Low testosterone is becoming an increasingly urgent concern for a lot of people nowadays. There are even diets being created to address it, such as The Man Diet. To be sure, part of this is due to the extremely aggressive marketing the pharmaceutical companies behind testosterone replacement treatments are doing. However, the fact remains that a fair number of persons really do suffer from lower-than-normal T-levels. Indeed, some women have lower-than-normal T-levels as well!
All people produce testosterone in their bodies. When production becomes inefficient, a case of low testosterone sets in and symptoms usually begin to show. Take note, though, that testosterone production really does begin to slow down at a certain age for both men and women. The problems arise when that slowdown happens earlier than it should and at a rapid pace. This sort of abnormal and early testosterone production decline is what produces the symptoms we shall be discussing.
A Warning Before You Draw Conclusions
A caveat comes with discussing symptoms for low testosterone. Low testosterone levels are ones that fall beneath the average. That usually means a measurement below 300 nanograms per deciliter. Those with levels around 200 or less usually but not always get symptoms, which we will discuss later.
Now, the more of the symptoms are present, the higher the chances of your testosterone levels being abnormal. However, the symptoms in themselves are not enough to tell you that your testosterone levels are too low. For that matter, not all the people who actually suffer from low testosterone exhibit the symptoms.
The only certain way to tell if you have lower-than-normal testosterone levels is to get tests done. Blood samples can be taken for this purpose.
Keep in mind, however, that even perfectly healthy people’s testosterone levels change on a daily basis. They can flirt with the edge of the “normal” range every now and then, in fact. They can also drop drastically due to an acute injury or medical development: if you suddenly get testicular injury, an infection or even HIV, for example.
It is not all that easy to conclude from a handful of symptoms — or even a handful with a single blood test — that your low-testosterone issue is chronic. So before you go jumping into a testosterone treatment, see a doctor and consider other factors first before assuming that chronically-low testosterone is the only possible diagnosis for whichever of the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Testosterone stimulates the sex drive, so it is to be expected that a decline in it can affect one’s sexual performance and urges. Many people with low testosterone report lower-than-normal sexual urges and diminished sexual desires compared to before. This is not always so, though — there are also a fair number who do not see their sexual needs or even performance affected at all.
A specific issue that many of those who do suffer sexually due to low testosterone is ED or erectile dysfunction. It can manifest in both apparently unstimulated erections and an inability to have or sustain an erection.
Take note that as testosterone is involved too in the production of semen, some people may find the amount of semen they ejaculate during sex diminished following low testosterone.
Fatigue and Weakness
These are two of the most commonly-cited symptoms for low testosterone. While most report the fatigue and weakness to be largely physical, others report it as both physical and mental. That is, they not only feel tired and weighed-down bodily for no reason but also feel mentally weakened and incapable of sustaining complex ideas or problems for too long. An inability to focus could be part of this.
Mood Swings, Irritability, Depression, and Insomnia
If you seem to experience inescapable mood swings and constant irritation, there is a possibility you could have low testosterone. Many hormonal imbalances have powerful effects on our moods — consider the moods a woman goes through during pregnancy, for instance, when hormones are raging through her body as a result of her physical condition.
There are some sufferers of low testosterone who also experience depression. At the moment, the research is still too thin on the ground for anyone to claim with impunity that low testosterone leads to depression. However, there is sufficient evidence to indicate that it raises the chances of a person having such an issue.
The irritability spoken of here is often paired with a restlessness that sees most sufferers unable to get a good night’s sleep. Many people with low testosterone say that they have difficulty staying asleep for stretches of time and often wake intermittently. Others have difficulty sleeping at all.
Bone and Muscle Mass Decreases
Testosterone is a tissue-building, tissue-repairing and bone-building hormone. This means that if you suffer low testosterone levels for long enough, your bones and muscles may very well start showing signs of reduction. In some, it is more noticeable as an inability to pack on more lean mass, i.e. the inability to put on more muscle even with a conscious effort and plan for it. As for the bone’s mass reductions, they may appear as osteoporosis, which can be an especially serious issue in particular for the women who do suffer from low testosterone levels. It may also have a negative impact on your RBC or red blood cell production.
Reduction or Absence of Male Secondary Sex Characteristics
An example of this would be if you had sparse body hair or facial hair. Of course, some people are just naturally less hairy than others. However, if you notice a marked change in the amount of stubble you are growing on your face, then something might be wrong. The same is true if you happen to notice a rapid or sudden loss of hair in various parts of your body — it could even be your scalp.
This is all the more so if you pair it with another issue like the development of fatty deposits on your breasts if you are a man: this is also called the development of the “man boob”, or in medicine terms, “gynecomastia”.