Signs of Low Testosterone and What to Do About It
Symptoms Of Low Testosterone
If you’re having trouble getting an erection or maintaining an erection, it’s possible that you have low testosterone. Starting during puberty, testosterone is what causes male bone and muscle development, hair growth, a deeper voice, and sperm production. Low testosterone — a condition in which the testicles don’t produce enough of the male sex hormone testosterone — affects almost 40% of men aged 45 and older. Also known as hypogonadism, low testosterone can affect men of any age.
For most men, testosterone production naturally slows down as part of the male biological clock. However, some men experience more significant testosterone decreases than others. Here are some of the other possible symptoms of low testosterone:
- Lower stamina and energy levels
- Mood swings, including irritability, anxiety and depression
- Lack of mental focus
- Hair loss
- A lower sex drive
- Reduction in testicle size
- A softer scrotum
- Difficulty sleeping, often due to sleep apnea
- Hot flashes
- Reduction in semen production
- Decreased urine flow
- Reduced bone and muscle mass
- An increase in body fat, especially in the abdomen and chest areas
When to see a doctor for low testosterone symptoms
If you have low testosterone, there might not be symptoms. You might only learn about it after a routine physical examination that includes blood work. If there are no symptoms, many men choose to do nothing. However, if you’re experiencing any of the low testosterone symptoms listed above, you should probably consider getting medical attention to address quality-of-life issues.
How low testosterone is diagnosed and treated
To diagnose low testosterone, your doctor will typically perform a physical evaluation and review your symptoms. Your doctor may also request additional testing, such as a bone density test.
If you’re experiencing several low testosterone symptoms and a blood test indicates that you have unusually low testosterone levels, one common treatment is testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT. This treatment can consist of skin patches, gels, tablets, injections, or surgically implanted pellets. Another approach uses a substance called clomiphene citrate, which stimulates testosterone production and is marketed in pill form as Clomid or Serophene. All these approaches have advantages and disadvantages that you can discuss with your doctor. Most men notice relief from their symptoms within a month or two.
Although you may be tempted to use natural supplements or superfoods that claim to increase testosterone levels, don’t get your hopes up. Although Vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and healthy fats can help, testosterone-boosting supplement mixes typically lead to disappointment. For the best results, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before taking any supplements for low testosterone.
Natural treatments for low testosterone symptoms
Whether or not you decide to undergo TRT or take clomiphene citrate, there are ways that you can help your body make the most of its testosterone production. For example, if you have high cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid-related issues, or high blood pressure, you may be able to improve your testosterone levels by addressing those issues. Likewise, certain medications and drugs have been linked to low testosterone levels.
Here are a few other approaches that have helped some men maximize their natural testosterone production:
- Reduce your stress or anxiety levels
- Get a healthy amount of sleep
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid smoking
- Drink less alcohol
- Stay active, including regular exercise
- Maintain a balanced diet that includes plenty of nutrients, such as eggs, tuna, beef, beans, shellfish, oysters, fortified cereals, and milk enriched with Vitamin D.
After discussing their options and their overall health with a doctor, many men try these natural approaches for boosting their testosterone production before they even discuss getting a prescription. In many cases, simple changes to your lifestyle and diet can have the biggest benefit. And if those changes don’t work for you, it’s good to know that you still have options.