What Causes Low Testosterone

Posted by Dr. Michael White, Updated on December 10th, 2023
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What Causes Low Testosterone?

If your suffering from symptoms of low testosterone levels you're probably wondering, "why me?" The truth is in most cases there's nothing you could have done to prevent yourself from having lowered testosterone. The only real exceptions are people who abuse illegal anabolic steroids and people leading risky lifestyles leading to their contraction of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Doctor on what causes low testosteroneThere are two categories of underlying factors behind lowered testosterone. When the cause is in the testosterone producing organs is referred to as “primary hypogonadism.” When the cause is in the pituitary gland it is called “secondary hypogonadism.” When the problem is related to the hypothalamus it is referred to as ”tertiary hypogonadism.

Primary Hypogonadism:

  • Undescended testicles – If the testes fail to migrate from inside the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development or in the first year or two of life, the testes may become damaged and unable to produce adequate amounts of testosterone.
  • Injury to the scrotum – If the testes are injured, they may not be able to produce adequate testosterone. Damage to one testicle does not often to lead to low levels if the other testis remains normal.
  • Cancer therapy – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage the interstitial cells in the testes responsible for testosterone production. This decrease in testosterone production may be temporary as the cells recover, or it may be permanent.
  • Aging – Testosterone levels decrease with aging. Usually, enough testosterone is manufactured to allow for adequate bodily functions.
  • Mumps orchitis – The mumps virus can cause inflammation of the testes in males, and if the illness occurs in puberty or adulthood, the damage to the testes may lead to low testosterone production. Immunization against the mumps has significantly decreased the incidence of this illness.
  • Chromosomal abnormalities – A normal male has one X and one Y chromosome (a normal female has two X chromosomes). In Klinefelter’s syndrome, in males, an extra X chromosome is present and among other anatomic issues, there is abnormal development of the testes and decreased ability to manufacture testosterone.
  • Ovary conditions in women – Premature ovarian failure and surgical removal of both ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) are conditions associated with lower circulating testosterone levels.

Testosterone MoleculeSecondary and Tertiary Hypogonadism:

  • Pituitary Gland Damage – Damage to the pituitary gland may occur because of tumors of the gland itself or because of damage caused by the side effects of treatment of nearby brain tumors.
  • Malformed Hypothalamus –  Hypothalamus malformations can prevent normal function. Kallman’s syndrome is one example.
  • Circulation Problems – Compromised blood flow to these glands from other conditions such as excessive systemic blood loss.
  • Disease Induced Inflammation – Inflammation caused by tuberculosis and sarcoidosis may affect the pituitary gland.
  • HIV/AIDS Induced Inflammation – HIV and AIDS may also cause inflammation of both the hypothalamus and pituitary.
  • Non-Prescribed Medications – Illegal use of anabolic steroids, for example in body building, can cause hypogonadism and low testosterone levels.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Ways to stop the causes of low testosterone runningThe Endocrine Society (a professional organization of doctors who research and treat hormonal disorders) has issued a set of guidelines stating that if an adult male has both warning symptoms and signs of low testosterone he can be diagnosed as suffering from testosterone deficiency.

Review the signs and symptoms below and give yourself an honest answer to the question "Am I suffering from two or more of these ailments?" If you are it's likely you could be suffering from testosterone deficiency.

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced energy level
  • Reduced strength and endurance levels
  • Sleep problems
  • Emotional problems including sadness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and depression
  • Increased breast size and tenderness
  • Decrease in the amount of body hair
  • Decreased penis or testicle size
  • Loss of muscle mass

If you're suffering from these symptoms please contact one of our specializing physician's today! We can make an appointment for you to come in for a blood test and medical history review and if your levels are low they can get you started on your own self-directed testosterone replacement therapy program. Just call us at 1-800-469-3343 or fill out the form on the right.

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