Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on February 20th, 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays a significant role in developing masculine characteristics: large, powerful muscles, facial hair, sex drive, a deep voice, sperm production, and maintaining healthy bone density. In short, testosterone makes men MEN.

According to the Urology Care Foundation, the normal range of testosterone levels in men is between 300 and 1000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. However, many men suffer from low testosterone levels (aka “Low-T”).
Here are some common symptoms of Low-T:

• Weight gain and an unfavorable muscle-to-fat ratio. According to a study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology, Low-T causes an increase in fat, especially belly fat. Belly fat is not only unsightly but unhealthy as well. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for men indicates visceral fat accumulating around the organs and opening the doors to a host of maladies: cancer, heart disease, and dementia. Visceral fat is toxic and smothers the organs in a sea of blubber.

• Low-T shrinks muscles, which makes it challenging to get moving and lose weight. Low testosterone and weight gain have a symbiotic relationship. Obese, overweight men usually have low testosterone levels, and losing weight often increases testosterone. Testosterone is converted to estrogen in fat cells by the enzyme aromatase, which causes more estrogen to be produced. Estrogen then blocks the production of testosterone., which leads to more weight gain, weaker muscles, and increased fat – a vicious cycle.

• A decimated libido. Testosterone is associated with a healthy sex drive (think young men). As men age, it is natural for the libido to ease somewhat. But for men afflicted with Low-T, their sex drive is physically and mentally affected. This means less sex and fewer sexual fantasies and desires.

• Fewer erections. In addition to a diminished desire for sex, Low-T may result in fewer spontaneous erections and cause erectile dysfunction (ED). Testosterone stimulates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, which helps men get erections, so it is logical to make the connection between Low-T and ED. However, Low-T is not the primary cause of ED. Erectile dysfunction has more to do with blood flow to your penis than your hormones. The primary cause of ED is atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Having said that, the link between Low-T and ED can't be ignored. Low testosterone and erectile dysfunction often occur together with the same underlying, unhealthy conditions, making it difficult to separate them.

• A decrease in ejaculate volume. Unsurprisingly, low testosterone is a common cause of a smaller ejaculate volume. If you experience a significant drop in the volume of your sperm, Low-T could be responsible. Here’s why. Testosterone is crucial for the functioning of the prostate gland and seminal vesicles, the glands that produce semen. A low testosterone level can dwindle the volume of semen produced by these glands.

• Chronic fatigue. Most men suffering from Low-T often struggle with fatigue and feel weak and tired, even after they've rested or slept. This destroys the motivation to get moving, which worsens a bad situation.

• Insomnia. As if the above-mentioned health issues weren’t bad enough, Low-T also contributes to worsening the sleep quality of older men, which worsens the maddening cycle of problems. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that low testosterone affects the ability of older men to stay asleep, and is associated with waking up often at night, staying awake while in bed, and spending less time in slow wave sleep, the deepest stage of sleep. Good quality and sufficient sleep are necessary for testosterone production.

• Night sweats or hot flashes. Hot flashes (sudden warmth and considerable sweating), especially affecting the head and trunk, are an all-too-common occurrence for many postmenopausal women. But men can also get hot flashes, and Low-T sometimes triggers this tormenting condition.

• Moodiness, Brain Fog, and irritability. Low-T not only adversely affects the physical processes of the body; the brain is also affected. Testosterone plays a significant role in regulating your moods and your ability to think clearly. A man with low testosterone is often considered a "grumpy old man."

• Depression is still another gift of Low-T. Minor depression, apathy, fatigue, indifference, no motivation, and even major depression are all possible side effects of low testosterone levels. Depression caused by Low-T eradicates libido and, as mentioned earlier, often causes erectile dysfunction. This, in turn, causes even deeper depression, and another vicious circle of problems

• The development of male breasts. Known medically as Gynecomastia, male breasts (aka “bitch titties”) are the growth of a man’s breast tissue. The breast tissue of a man. It affects up to nearly two-thirds of men worldwide and can be observed in all ages, both young and old. An imbalance between testosterone and estrogen in men causes gynecomastia. Men naturally have insignificant quantities of estrogen, but male breasts can develop when a man’s hormone balance between testosterone and estrogen gets out of whack. This can be caused by too much testosterone as well as too little. Again, balance is the key. While gynecomastia is usually not a severe medical event, it is, at best uneasy and awkward for any man with this condition.

So what to do about Low-T?

A paper published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice concluded that some men suffer from Low-T but show no signs of the condition. This is not necessarily a problem if your testosterone levels still meet the body's demands.

Also, you can't be sure that you have Low-T just from these signs, as they could point to other problems.
Therefore, diagnosing requires measuring testosterone levels and examining the symptoms associated with reduced testosterone levels.

Also critical is finding the cause of plummeting testosterone, as addressing it can improve testosterone levels. Manufacturing of testosterone by the testes could be affected by trauma, birth defects, or chemotherapy. Also, conditions like congenital disorders, type 2 diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, or alcohol abuse could affect testosterone production hormones.


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