Low Testosterone in Men: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Testosterone is male sex hormone, which is responsible for producing and maintaining the distinct male features. This quintessential hormone is largely produced by testes, and also by adrenal glands in small quantity. A decline in the testosterone levels in the body has an adverse impact on virtually every aspect of male health. The physical features are changed, the mood swings become more frequent, and the worst of all, sex drive takes a nosedive affecting the relationships.

Low Testosterone Symptoms

Low testosterone levels typically follow one or more of these signs:

  • Decreased libido (sex drive)
  • Apparently visible fat belly
  • Poor or low quality erections
  • Inability to sustain erections during sexual intercourse (erectile dysfunction)
  • Trouble achieving orgasm
  • Low stamina
  • Shrinking and softening of testes
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Frequent irritability
  • Muscle mass loss from arms and legs
  • Pessimism for most part of the day
  • Low sperm count (confirmed after clinical tests)
  • Hot flashes
  • Lack of focus
  • Loss of body hair
  • Brittle bones

Low testosterone Causes

The most common cause of low testosterone levels among males is age. As the body ages, testosterone production declines (andropause).

Another cause for a drop in testosterone levels is the disease of the glands producing this male hormone. Similarly, diseases affecting hypothalamus and pituitary glands (like autoimmune disease, cancer, or inflammation) are also known to cause low testosterone levels. Genetic diseases, like chromosomal abnormalities and myotonic dystrophy, are responsible for a decline in testosterone levels among men between the ages 30-40.

Low testosterone levels can also be witnessed among males with damaged testes due to accidents, testicular cancer (and the resultant chemotherapy used to treat it), and inflammation of testes.

Persistent low blood flow in the penis area (common among obese) can also lead to low testosterone levels.

Other common low testosterone causes include excess of blood iron, use of performance enhancing drugs (like morphine and other anabolic steroids), and medicinal side effects (particularly from medicines used to treat pain and hormonal disorders).

Low Testosterone Treatments

Before embarking on a low testosterone treatment, it is vital to understand its causes. Your doctor may subject you to multiple tests and long consultative sessions in order to under the reason for low testosterone in your body.

After having established its cause, the doctor will proceed to treat the underlying problem. And the low testosterone levels are treated by Testosterone Replacement Therapy, which may take the shape of pills, gels, patches, injections, and gum tablets.

If you are looking for an inexpensive treatment for low testosterone levels, deep muscle injections taken every 7 to 22 days should be ideal. Though painful, the effects of injections last longer. Gels and patches applied daily on abdomen, scrotum, back, thighs or upper arms can also be helpful in increasing the testosterone levels.

Another modern method of treating low testosterone is through gum tablets (buccal medications). The tablet is placed between upper lip and the gums every 12 hours. Just like gel or a patch, the tablet is slowly absorbed by the body.