"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 low testosterone is more prevalent in older men, it can occur in younger guys as well. Fortunately, every one the causes of low testosterone in young guys are treatable, so in the event that you experience these symptoms at any age, there is no reason to ignore it.
For younger guys, a drop in testosterone levels can be brought on by some illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disorder, or pituitary gland problems, based on Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in men include the ailments Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disease that could result in low testosterone is hemochromatosis, which makes 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," states Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and sexual medicine in the Smith Institute for Urology of their North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Other causes of low testosterone in men younger than 50 contain adrenal gland tumors, HIV infection, and radiation treatment or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as secondary or primary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi states.
Is It Low Testosterone?
Irrespective of the reason, low testosterone symptoms are the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert states.
"Younger men with low testosterone usually come to me and say, 'I can't work out like I used to, and I've lost interest in sex.' ”
Your doctor can diagnose low testosterone with a blood test.
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 a urologist or endocrinologist.
Treatments for Low Testosterone in Younger Men
Not everyone with low testosterone needs treatment. "When it comes to treating low testosterone in older guys, we generally reserve treatment for people who have symptoms, such as tiredness and reduced libido," Gilbert says.
In these circumstances,"therapies are often used just in the short term, and when a doctor has close observation and knowledge of the patient," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You don't want to offer supplemental testosterone to guys who are interested in being fertile since 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. "Hence, men of reproductive age should think about alternatives which may increase their testosterone as well as preserve their semen production," he states. 1 such choice is a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other treatments for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle modifications, like eating healthy and increasing exercise.
The bottom line, though, 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.