Testosterone is literally what makes men manly.
Indeed, it’s the natural substance produced by our body (i.e., hormone) that induces our voice to deepen, hair to sprout on our chest, and our muscles, reproductive organ and very self to grow even more.
It also makes us interested in sex.
So, basically, men couldn’t be, well, men without testosterone.
It’s therefore no surprise how men who suffer from low testosterone deal with their condition by ignoring and keeping it a secret for fear of ridicule or pity.
Having the condition could be making them feel less than the man they really are, so it’s only human for them to feel ashamed of acknowledging they have the condition and seeking treatment.
However, they’re only doing themselves more harm than good.
Paying no attention to the symptoms of low testosterone if you’re experiencing them is more harmful than you’d think.
The Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Males
- Erectile dysfunction or inability to maintain an erection that’s sufficient for having sex
- Low libido or sex drive
- Unusual shifts in both body fat and muscle mass (e.g., body fat increases while muscle mass decreases)
- Listlessness or diminished energy
- Adverse change in sleep pattern (e.g., inability to sleep soundly or not at all)
- Adverse change(s) in how the individual feels or behaves (e.g., irritability)
- Hair loss
- Worsening of other existing conditions (e.g., sleep apnea and congestive heart failure)
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Most men dismiss these symptoms as nothing but signs of getting old. Many men do experience a gradual decrease in their own testosterone after reaching 30, but most cases are caused by hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism is described as a deficiency or absence of male gonadal function resulting in insufficient testosterone secretion. Its primary causes are testicular failure and pituitary axis dysfunction.
Men 30 to 35 commonly suffer from hypogonadism, but it could be inherited and it could manifest while the one who has it is still in his teens, adversely affecting the course of his puberty.
Men in their 20’s may also experience symptoms of low testosterone, common of which is erectile dysfunction, disproving the persistent misconception that only old guys suffer from low testosterone.
But, more importantly, the symptoms of low testosterone in males could indicate an even more serious health issue, making it necessary to know for sure if you’re suffering from low testosterone in order to get treated.
The symptoms of low testosterone in males are the same symptoms of several other conditions, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic liver or kidney disease
- Thyroid disorder
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- Certain other hormonal disorders
Virtually any guy of any age could have these ailments, which means you might be sicker than you think if you begin showing symptoms of low testosterone.
An injury to the testes, obesity, depression and even cancer treatment can also cause low testosterone in males.
Given how various things can cause low testosterone in males, you won’t be able to know by yourself if you’re suffering from it (unless you’re a physician), leaving you with no recourse except to seek the help of a doctor.
Furthermore, just because you’re experiencing a decline in your own testosterone doesn’t mean your own testosterone level is too low, or you have testosterone deficiency. To be diagnosed as such, the level of your own testosterone should have dropped to the range of about 300 nanograms per deciliter. It’s unlikely you could find this out by yourself if you’re no urologist, so seek professional medical attention when you begin experiencing symptoms of low testosterone to be sure.
When you do see a urologist, he’ll discuss with you the several available treatments for your condition. They are called collectively as testosterone replacement therapy. As the term referring to them suggest, these treatments for low testosterone in males remedy their condition by basically replacing their own testosterone. They differ in how each is administered.
Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
- Gels come in the form of clear testosterone contained in a packet (e.g., AndroGel and Testim). They’re applied once a day to let the prescribed amount of testosterone get absorbed directly through the skin.
Gels also come in a pump that delivers the testosterone (e.g., AndroGel, Axiron and Fortesta) or as a gel applied inside the nose (e.g., Natesto).
- Similar to gels, skin patches or transdermals are worn once a day, on the upper body (e.g., upper arm), to let the testosterone get absorbed through the skin. An example is Androderm.
- Mouth patches are actually tablets that stick to the upper gums, above the incisor, or the tooth just to the right or left of the two front teeth. They’re applied twice a day to let them continuously release the testosterone into the bloodstream through the oral tissues. An example is Striant.
- Injections release the testosterone directly into the muscles.
- Implants are actually pellets that are inserted into the soft tissues, where they slowly release the testosterone into the bloodstream.
- Oral testosterone are basically pills containing the prescribed amount of testosterone.
While there are many available oral testosterone treatments, some experts believe they can cause adverse effects to the liver. The other treatments for testosterone deficiency also have side effects. They can raise the red blood cell count and increase the size of the chest that it resembles a woman’s breasts, so don’t undergo testosterone replacement therapy if you’re suffering from breast cancer as doing so might exacerbate it.
Some experts claim that testosterone replacement therapy also accelerates the growth of the prostate, so don’t undergo it if you have prostate cancer.
If you need treatment for testosterone deficiency despite having breast or prostate cancer, some doctors prescribe getting enough sleep (i.e., 7–9 hours per day), maintaining a healthy weight (e.g., 118–159 lbs. if you’re 5’7’’), and staying active (e.g., working out regularly) as natural ways of boosting the level of testosterone inside your body.
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If you’re suffering from low testosterone, it’s foolish not to get treated just to save your pride. Your overall health is more important, so seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
Note: – This article is guest posted by Lee Brown, a Senior Clinical Coordinator at Men's Health Clinic. In this capacity, Lee talks first hand with patients about their male sexual health issues and symptoms, reviews their medical histories, and daily serves as a treatment liaison with our doctors and specialists. Want to submit a guest post? Read HealthResource4u guest submission guidelines.