Low Testosterone: 12 Signs to Look for
Testosterone is essential to numerous areas of male health. This primary male sex hormone performs a variety of fundamental tasks throughout the body, from fueling sex drive to aiding in the development of muscle mass. Maintaining regular levels of testosterone can also help manage the distribution of body fat and monitor the production of sperm and red blood cells.
Because testosterone plays such a central role in men’s health, inadequate levels of this hormone can lead to a number of physical, mental and sexual issues. It’s important to recognize the signs of a testosterone deficiency so that you can determine whether your hormone levels are lower than usual.
If you’re wondering what to look for, this guide can help give you all the answers you need. Here are twelve of the most common symptoms of low testosterone levels and what you can do to address them.
- Reduced Muscle Mass
One of the main roles of testosterone is enhancing strength and muscle mass. If your hormone levels are lower than they should be, you will likely see a difference in the appearance of your muscles. This difference may be a small change that you hardly notice, or it can be a more pronounced reduction in muscle size. The extent of muscle shrinkage mainly depends on how severe your testosterone deficiency is.
Keep in mind that lower muscle mass does not necessarily impact the strength of your muscles. There also isn’t any evidence suggesting that a decrease in muscle size affects the function of your muscles. However, if this symptom has become noticeable, you might want to look into potential remedies to restore your muscles to their normal condition and boost your confidence.
- Low Sex Drive
A reduced sex drive is one of the most common warning signs associated with low testosterone. While this male hormone has a number of key purposes, regulating sex drive and performance is one of its primary functions. This is why a low sex drive is often the first symptom that men notice when they suffer from a testosterone deficiency.
It’s worth noting that a drop in libido isn’t necessarily indicative of low testosterone. It’s common for your sex drive to decline as you age. In addition, some men may experience a lower sex drive as a result of a certain illness, injury or a type of medication that they’ve begun to take.
If your reduced sexual desire is triggered by a testosterone deficiency, the drop will typically be more drastic. It’s important to remember that you know what’s normal for you better than anyone else, so don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you’re concerned about any changes in your sex drive.
- Erectile Dysfunction
Changes in sex drive aren’t the only effects of low testosterone levels. When your body lacks adequate testosterone, it can also reduce your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. Testosterone sends signals to your brain that help it produce nitric oxide, a molecule that triggers an erection.
Without sufficient levels of testosterone, your body is unable to produce the nitric oxide that is necessary to create an erection. This is a condition known as erectile dysfunction. Not only can this condition impact your ability to achieve and maintain an erection, but it may also prevent you from experiencing spontaneous erections.
Be careful not to confuse low testosterone with another medical condition, however. Erectile dysfunction can also be caused by a host of other health problems, including diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, stress, depression and high blood pressure.
- Hair Loss
Hair production is another vital function that is largely dependent on testosterone. In men with normal testosterone levels, balding is seen as a natural part of the aging process. This happens as a result of the decline in testosterone that accompanies aging. Additionally, the age at which men begin to lose their hair is at least partially determined by genetics.
However, abnormal hair loss is also a symptom of a testosterone deficiency. In addition to bald spots on your head, you may notice a loss of facial or body hair as well. This sudden hair loss is a common sign of testosterone levels that are lower than normal. Before you address your hormone levels, though, talk to your doctor to rule out any other medical conditions that may be causing your hair loss.
- Lower Energy Levels
Testosterone is also closely linked to energy levels. If your hormone levels begin to fall, you may feel more tired or lethargic than usual. Many men with low testosterone report feeling fatigued even after getting a full night of sleep. If you’re diligent about sleeping seven to eight hours every night but still lack energy, it may be due to a hormone problem.
Another sign of reduced energy is a loss of motivation to exercise. However, this can vary based on your normal routine. For example, if you typically go the gym on a regular basis to work out, a testosterone deficiency may cause you to go less often or stop going altogether.
It’s crucial to be aware of what’s normal and abnormal for you in terms of your physical activity levels. Ultimately, this will allow you to properly address your hormone deficiency.
