Signs of Low Testosterone.
It’s what makes a man, a man. It’s that high-octane hormone that causes increased muscle growth, body hair, and encourages sperm production.
When we hit puberty, testosterone is what triggers all of the changes that growing boys go through.
But just as testosterone levels rise during puberty, they can drop during andropause—often called male menopause.
These low testosterone levels can bring a host of health issues, such as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiac disease, as well as decreased libido and depression.
If you’ve been feeling a bit off as you get older, it may be a sign of low testosterone levels.
While the best sign of low testosterone levels is through a blood test, there are a few symptoms that might be able to tell you something is wrong.
Here are 5 common signs of low testosterone levels.
It’s no surprise to anyone that we slow down as we get older. When we were in our twenties, we were filled with energy and could bound up steps or run through the park with no problem. Now, we get winded walking up the stairs.
If you’re constantly tired even when you get enough sleep or when you haven’t been exercising, a number of factors could be at play, such as diet or any medications you’re taking.
But fatigue may also be a sign of low testosterone levels.
Testosterone encourages muscle growth, and it usually brings the energy necessary for that growth.
For many men, hair loss is just part of ageing. It’s an unfortunate genetic trait that we inherited from our forefathers.
But for others, it may be a symptom of low testosterone.
Testosterone is an important factor in hair growth. In fact, one study found that testosterone supplements were able to improve hair growth in women suffering from hair loss.
If you haven’t had a problem with hair loss in the past and suddenly notice a change, there may be hormonal issues at play. This is especially true if that hair loss is accompanied by a decrease in beard growth or the loss of body hair.
Problems With Sex
One of the biggest factors testosterone plays in the development of our sex organs. In fact, the word “testosterone” comes from the same Latin word as “testes.”
During puberty, testosterone causes a change in genital size. After puberty, testosterone is responsible for telling our bodies to produce sperm. It also helps to produce nitric oxide, which is necessary to achieve erections.
Unsurprisingly, decreased testosterone wreaks havoc on your sex life.
First, it decreases your sex drive. While it’s normal for your libido to dip off as you get older, a sudden drop may be a result of dropping testosterone levels.
Second, as there isn’t as much testosterone to produce nitric oxide, it becomes difficult to get and maintain an erection. While this obviously has a negative impact on your sex life, erectile dysfunction can also point to more serious health issues.
Finally, lowering testosterone levels can also decrease your semen volume. If you notice that you’re suddenly ejaculating less during sex, this might be a sign of decreased testosterone levels.
It’s a well-known trope of comedy writers that menopause causes mood swings in ageing women. Simply watch a rerun of The Golden Girls and you’ll see that mood swings are just a part of life.
But just as menopause is accompanied by mood swings, it should come as no surprise that they are a part of andropause as well.
Any time our bodies experience a sudden change in hormone levels, it is accompanied by a change in mood. If you have a temperamental teenager going through puberty, you know this all too well.
If you’ve recently started experiencing sudden mood swings, it might be a sign of low testosterone levels.
Insomnia is not an uncommon problem. A 2016 study found that Brits sleep worse than many other countries, with 37% saying they don’t get enough sleep.
There are a number of possible causes for this insomnia, such as media habits, lack of exercise, or alcohol use. But a sudden disruption of sleep patterns may be a sign of low testosterone levels.
Many men experiencing andropause report having trouble sleeping, generally starting around the same time as other symptoms.
On top of this, decreasing testosterone levels may cause sleep apnea if it leads to an increase in body fat. Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing while sleeping, which makes your body wake you up for a few seconds to gasp for air.
These sleep interruptions are brief, but they can wreak havoc on your sleep cycles.
Other Things That May Cause Low Testosterone
While low testosterone levels may be a natural result of ageing, there are a few habits that can contribute to the loss of this hormone.
One major factor is diet. The modern Western diet is rich in refined sugars and hormone-enhanced meat—both of which can cause testosterone levels to drop.
Heavy drinking may also be a culprit. One study found that moderate beer drinking can lower testosterone levels by nearly 7%.
But perhaps the biggest factor is stress. Sustained periods of high stress can increase your cortisol levels. This blocks the regular transmission of hormones, including testosterone.
If you face chronic stress and are experiencing signs of low testosterone, a life change may help you to get back on track.
If any of these symptoms hit close to home, you may be experiencing low testosterone levels.
Hormone therapy may bring relief, but you will need to have a testosterone level test to make sure.
For more information, contact us.