Low testosterone

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Overview

Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is made in the testicles. Testosterone hormone levels are important to normal male sexual development and functions.

During puberty (in the teen years), testosterone helps boys develop male features like body and facial hair, deeper voice, and muscle strength. Men need testosterone to make sperm. Testosterone levels generally decrease with age, so older men tend to have low blood testosterone levels.

Some men have low testosterone levels. This is called Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD) or Low Testosterone (Low-T). Deficiency means that the body does not have enough of a needed substance. Syndrome is a group of symptoms that, together, suggest a disease or health condition.

Symptoms

Low sex drive.

Erectile dysfunction.

Decreased sense of well-being.

Depressed mood.

Difficulties with concentration and memory.

Fatigue.

Moodiness and irritability.

Loss of muscular strength.

Causes

The male testes produce testosterone and damage to these organs can cause testosterone levels to drop. Your body also stops producing as much testosterone as it did when you were younger, so aging can increase your risk for low-T.

There are six other risk factors that can lead to low testosterone levels. These factors can include:

Obesity

Type 2 diabetes

Liver disease

Kidney disease

Hormone disorders

Use of certain medications

Risk factors

increased body fat.

decreased strength/mass of muscles.

fragile bones.

decreased body hair.

swelling/tenderness in the breast tissue.

hot flashes.

increased fatigue.

effects on cholesterol metabolism.

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Complications

Reduced sex drive.

Reduced erectile function.

Loss of body hair.

Less beard growth.

Loss of lean muscle mass.

Feeling very tired all the time (fatigue)

Obesity (being overweight)

Symptoms of depression.


Prevention

There are no known ways to prevent low testosterone that is caused by genetic conditions or damage to the testes or pituitary gland. A healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, exercise, weight management, and that avoids excessive use of alcohol and drugs can help keep testosterone levels normal.