Low testosterone, sometimes called low-T or hypogonadism, is a very common condition that affects millions of men in the U.S. It can occur at any point in life, although it is more prevalent among men 45 and older than in younger age groups. If you suspect you might have a testosterone deficiency, this post may help you spot some of the symptoms.
How Is Low-T Diagnosed?
As with any medical condition, low testosterone needs to be diagnosed accurately and appropriately so that you can take proper steps to treat the condition and adjust to it. Hypogonadism requires a blood test for diagnosis. You may need to be tested several times because testosterone levels can fluctuate and give different readings at different times of the day. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the highest testosterone levels occur around 8 a.m., so tests are often done around that time.
Spotting the Physical Signs of Low Testosterone
The symptoms of hypogonadism usually differ depending on when the person first began to be affected. The three times when hypogonadism develops are during fetal growth, before puberty, or in adulthood. Let’s look at the symptoms that may occur in all three, using information from the Mayo Clinic.
- Symptoms of hypogonadism that began during fetal development: Sometimes a fetus does not produce enough testosterone while in the womb. This can lead to impairment in the growth of external sex organs in a child who is genetically male. The child may be born with female genitals, ambiguous genitals, or underdeveloped male genitals.
- Symptoms of hypogonadism that begins before puberty: Low testosterone can inhibit the usual onset of puberty, delaying it or causing it to be incomplete. Low testosterone before puberty can lead to lack of muscle development, development of breast tissue, a voice that does not deepen, arms and legs that grow disproportionally to the core of the body, and other physical issues.
- Symptoms of hypogonadism that begins in adulthood: Testosterone deficiency in adult men can lead to erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density, development of breast tissue, and infertility.
Mental and Emotional Symptoms of Low-T
As men age and the production of testosterone decreases, it is quite common for men to experience non-physical symptoms that are often like those shown by women who are menopausal. These could include:
- Lack of sex drive
- Hot flashes
- Problems with concentration
Hormone Treatment Can Help
Many men benefit from testosterone replacement therapy, which is something we specialize in at Balance Hormone Center. The correct therapy often restores adult men’s testosterone to normal levels, at least for a period of time (remember, testosterone production naturally drops off beginning around the age of 30, by about 1 percent a year).