Low Testosterone: Your Sexual Health and More
Testosterone. The word typically conjures up two caricature images – the “high level” one of an overly aggressive man, who maybe even has a little too much body hair and the ”low level” one of a man who has challenges getting it up. As with most things, testosterone levels are more complicated than that and impact woman too. We’re here to help you understand the symptoms of low T and what you can do about it.
For males, testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles and is required for male development and sexual function. Typically, testosterone decreases with age, slowly beginning around the age of 30, but low T can also start earlier. Low sex drive is one of the most common effects low testosterone can have on a man. It’s is also common to notice a decrease in semen during ejaculation.
But there’s more to it. Men with low T often experience balding and loss of facial/body hair, fatigue, and an overall decrease in energy levels. Continuously feeling tired and lacking motivation, despite getting a healthy night of sleep, is a sign you may have low testosterone.
For women, testosterone is a hormone produced by ovaries (along with estrogen). Female bodies produce smaller amounts of testosterone than males, but females still need small testosterone to keep mood, sex drive, energy levels, and bodily functions working smoothly.
Testosterone is fundamental in the muscle building process and people with low T typically experience a loss of muscle mass. Increased body fat, particularly enlarged breast tissue, is also a common effect due to imbalanced levels of testosterone and estrogen levels. Thinning of the bones, also known as osteoporosis, is typically connected with women. Men with low T however, will also experience bone loss since the hormone is responsible for producing and strengthening bone tissue. Depression and a lack of focus are far more likely to affect men with low T.
Normal levels of testosterone are 30 – 95 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL for women and 300 – 1,200 nt/dL for men. Low testosterone levels have a wide range of effects that can drastically affect daily life. If these symptoms feel familiar to you, go ahead and make an appointment with your doctor for a blood test. If you find out you have low T, you can discuss potential benefits and risks involved with testosterone medications.
Author Samantha Graham works for Summit Male Medical in Scottsdale, AZ.
October 3, 2017