There's a good reason men go girl-crazy in their teens and twenties: Their visit this pageadditional resources testosterone levels are at their peak. From Discover More that point, though, testosterone levels gradually decrease.
"After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone," says David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in nyc.
Although testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause), low testosterone levels men to experience symptoms like fatigue, low sex drive, and reduction of muscle mass.
While reduced testosterone is more common in older men, it may occur in younger men also. Fortunately, every one of the causes of low testosterone in young guys are curable, so in the event that you experience these symptoms at any given age, there's no reason to dismiss it.
For younger men, a fall in testosterone levels can be brought on by some illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, diabetes, chronic liver or liver disease, COPD or other lung disease, or adrenal gland issues, according to Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in males include the diseases Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disorder which can cause low testosterone is hemochromatosis, making the body shop too much iron.
"Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone," says Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and reproductive medicine in the Smith Institute for Urology of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Additional causes of low testosterone in males younger than 50 include pituitary gland tumors, HIV disease, and radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as primary or secondary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi states.
Is It Low Testosterone?
Irrespective of the cause, low testosterone symptoms are the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert states.
If you suspect low testosterone, the first step is to see your primary care physician.
If your blood test reveals low testosterone (usually defined as a level lower than 300 ng/dL), the doctor may treat you or refer you to a specialist, such as an urologist or endocrinologist.
"When it comes to treating low testosterone in older guys, we usually reserve treatment for people who have symptoms, such as fatigue and low libido," Gilbert says.
In men who don't make the hormone in their testes because of a condition such as Klinefelter syndrome, or those who have lost their testes because of cancer, the only option is testosterone replacement therapy.
In these circumstances,"treatments are usually used just in the brief term, and if a physician has close monitoring and understanding of the individual," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You do not wish to give supplemental testosterone to men who want to be fertile because it can turn off sperm production," Gilbert says.
Once a young man goes off testosterone supplementation, there's a chance his sperm count will never return to what it was before he started. "Therefore, men of reproductive age should consider alternatives which may improve their testosterone in addition to maintain their semen production," he says. One such alternative is a category of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other remedies for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle modifications, such as eating healthier and increasing exercise.
The bottom line, however, is that in the event that you've got low testosterone symptoms, it's important to see your physician. Then, your doctor can rule out more significant causes of your symptoms, including high blood pressure or a thyroid problem, and offer treatment that can enhance your power and quality of life.