Struggling with Low Testosterone?
Have you felt exhausted, out of shape, depressed, and less interested in sex for the last several months? If so, you’re not going crazy. What you’re experiencing is quite normal for middle-aged men, although men as young as 30 and those older than 60 may have some of the same problems.
These symptoms and many others indicate that you may be suffering the effects of andropause, also known as low testosterone or hypogonadism.
Indications Your Testosterone Levels Are Too Low
You may want to consider testosterone replacement therapy if you have experienced more than a few of these symptoms over the past several months:
1. Erectile dysfunction: You either can’t get an erection at all or you have trouble keeping one long enough to enjoy satisfying sex with your partner. It is important to have your hormone levels checked if you experience frequent episodes of erectile dysfunction to determine the underlying cause. A low testosterone specialist can help you see how hormones affect many aspects of male virility.
2. Decreased libido: While having trouble with erections is discouraging, not being in the mood for sex at all bothers many men even more. This is often a natural byproduct of testosterone levels that are out of balance. Your partner is likely to be understanding of erectile dysfunction because it’s out of your control, but you may have a more difficult time explaining why you just don’t feel like being intimate anywhere near as often as you used to.
3. An increase in abdominal fat: Before the onset of andropause symptoms, you could see a direct result between your levels of physical fitness and how fit your body appeared. Now it seems like no amount of exercise or healthy eating can get your weight to budge. Even worse, you see fat collecting like a spare tire around your midsection. Fortunately, there is no need to starve yourself or workout to excess. That is because replacing your lost testosterone often increases your metabolism naturally.
4. Decreased muscle mass: Testosterone plays a key role in creating and maintaining muscle mass. This hormone attaches itself to receptors in your muscles and gives them the message to grow and contract. When your levels are low, it means there is an insufficient amount of the hormone to attach to muscle cells. Because of the deficiency, you may suffer from a loss of muscle mass and feel physically weaker despite weight training or regular exercise.
5. Inability to concentrate: The effects of low testosterone may cause you to feel like your brain is fuzzy. Whereas you used to pride yourself on your sharp mind, you now have trouble concentrating on little details as well as solving complex problems. This leads to careless mistakes that can eventually eat away at your confidence. When you replace your lost testosterone through supervised therapy, you should find your mental abilities increase after about four weeks.
6. Mood changes and irritability: You used to be able to take people’s little quirks in stride. Now it seems like every little thing your family or co-workers do annoys you to no end. Your short temper results in many arguments at home and even causes you to snap at your kids for minor infractions. You may find yourself feeling high on life at one moment and thoroughly discouraged the next. This doesn’t mean you have suddenly become a moody man, but it could mean you are experiencing the effects of low testosterone.
7. Sleep problems: Insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep long enough to feel restored, is the most common sleep issue related to low testosterone levels. When you don’t sleep well at night, it can make other symptoms of andropause even worse. Sleep apnea is another problem you may experience. This is a serious condition that causes you to stop breathing briefly up to 30 times in one hour. Like all health issues related to low testosterone, it’s essential to find the underlying cause.
8. Loss of bone mass: Decreasing hormone levels are often responsible for causing a loss of bone density in both men and women. Along with improvements in diet and exercise habits, undergoing testosterone replacement therapy can help to keep your bone density strong. This is important to prevent osteoporosis, a disorder that makes you much more likely to break bones in a fall. If you already have osteoporosis, you may be able to reverse it or halt its progression with hormone replacement therapy.
9. Hot flashes and night sweats in men: Although these symptoms are commonly associated with women going through menopause, men experience them as well. They occur when your hypothalamus, which is an area in your brain that regulates internal temperature control, interprets false signals from your body due to hormonal imbalance. Because your testosterone level is too low, your body mistakenly feels overheated and reacts accordingly. High levels of stress and a poor diet also contribute to these unpleasant andropause symptoms.
10. Hair loss: Men are accustomed to dealing with thinning hair or going bald, but they don’t expect to see hair disappear from other areas on their body. If you have noticed that you seem to have less hair on your chest, arms, legs, in your pubic area, or under your armpits, it’s not all in your imagination. Your body requires average or high levels of testosterone to continue replacing body hair as you lose it. Since most male hair loss products are for the hair on your head, you will have better results re-growing body hair by working with a hormone replacement specialist.
11. Decreased sperm count: If you and your partner are trying to conceive a child, low sperm count can make it quite challenging. Unfortunately, this is yet another symptom of low testosterone and it can happen while you’re still relatively young. Your testes naturally produce less testosterone as you get older, a problem that is directly related to a low sperm count. However, you shouldn’t assume you’re infertile. By correctly identifying the cause, your sperm count can return to normal levels through hormone replacement therapy.
12. Numbness in the genitals: When your testosterone levels are extremely low, it can cause a feeling of numbness in your penis or scrotum. Men who have experienced this describe it as a lack of electricity. In other words, physical touch from their partner that once caused arousal now seems to have little or no effect. The sense of numbness can persist even outside of sexual encounters, which makes everyday activities like sitting down and standing up quite uncomfortable. You may also notice a decrease in the size of your genitals.
13. All-day fatigue: When you are walking around with unbalanced levels of testosterone, it can make the simplest task seem monumental. It’s all you can do just to make it to work every day. Anything else seems like too much effort, including physical activity, socializing with friends, and maintaining mutually rewarding relationships with family. You used to be a go-getter, but now you’re content to let someone else do things. This holds you back at work and makes life less satisfactory in general.
14. Male breast growth: Gynecomastia, which is the medical term for enlargement of male breasts, is an extremely embarrassing problem for men. The first signs of this condition may appear at puberty as your hormone levels are increasing. However, it typically resolves on its own as things settle down. When your level of testosterone goes in the other direction, gynecomastia can return. The extra weight you may have put on due to low testosterone may also cause breast enlargement. Additionally, many men with confirmed low testosterone complain of increased tenderness around their breasts.
15. Problems concentrating: For some men, lower levels of testosterone can cause problems with concentration and memory. Much of the dynamic is linked to emotional regulation; a function that takes part largely in the brain.
What Can You Do?
The best way to determine if you have challenges with low testosterone is to schedule a visit with your doctor. A simple test can be used to assess what’s going on. Your physician may suggest lifestyle changes as a natural remedy.
Depending on your situation, other recommendations may be offered, including prescription medications or shots. But here is the thing – you won’t know unless you speak with your doctor.