterone levels in the blood. It is treated by testosterone replacement therapy.
Why Would A Man’s Testosterone Be Low?
Testosterone is a male hormone whose levels determine the masculine characteristics in a man. Its main action is to stimulate the production of sperms and sex drive in males. It also helps in the building of muscle and bone mass of a man. Its normal range in healthy man is 300-1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). If its level drops lower than 300 ng/dl, then the condition is termed as hypogonadism. A blood test is useful to determine the levels of testosterone circulating in the blood.
The production of testosterone usually reduces with the age after 30 years of age. After the age of 60 years, 2 out of 10 men have a low level of testosterone.
The causes of low testosterone in the males are typically defined by two types of hypogonadism.
Primary hypogonadism is a condition caused basically by underactive testes which cannot produce sufficient testosterone needed for growth and health of a man. It can be caused by genetic mutation, illness or injury. The causes of primary hypogonadism are-
- Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Undescended testicles
- Excess of iron in the blood (hemochromatosis)
- Injury to the testicles
- Mumps infection leading to orchitis
- Exposure to radiation during a cancer treatment
Secondary hypogonadism is a condition causing the low production of hormones from the hypothalamus-pituitary axis that stimulates the production of testosterone from male sex gonads. Male gonads are in the healthy condition in this type but still cannot produce sufficient hormones due to lack of stimulation. The causes of secondary hypogonadism are-
- Pituitary disorders due to tumors, certain drugs or kidney failure
- Kallmann syndrome due to hypothalamic dysfunction from the birth
- Infections – HIV or AIDS
- Inflammatory conditions like sarcoidosis, histiocytosis or tuberculosis affect the functioning of hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
- Normal aging
- Certain medicines like opioid or steroids
- Surgery of the male sexual organs
- Mixed hypogonadism is also one of the causes of low testosterone.
Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels
The symptoms of low testosterone appear according to its cause and it varies from age to age.
Low Testosterone Levels During Fetal Development
If enough sex hormones are not released during fetal development due to genetic causes it results in the improper growth of the external sex organs. If a male hypogonadism develops in this age, the male child may be genetically born with female genitals, ambiguous genitals (neither male nor female) or underdeveloped male genitals.
Low Testosterone Levels During Puberty
During pubertal age, hypogonadism delays puberty and impairs the normal development, for example, decreased muscular mass, impaired growth of body hair, sexual organs, feminine features like the development of breast in males, excessive growth of arms or legs, etc. And lack of deep voice
Low Testosterone Levels In Adulthood
In adult males, low testosterone levels disturb the normal masculine growth of the body and influences reproductive function. The symptoms include erectile dysfunction, infertility, reduced beard, muscle mass or bone mass and development of breast tissue. It may also cause fatigue, less sexual drive, hot flushes, and difficult concentration.
Low testosterone levels in a man represents a condition called hypogonadism. Low testosterone levels is a condition in which male sex hormones are not produced in sufficient quantity by the male sexual gonads. The deficiency of testosterone is caused by primary or secondary or mixed hypogonadism discussed above.
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