Testosterone is the sex hormone that is typically associated with men, although females have a small amount in their bodies. If a man has low testosterone levels, there are some serious health problems that can occur. A normal testosterone level range for men is 300-1,000 nanograms per deciliter. The normal range for women is significantly lower, between 15 and 70 nanograms per deciliter.
Testosterone is important for:
- Development of muscles and bones
- Deepening of the voice, hair growth, and other factors related to the mail appearance
- Production of sperm
The production of testosterone can slow as a person ages and many older men have symptoms of low testosterone.
The American Urology Association describes low testosterone as less than 300 ng (nanograms) of the hormone per dl (deciliter) of blood. The American Urology Association also reports that about 1 in ever 50 men have low testosterone.
Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
Low testosterone levels can make it difficult to get or keep erections. This is because testosterone stimulates the penile tissues which produce nitric oxide, this starts the erection. So if your levels are too low you may not be able to get or maintain an erection.
These factors can cause erectile dysfunction:
- Thyroid issues
- High cholesterol
- Stress or anxiety
- Alcohol consumption
- High blood pressure
For some men hair loss is a natural part of aging, and age-related hair loss can affect women as well. However, hair loss could also be a symptom of low testosterone levels.
Reduced Bone Mass
Testosterone aids in producing bone tissue and maintain bone volume. Low testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in volume making the bones less dense and more susceptible to fractures.
Reduced Testicle Size
Men suffering from low testosterone may notice a reduction in their testicle size. Shrinking of the testicles is also known as testicular atrophy which can also be caused by other factors such as testicular cancer and excess alcohol consumption.
Reduction in Semen Production
Semen makes up the majority of the fluid that men ejaculate. This fluid helps the sperm cells move toward the female’s eggs. Reduced levels of semen can indicate a reduction in testosterone levels. Reduced semen production can also lead to fertility trouble and this is why there is a link between low testosterone and low fertility.
Low testosterone levels can lead to sleep problems such as trouble staying or falling asleep. Many men suffering from low testosterone also suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes a person to stop breathing temporarily while they are sleeping.
Lowered Sex Drive
Men with low testosterone levels will often experience a reduction in sex drive. This can occur naturally in men with age, but when caused by low testosterone, a man will notice a significant decrease.
Reduced Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays an important role in the development of muscle mass in men. Reduced levels of the hormone can result in significant loss in the mass of muscles. On the contrary, high testosterone is associated with an increase in muscle mass.
Low testosterone can cause hot flashes in men just like low levels of estrogen can cause hot flashes in women.
Decreased Energy Levels
Low testosterone levels can lead to fatigue and low energy in men. These symptoms can be caused by other factors such as diet and other health problems.
Low testosterone levels do not always present symptoms, some people may learn that their testosterone levels are abnormal after a routine physical exam.
However, if you are experiencing these symptoms it is important that you get tested.
The most commonly prescribed treatment for low testosterone levels is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Typically, a doctor will only recommend TRT if the person is showing several symptoms of low testosterone and blood tests show confirmation that low testosterone levels are to blame.
There are several different delivery methods of TRT
- Skin patches
- Dissolvable tablets
- Injection therapy
- Surgically implanted pellets
Natural ways to boost testosterone.
Things like weight loss and exercise have been shown to increase testosterone levels. While lifestyle changes may not solve the problem on their own they definitely help boost testosterone and general wellbeing in men.
To support healthy testosterone levels, your diet should be rich in nutrients. Incorporating the following foods into your diet can help increase testosterone levels in men:
- Vitamin D enriched milk
Also, avoid taking supplements that ‘aid’ in increasing testosterone levels without consulting with a physician.
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