Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced by the testicles. It contributes to sex drive and physical characteristics typically associated with men. Healthy levels of testosterone are important to the overall health of males, and functions in the following ways:
- Sperm production
- Muscle and bone health
- Hair growth
- Fat distribution
- Making red blood cells
- Maintaining sex drive
- Maintaining erections
- Boosting mood and energy
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Testosterone levels may naturally start to gradually decrease in men beginning in their 30s and 40s. Therefore, some issues related to low testosterone are normal parts of aging. However, if the symptoms are severe, then seeing a doctor may be a good idea. There are other causes of low testosterone that are not necessarily related to the natural aging process. Some factors that can cause low testosterone include:
- Low thyroid function
- Testicular injury
- Testicular cancer
- Chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension
- Abnormalities in the glands in the brain that control hormone production and balance
- Side effects from medical treatments like chemotherapy
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Low testosterone can be difficult to diagnose because some men do not exhibit recognizable symptoms, or if they do, they do not associate them with low testosterone. Some symptoms that may be a sign of low testosterone include:
- Difficulty getting or sustaining an erection
- Low sex drive
- Fatigue or energy loss
- Sleep disorders like insomnia
- Bone loss
- Decrease in muscle size and/or strength
- Difficulty concentrating
Diagnosis and Treatments of Low Testosterone
To diagnose low testosterone your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and may order blood tests to check the hormone levels. Other tests may be performed to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
The most common treatment for low testosterone is hormone therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, uses synthetic testosterone to treat symptoms. TRT may also help with bone and muscle health. TRT can be given via injection, pill, implant, patch, or topical gel.
TRT does have possible side effects and the treatment should be monitored to ensure that there are no serious issues. Possible side effects of testosterone replacement therapy might include infertility, enlarged prostate, cholesterol problems, sleep issues, blood clots, stroke, and heart attack.
Schedule an Appointment
At Alliance Urology Specialists, our goal is to provide the highest level of specialized urology care. Our board-certified physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of urological conditions, including low testosterone. To schedule an appointment, call Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.