For some men, it’s a lack of energy, or what they label “fatigue.” For others, it’s a loss of sex drive or dysfunction. Still others report poor sleep, emotional changes, or decreased strength. But for all of these people, the real problem could be low testosterone, or Low-T. According to the American Urological Association, about 20% of men in their 60’s have Low-T, and that jumps to 30% for men in their 70’s and 80’s.
There are warning signs that may signal a low testosterone level in your body. They’re pretty easy to recognize, and if present it may be time to see your doctor.
So what are the 7 warning signs of low testosterone?
- Loss of muscle mass – testosterone is a muscle building hormone, and when the levels are low, the muscles begin to atrophy, or waste away.
- Decreased sex drive – once the testosterone levels drop, so does the sex drive. And it’s not just a lower libido – performance can suffer, too.
- Infertility – women also have testosterone in their body, but in much smaller quantities. But if they experience a drop in testosterone, they will be unable to produce healthy egg cells needed for successful conception.
- Mood swings – mood is affected by the quality of sleep, and as Low-T causes poor sleep, the mood goes south quickly. Women get hot flashes, men get night sweats, and both can cause poor sleep.
- Depression – who wouldn’t be depressed with mood swings, loss of muscle mass and poor sleep? It’s an emotional upheaval, and it will impact a person’s self esteem.
- Osteoporosis – one of the big impacts of Low-T is loss of bone density, or a condition known as osteoporosis. This can happen to both men and women.
- Reduced quality of life – hey, look at the list – lack of sleep, low sex drive, emotional mood swings, loss of muscle mass – the quality of life is greatly impacted! Men with Low-T tire easily, so vigorous exercise is out. But some exercise helps with many of the symptoms, so keep doing what you can.
Other symptoms can include increased body fat, irritability and hair loss, to name a few.
What causes Low-T?
Testosterone is a hormone that is critical for proper muscle development and masculinity. And as men age testosterone level decreases. And while the symptoms can be annoying, it can also affect bone density resulting in osteoporosis, mood swings, memory loss and more.
While age plays a big role in Low-T, it can also result from taking medications, steroids, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, COPD, kidney disease, diabetes, and other physiological ailments. If you’re displaying some of these symptoms, it’s best to consult with your healthcare professional and have a testosterone blood level test. Normal levels range from 300 to 1000 nanograms per deciliter.
What should you do next?
The most often used option is testosterone replacement therapy or TRT. It’s critical to boost your testosterone levels in order to prevent further muscle loss, strengthen your bones and to prevent unnecessary weight gain. You also want to regain your positive outlook and sex drive. While there are some possible side effects your doctor will discuss with you, it’s hard to predict if or which ones you may experience.