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Low Testosterone

Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for Men with Low Testosterone

Testosterone is an important hormone found in both men and women. Men have an abundant amount but if this level is low, it can affect sperm production and sex drive. Low testosterone levels can be treated with medications. To find out more and to order testosterone treatment, continue reading below.

What is low testosterone?

If you have a low testosterone level, it means that you have less testosterone in your bloodstream than you ought to. This can be due to several factors.

Testosterone is a hormone that occurs naturally in the human body. Both sexes have testosterone in their systems, but men have much higher levels than women. This hormone is produced primarily in the testicles and affects a man's appearance and sexual development. It also maintains male:

  • Bone density
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Fat distribution
  • Production of sperm
  • Muscle strength and mass
  • Libido (sex drive)
  • Facial and body hair

During puberty, testosterone is the driving force behind most of the changes in the male body. It helps build muscle, increases the size of the penis and testes, and makes the voice deeper.

The production of this hormone peaks during adolescence and early adulthood. After this time, testosterone levels start to gradually decline. Typically, these levels decrease 1% per year after an individual turns 30 years of age.

Two out of ten men over 60 years of age have low testosterone, and this increases to three out of ten men in their 70s and 80s.

The normal level of testosterone for a healthy man is between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per decilitre (ng/dL). If you have low testosterone, also known as 'low T', your level will fall below 300 ng/dL.

The symptoms of low testosterone are often subtle. However, it's important to identify the cause of low testosterone if it's not from natural decline due to age. For example, it could be caused by a condition known as hypogonadism.

There are several treatments that can be used to try to increase male testosterone levels. These include injections, pellets, gels and patches, although some natural treatments exist too.

While low testosterone primarily affects men, women also have testosterone in their bodies. A testosterone imbalance can affect several female bodily functions, including:

  • Production of new blood cells
  • Fluctuating libido
  • Production of hormones that affect reproduction

Female hormone levels often depend on age, and the testosterone levels in women are too high rather than too low. Research into low testosterone levels in females is scarce, but post-menopausal medication might help with this problem. Women should speak to their doctor if they think they may have low testosterone levels.

What causes low testosterone?

Age is a key factor in declining testosterone levels. Most men experience a gradual and natural decline once they've hit their peak during adolescence.

Apart from age, hypogonadism is the leading cause of low testosterone levels. This condition occurs when the body produces insufficient amounts of testosterone. In many cases a low level of this hormone is produced, although in some men the testes may not produce any testosterone whatsoever.

This is caused either by a problem with the testicles themselves, or with the pituitary gland that controls them. This is much more likely to develop in later life in men who are obese or have type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms of low testosterone?

A declining testosterone level is often the cause of many symptoms that are associated with aging.

Low testosterone often results in changes in sexual function. Individuals with this condition may experience a huge fall in libido, as testosterone is a key component of this. Their desire to have sex will decrease, however it rarely disappears completely.

Testosterone stimulates a response in the brain that sets of a series of chemical reactions that make an erection occur. Without testosterone, it becomes much more difficult for men to achieve and maintain an erection.

Individuals with low testosterone levels often have fewer spontaneous erections (for example, when they're asleep) for the same reason.

They may also experience a low semen volume and can even become infertile due to their lack of testosterone.

A testosterone deficiency can also cause several physical changes. Often people with this condition experience a decrease in muscle mass, although this does not always have an effect on strength or function.

They may also experience a decline in bone density (osteoporosis). This is because testosterone helps create and strengthen bone. It also means that people with low testosterone are more susceptible to bone fractures.

The imbalance between testosterone and oestrogen can cause men to have swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia). It can also cause them to lose their facial and body hair.

Low testosterone may cause fatigue, even if the individual affected gets plenty of sleep. It can also be harder for those with low testosterone to feel motivated and confident.

Some people with low testosterone can seem sad, depressed and have trouble concentrating and remembering things.

However, low testosterone is not the only cause for some of these symptoms. They could be the result of many other factors, including:

  • Side effects of medication
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Thyroid issues
  • Diabetes
  • Depression

How to treat low testosterone

It is important to establish whether you have low testosterone levels before you start treatment. If you have existing levels in the upper-end of the 'normal' range, treating testosterone deficiency can result in you having too much testosterone in your system. This can have serious side effects.

A simple blood test can be taken to determine whether you have low testosterone levels. However, you should be aware that lower than normal results could be influenced by several other factors, including:

  • Recent injury to the testicles
  • Testicular cancer and its treatment
  • Medication side effects
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Infection
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Chronic liver or kidney disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Check that these are not the cause first, before starting treatment for low testosterone or hypogonadism. In some cases, curing or treating the underlying cause can improve testosterone levels.

There are also several natural ways to treat low testosterone. The two most successful methods are losing weight and increasing muscle mass through resistance training.

The medical treatment for low testosterone is testosterone replacement therapy. This is where you are given a synthetic version of the testosterone hormone to see if it helps alleviate your symptoms and produces more naturally occurring testosterone.

Testosterone replacement therapy is available as injections, pellets, patches or nasal gels. The treatment you opt for should depend on your preference, circumstances and the cause of your condition.

For example, if low testosterone is a problem for a young couple trying to get pregnant, a doctor can inject gonadotropin to encourage the man to produce more testosterone. Usually this would increase sperm count and improve the likelihood of the woman falling pregnant. However, this treatment may only be effective for a few days at a time.

Other methods, such as pellets, can help these effects last longer. This is a new type of treatment where a doctor places several pellets under the skin of the buttocks. The pellets then release testosterone over the course of 3-4 months.

Nasal gels are an easy-to-use treatment and are available over the counter. Simply insert the gel into the nose and pump as directed on the accompanying leaflet. Have tissues ready to help with discharge and dry the dispenser after use to avoid infection.

The aforementioned treatments have only been proven effective in men with hypogonadism. Doctors are not yet certain if such treatments may be able to help individuals whose testosterone levels have decreased naturally with age.

Whatever your reason for trying testosterone replacement therapy, you should be aware that it has several risks. It may:

  • Induce sleep apnea – a dangerous condition where breathing stops and starts
  • Cause acne or other skin reactions
  • Enlarge breasts
  • Cause benign prostatic hyperplasia – non-cancerous growth of the prostate
  • Stimulate growth of existing prostate cancer
  • Decrease sperm production and testicle size
  • Increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, and subsequently pulmonary embolism
  • Affect your risk of heart disease (though research into this has conflicting results)

Speak to your doctor about your options, and get your blood tested at least twice before treatment to ensure you're taking the right course of action.

How to buy Low Testosterone medications online

You can buy testosterone medications online and have them delivered discreetly to your door. To do so, you must complete an online consultation that takes just a couple of minutes. Our packaging only contains your name and address on the outside, meaning you can get treatment delivered anywhere in confidence.