What Are Normal Testosterone Levels in Men?
Maintaining optimum testosterone levels are essential for building muscle. But what are considered normal testosterone levels in men? Read on to find out!
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the body. Most of it is made in the testicles while some in the adrenal glands.
In men, testosterone is also known as androgen. This hormone is responsible for several functions such as:
- Influencing behavior
- Increasing body energy
- Promoting muscle mass
- Regulating sperm production
- Controlling sex drive
For this reason, a decrease in testosterone is likely to cause a stir in men, but that’s a natural part of aging, unless otherwise.
Thus, it is essential to understand the normal testosterone levels in men. Low testosterone levels can lead to several unwanted effects such as low sex drive, muscle loss, bulging gut and a tanking mood.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Normal testosterone levels in men
In healthy men aged between 19 and 39, the levels can range from 300 ng/dL to 1000 ng/dL. The normal testosterone levels in men usually differ by age. So, if you haven’t had a test, you can consider getting one to know your testosterone level.
Different labs have different ranges, but anything below 300 nanograms per deciliter is considered low. In some labs, your level can be regarded as low while in others it can be seen as normal.
This is to indicate that there is no standard range for referencing testosterone levels in men.
The level of testosterone is usually low in boys before puberty but starts to increase during adolescence. At age 40, testosterone usually hits the highest level but starts to decrease as you age.
A key point to note is that the total level of testosterone may also vary throughout the day. They tend to be high in the morning and low in the evening.
What about women?
Naturally, men have high testosterone levels than women. In women, the hormones are usually produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands.
The normal level for women ranges from 15 ng/dL to 70 ng/dL.
Expectant mothers will have about 3 to 4 times the amount of a healthy unpregnant woman.
After menopause, testosterone levels usually reduce, and one can have half the amount of a healthy woman.
High levels can be caused by cancer while low levels can occur due to Addison’s disease, underactive pituitary gland, loss of ovary function, and using some medications.
Getting a testosterone test
If you are experiencing sexual problems, you many need to undergo a testosterone test. This can be done using a blood sample since testosterone is usually bound to proteins called sex hormone binding globulin while in the blood.
There are several reasons for getting the test, including:
- To identify possible problems of infertility
- To check a man’s sexual problems
- To diagnose early puberty signs in young boys
As you already know, different labs have different ranges for what’s considered normal testosterone levels in men.
Your lab report will have a range that the lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your test results basing on your health condition, any current medications, and other factors.
Causes of high levels
Since lab ranges differ, high levels of testosterone can be anything above 1000 ng/dL.
It is important to note that having high levels of testosterone is not necessarily a positive indication. An underlying condition could also cause it. Your doctor will help you understand your results.
In men, high abnormal levels of the hormone can be caused by cancer of the adrenal glands or testicles.
The level can also increase in men that use anabolic steroids, which are known to cause different health side effects.
Boys with high testosterone levels could be experiencing early puberty, or have an abnormal adrenal gland.
Possible causes of low levels
A low level of the hormone in men and boys who have undergone puberty can be caused by problems in the testicles such as:
- Slow testicle development
- An injury
- Lack of testicles
There are also some diseases, such as liver disease, Down syndrome, and Klinefelter disease, that can lead to low hormone levels.
Other factors that might cause reduced testosterone levels in men are:
- Treatment of cancer
- Long-term chronic pain
- Being overweight
- Long-term use of alcohol
- Taking some medications
If your level is low, you might need more medical tests to determine the cause. This might need the testing of other hormones made by the pituitary gland, such as luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
Are there treatments for low testosterone levels?
Having low testosterone is the last thing many men would want to experience. It reduces your motivation and performance in bed. Other symptoms include:
- Reduced muscle mass
- Feeling sick
- Poor concentration
- Body hair loss
When necessary, doctors usually recommend testosterone replacement therapy to help boost the levels of the hormone. Bear in mind that treatment is only necessary if you have symptoms.
Treatment may also not be necessary if you have low testosterone levels due to aging.
These treatments include:
- Skin patch: You can wear a skin patch known as androderm on your arm or upper body once a day to improve testosterone levels.
- Gels: There are gels you can apply to your skin once per day, such as Testim and Androgel and others like Natesto are applied inside the nose.
- Mouth patch: The common option is Striant, which is usually applied above the incisor and works by releasing testosterone into the blood.
- Injections: You can also get a testosterone injection directly into the muscles.
In most cases, many men have reported an improvement in sex drive, mood, and energy.
Many patients have been able to attain the normal testosterone levels in many through the treatments.
However, there are also potential risks of using the therapy. It can lead to rash, itching, and irritation on the site where it is applied.
Experts also believe that the treatments can worsen conditions such as prostate cancer, sleep apnea, blood clots and cognitive heart failure.
The bottom line
Having the normal testosterone levels in men is important in your general health. When you notice any signs that are likely to be caused by low testosterone levels, it is necessary to seek medical help.
Most importantly, it’s helpful to adhere to the doctor’s advice when using testosterone treatments.
Eating healthily is also vital when using treatments as there are foods that can boost your hormone levels.