What is Low T?
Testosterone is a male hormone made by the body, which helps maintain reproductive tissue, stimulate sperm production, maintain sexual function, increase muscle mass and maintain bone strength. Low testosterone (Low T) is defined as 300ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) of total testosterone and less than 5 ng/dL of free testosterone. Free testosterone is the amount of hormone not bound to other proteins. Low T can indicate androgen deficiency if it is accompanied by low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis or fracture, and two or more of the following symptoms: sleep disturbance, depressed mood, a lack of energy or diminished physical performance. The prevalence of low T increases with age and affects roughly 39% of men over the age of 45.
What are some symptoms of Low T?
A decrease in testosterone is a natural occurrence in aging men. New research suggests that one out of four men over the age of 30 have low testosterone levels. Below are some common symptoms men with low testosterone can experience:
- Low Sex Drive: Testosterone plays a key role in a man’s libido. Someone with low T will likely experience a drastic drop in the desire to have sex. Low T can also make it difficult to achieve an orgasm.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Testosterone alone does not produce an erection, but it does stimulate receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide- a molecule that helps trigger an erection.
- Hair Loss: Balding is a natural part of the aging process for many men. Men suffering from low T can experience a loss of body and facial hair.
- Fatigue and Lack of Energy: If you are experiencing a loss of interest in some of your favorite physical activities or are finding yourself tired all the time, despite getting plenty of sleep, you could be suffering from low T.
- Loss of Muscle Mass: Testosterone is a major muscle-building hormone. When testosterone levels are low, muscle mass can deteriorate and strength levels can be compromised. Decline in muscle strength is one of the major symptoms that men often complain about who are suffering from low T.
- Increase in Body Fat: As a result of a loss in muscle mass, men that suffer from low T can experience weight gain, often exhibited in the stomach area. This can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Decrease in Bone Mass: The weakening of the bones also referred to as osteoporosis, can affect men with low testosterone. Men with low T can experience bone loss because testosterone aids in the production and strengthening of bones. Older men, who have suffered from low T for years and have not undergone testosterone replacement therapy, can be at a higher risk for bone fractures, usually in the hip, feet, ribs and wrists.
- Mood Changes: Testosterone, while it drives a number of physical processes also boosts mood and mental capacity. Research has shown that men with low T are more likely to experience depression, irritability and lack of focus. Some men report trouble with memory and concentration, lower motivation and self-confidence.
- Increased Sweating: Profuse sweating, even with low impact activities can indicate low testosterone levels.
- Sleep Disturbances: Low testosterone can result in insomnia and other disturbances in sleep. Men often complain of not being able to get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling groggy the next day.
What is Andropause?
Andropause is oftentimes referred to as the “male menopause,” having superficial similarities to the menopause that affects women of a certain age. Both menopause and andropause are characterized by a drop in hormone levels; Estrogen in females, testosterone in males. But unlike menopause, where women see a drastic decrease in estrogen levels, the testosterone production in men decreases gradually and can span over decades. This gradual decrease can affect changes in mood and attitude, sex drive and physical endurance.
Andropause is caused by a gradual decline in testosterone production and occurs from age 40 onwards in men. Between the ages of 50 and 70, some men report symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, general tiredness, mood changes, night sweats and even palpitations. In andropausal men, night sweats and palpitations can occur as a result of an overactive autonomic system in response to falling testosterone levels. Most men attribute erectile dysfunction to be the most significant result of Andropause. Apart from erectile dysfunction, psychological changes can take place, too. Oftentimes andropausal men can suffer from nervousness, irritability and even depression.
Studies show that this decline in testosterone can put men at risk for other health problems such as heart disease and weak bones. Since all this happens at a time when many men begin to question their careers, accomplishments and overall direction in life, these factors can oftentimes be overlooked and linked to external conditions.
What are potential benefits I can expect from testosterone therapy?
- Increase in energy
- Increase in sexual desire
- Decrease in irritability and depressed mood
- Improvement in cognitive function
- Increase in bone density
What potential health risks are associated with Low T?
Low T not only affects your sexual health, but your overall health. Adequate levels of testosterone helps maintain reproductive tissues, energy levels, fat distribution, muscle mass and good bone health. Men with low T can experience bone loss because testosterone aids in the production and strengthening of bones. Older men, who have suffered from low T for years and have not undergone testosterone replacement therapy, can be at a higher risk for bone fractures, usually in the hip, feet, ribs and wrists. Men that suffer from low T can experience weight gain, which can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
How do I know if my testosterone is low?
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms associated with low T. You may feel as though you lack the energy you once had. Other symptoms can include a decrease in libido, loss of muscle mass, an increase in body fat, problems getting a good night’s sleep, decrease in bone mass and mood changes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important you contact us to schedule an appointment with an experienced doctor in hormone replacement therapy to determine if you have low testosterone or if these symptoms are the result of another medical condition.
How do I qualify for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?
Our experienced team of doctors and medical professionals will review your medical history and give you a brief physical exam. A simple blood test will be done in our office, which will determine your testosterone levels.
Can men be too old for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?
There is no age limit for testosterone replacement therapy. However, with any medical procedure, your levels will need to be checked to determine if you are a good candidate for TRT.