Testosterone is known as the male hormone because it’s the main hormone that transforms boys into men. When a male goes through puberty, testosterone is responsible for the development of facial hair and a deeper voice. The hormone also causes the muscles to enlarge. In adult men, testosterone controls sex drive and helps to create sperm.
When testosterone levels become lower than they should be, men can have issues with their sex drive and fertility, which is known as hypogonadism. This is why a Testosterone doctor who specializes in treating these issues is necessary. Some men may be too embarrassed to share this with their doctors, but there are ways to make the conversation less awkward so men can get the treatment they need.
Low testosterone levels occurs in men particularly after the age of 40. It’s natural for the hormone to decrease with age, but extremely low levels are a sign of more serious health issues. Around 4 out of every 10 men over the age of 45 have low testosterone.
There are several things that can indicate low testosterone or cause the condition, including low sex drive and fertility issues. If there are changes in the testicles, this could indicate low testosterone as well. Some men find that they are struggling with fatigue and irritability, have a hard time concentrating, and are gaining weight in the stomach area; these are signs that their testosterone is lower than normal as well. Some men begin to lose their hair when their testosterone levels drop and may experience fat accumulation in the breast area and/or depression.
Men often confuse low testosterone with ED or erectile dysfunction, but the two are not the same. Just because a man has low levels of this hormone doesn’t mean he can’t get or keep an erection. However, he may have a low libido.
Low testosterone is tested by a blood test that is administered by the doctor. The test is conducted first thing in the morning, since hormone levels rise and fall during the day. In the morning, testosterone tends to be the highest. Still, some men may have to take the test more than once and during different times of the day. After getting the results, the doctor may recommend more tests to determine all the reasons for low testosterone.
The normal range for testosterone is between 300 to 1,000 ng/dL in general, but all labs have a slightly different range to determine what’s normal. It’s also important to note that men could display symptoms at different times, so every case is different.
Some men don’t require prescription medications or special treatments for low testosterone and can reverse the condition by working out and losing weight. Others will need to follow a heart-healthy diet and some men can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. In these cases, the man will be given an injection of testosterone, or use tablets, gel or a patch to raise their hormone levels. An endocrinologist can check blood levels to determine if a man’s testosterone is low, and urologists are trained to see whether lowered hormone levels are leading to poor sexual function or erectile issues.