What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women, as well as other animals. Testosterone begins to rise during puberty. In men, testosterone is mainly produced in the testes, while in women it is mainly produced by the ovaries, albeit at a much slower rate. Women produce approximately 1/10 to 1/20 of the amount of testosterone compared to men. Read more about steroids here.
In men, testosterone is the main male sex hormone. It controls the development of the prostate and testicles, as well as sperm. Testosterone also affects other characteristics such as libido (sex drive), bone and muscle mass, voice pitch, and body hair. Testosterone levels can even affect a man’s mood.
What is low testosterone?
On average, men have 300-1000 ng / dl (nanograms per deciliter of blood), while normal levels for women are between 15 and 70 ng / dl. Low testosterone levels (Low-T) or hypogonadism in men are diagnosed when a man’s total testosterone levels fall below 300 ng / dL. Testosterone levels in men peak around the age of 20 and then decline with age. A decrease of 1% year on year is considered normal in middle-aged men.
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What causes low testosterone in men?
A publication from Boston University School of Medicine claims that 4 to 5 million men in the United States suffer from male hypogonadism. Almost 40% of men are aged 45 and over.
After age 30, testosterone levels begin to decline, but low testosterone levels in young men can be the result of many factors. The causes of low T can be divided into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary hypogonadism.
The main causes of low testosterone levels
The main types of low testosterone refer to insufficient testicular activity, as they are the main producers of testosterone in men. Common causes of this lack of activity include:
- Physical injury or trauma to the testicle – although both testicles must be damaged to affect testosterone levels
- Aging. Testosterone levels naturally decline with age in men
- Chemotherapy or radiation. Cancer Treatment May Damage Testicles
- Diseases such as mumps. Mumps can cause testicles to swell, damaging the testicles
- Surgical removal. In most cases, when one testicle is removed, the remaining testicle produces enough testosterone to compensate, but when both of them are removed, the person can no longer produce testosterone
- Undescended testicles. If the testicles are unable to descend from the abdomen before birth, it may cause testosterone deficiency
- Hemochromatosis. Too much iron in the blood can damage the testicle or damage the pituitary gland
- Klinefelter Syndrome is a condition in which a man is born with the XXY sex chromosome rather than the XY chromosome, resulting in decreased testosterone levels as a result of underdevelopment of typically male characteristics
Secondary and tertiary causes of low testosterone levels
Secondary types of low testosterone are caused by damage to the pituitary gland, while tertiary types are caused by damage to the hypothalamus. The pituitary gland regulates the production of testosterone produced by the testes among other hormones, while the hypothalamus regulates the pituitary gland.
Most causes of secondary and tertiary low temperature are the same, and both can be affected at the same time.
- Diseases such as HIV / AIDS, sarcoidosis and tuberculosis. They can cause inflammation in any of the glands
- Pituitary disorders. It can be caused by drug abuse and kidney failure
- Medicines. Anabolic steroids and opioid pain relievers may affect pituitary and hypothalamic function
- Aging. Your body’s response to hormones can change with age
- Tumors. Tumors associated with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus can cause malformations or affect blood flow
What else can cause low testosterone levels?
Some reasons don’t fit into the above categories. Obesity, especially. Fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen, lowering testosterone levels and lowering globulin levels. Globulin is a protein that transports testosterone in the blood.
Smoking, drug abuse and diseases such as diabetes all contribute to lower testosterone levels
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Many of the side effects that result from low testosterone levels are often subtle. If any of these common symptoms sound familiar, it might be worth visiting your doctor.
- Decreased sexual function – including decreased sex drive, decreased erection and infertility
- Physical changes – increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, lighter fatigue, hair loss, and sensitive breasts may be signs of low T
- Insomnia. Low testosterone levels can affect sleep in many ways
- Emotional changes – feeling sad or depressed, and decreased self-confidence or motivation
How to tell if you have low testosterone
If you’re worried about your low T levels, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to do a simple blood test to determine your testosterone levels. If results come back confirming low testosterone levels, then additional tests may be done to understand why. This will determine the course of your treatment.
Low Testosterone Tests
Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, but are highest in the morning. Your doctor will want to schedule an early visit to check your hormone levels.
Home use kits are also available to test saliva testosterone levels. You take a swab of your own saliva before sending it to a lab for testing. You usually get your results after a few days, although it is best to take these results with a pinch of salt, as expert opinions on this method are mixed. How to treat and increase low testosterone levels.
Today, you can make some lifestyle changes that will increase testosterone levels. Eating a balanced diet, exercising and getting enough sleep would be a great start.
Natural Treatment for Low Testosterone
- Exercises. Resistance training such as weight lifting and high-intensity training (HIT) are the best types of exercise to increase testosterone levels in the short and long term
- Diet. Eating a balanced diet will certainly help, but certain foods such as ginger, pomegranate, fish oil and onions have all been seen to increase testosterone in men.
- Sleep. A good night’s sleep is not only good for your overall health, but lack of sleep can also lower testosterone levels
- Relieve stress and go out in the sun. The vitamin D you get from sunlight can increase testosterone levels, while increased cortisol levels under stress negatively impact testosterone production
Medical Treatment of Low Testosterone
- Testosterone gel. These treatments are very effective in increasing testosterone levels
- Additives. D-aspartic acid, vitamin D, ginger and zinc, among others, may increase testosterone levels
- Other fixes, injections and pills are also available
When should I see a doctor for low testosterone levels?
Even if lowering testosterone levels is a normal part of aging, it may not be the easiest thing to discuss with your doctor. If it has a negative impact on your quality of life, it should be done. If you’re concerned about low T levels at all, it’s best to schedule an appointment when you can fit in and discuss your symptoms.
Doctors cannot judge and will treat them just like any other health problem that needs to be addressed.