Testosterone is a sex hormone that is produced by the testicles in cells called the Leydig cells. Testosterone affects a man’s physical appearance and sexual development.
This is the hormone responsible for stimulating sperm production as well as a men’s sex drive. It also helps in muscle building, bone mass, red blood cell production, and fat distribution.
As age increases in men, testosterone levels decrease.
Signs of low testosterone levels appear when there are a drop below-normal testosterone levels leading to conditions like hypogonadism or infertility.
The diagnosis of low testosterone is made when the T levels fall below 300 (ng/dL). A normal range is 300–1000 ng/dL, according to the FDA. The levels are determined by a blood test known as a serum testosterone test.
Low testosterone is becoming more and more common. This leads to the development of a range of signs and symptoms in men.
Signs Of Low Testosterone Levels In Men
When men have low testosterone levels they may experience the following signs:
1. Reduced sex drive
Reduced sex drive is mostly observed as men age because of the gradual decline in the circulating testosterone levels.
2. Low sperm count
One of the functions of testosterone in spermatogenesis (A process of sperm production): Men who have low testosterone levels will often notice a decrease in the volume of their semen during ejaculation and when the sperm count is performed it will be below the normal range. This will lead to male infertility.
3. Loss of muscle bulk(mass)
Without a hormone promoting muscle development, men with low testosterone levels experience a reduction in muscle mass.
4. Erectile dysfunction
The role of testosterone is to stimulate sex drive in men and aids in achieving and maintaining an erection for effective sexual activity.
For an erection to occur there are some chemicals that have to be produced by the body. Testosterone hormone is responsible for stimulating receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide molecule initiates a series of chemical reactions which necessary for an erection to occur by facilitating increased blood flow to the penile. In the case of low testosterone levels, a man may have difficulty achieving an erection prior to sex because there is minimal stimulation of the brain to produce nitric oxide.
Balding is a natural part of aging for many men. Testosterone plays a role in hair production. While there is an inherited component to balding, men with low T may experience a loss of body and facial hair, as well.
6. Fatigue (Loss of strength)
Men with low Testosterone experience extreme fatigue and a decrease in energy levels despite getting plenty of sleep or rest.
7. Osteoporosis( reduced bone mass)
Osteoporosis or the thinning of bone mass can affect men with low testosterone levels. Testosterone hormone is said to help in the production and strengthening of bones. So men with low testosterone, especially older men, have lower bone volume and are more susceptible to bone fractures.
8. Increased body fat
With an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen men tend to develop enlarged breast tissue also known as gynecomastia.
Another bad news! Men with low T are more likely to face depression, irritability, or a lack of focus.
10. Reduced cognitive function
Treatment of low testosterone or hypogonadism
Treatment will require androgen replacement therapy, depending on the underlying cause and age of onset. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can help restore some affected functions of low testosterone.
Testosterone supplements, methyltestosterone although these supplements are not suitable to treat late-onset hypogonadism.
Prohormone supplement. These are a variety of steroids often used to support weight loss and muscle-building. Prohormone supplements are marketed at men to treat low testosterone levels most commonly dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
Cryptorchidism may be treated (before puberty) by intramuscular administration of gonadotrophin (Pregnyl or by surgery.
Congenital absence of enzymes involved in testosterone action (e.g. 5-α-reductase deficiency: male pseudohermaphroditism) or molecular defects at the testosterone receptor (or post-receptor) level (androgen resistance) may also cause serious abnormalities in sexual development.