- Decreased Bone Mass
Osteoporosis is a medical condition characterized by a decline in bone strength and mass, leading to weak and brittle bones. Although osteoporosis is chiefly associated with women, this condition can also impact men with low testosterone. In addition to developing muscle mass, testosterone helps to produce and strengthen bone. Low levels of this hormone can therefore impact your bone volume as well.
Reduced bone mass is known to create certain health issues. Men with low testosterone are often more vulnerable to bone fractures as a result of lower bone volume. Another common symptom of osteoporosis is back pain, which can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition for many men.
- Irregular Sleeping Patterns
Men with low testosterone often adopt abnormal sleeping patterns as a result of their deficiency. The specific types of patterns vary widely based on energy levels. If you struggle with low energy and fatigue even after getting a full eight hours of sleep, you might spend more time sleeping in an effort to boost your energy.
On the other hand, some men have the opposite problem. Testosterone can lead to insomnia in certain cases. If you routinely have trouble falling asleep at night, this may be a sign of a testosterone deficiency. Similarly, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night on a regular basis and struggling to fall back asleep. This can become a frustrating cycle that interferes with your normal routine during waking hours.
Studies have also linked low testosterone levels to an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a chronic sleep condition characterized by irregular breathing during sleep as a result of blocked airways. This form of sleep apnea tends to cause daytime sleepiness and difficulty concentrating, which can harm work performance and other aspects of your daily life.
- Mood Changes
The emotional effects of low testosterone can also take their toll on men. Because testosterone is a hormone, any fluctuations in your levels of testosterone will naturally interfere with your mood and emotions. Changes in this hormone often lead to feelings of irritation, anxiety, depression or restlessness.
The way different people experience mood changes can also vary significantly. Some men oscillate between various types of moods, while others remain locked into a single emotional state for a prolonged period of time. The latter is commonly seen with depression, which can take hold of a person for weeks, months or even years at a time.
Changes in mood may not be as easily detectable as physical changes, such as hair loss and reduced muscle mass. However, by monitoring your emotions and being aware of any significant changes in the way you feel, you can determine whether low testosterone is impacting your emotional state.
- Memory Problems
In addition to physical and mental changes, there are a number of cognitive changes associated with a testosterone deficiency. Some research has suggested that low levels of this hormone may trigger memory problems. According to these findings, spatial and verbal memory in particular appears to be the most heavily affected.
Spatial memory describes your ability to remember where objects are located. With spatial memory, you can perform the following tasks without any difficulty:
- Plan a route to a specified destination
- Identify the place where an event occurred
- Remember where an object is located
- Retrace your steps to find a specific item
Meanwhile, verbal memory refers to your ability to remember spoken or written language. This can include words, verbal items and other forms of language-based memory. Both verbal and spatial memory undergo meaningful changes as a result of falling testosterone levels.
While it’s normal for your memory to become less sharp with age, low testosterone tends to accelerate this process. A similar phenomenon occurs in women, who often suffer memory loss as a result of decreasing estrogen levels. If you find yourself having frequent memory lapses, it may be a sign of a testosterone deficiency.
- Increased Risk of Anemia
In some cases, low levels of testosterone may put you at a higher risk of anemia. Anemia is a medical condition in which a person’s blood lacks an adequate number of healthy red blood cells. This can disrupt the flow of oxygen to the body’s organs. Some of the most common symptoms of anemia include dizziness, fatigue, skin pallor, difficulty sleeping, shortness of breath and a rapid heartbeat.
Raising your testosterone levels may help to replenish the red blood cells in your body and alleviate some of the symptoms of anemia. However, if you do happen to be experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a medical professional and ensure that you aren’t suffering from a different medical condition.
- Lower Levels of Semen
Semen plays a vital role in helping the sperm move toward the egg during sexual intercourse. This fluid, which comprises most of the male ejaculate, is an essential aspect of healthy male sexuality. A testosterone deficiency can negatively affect the levels of semen in a man’s body, just like it has an adverse effect on sex drive and erections.
Testosterone directly stimulates the production of semen. As a result, low testosterone can hamper semen production and reduce the overall levels of this fluid in your body. Some men who have inadequate semen may also struggle with fertility problems in the long run.
- Hot Flashes
In certain situations, low levels of testosterone can cause fluctuations in body temperature, leading to hot flashes. Hot flashes are commonly known as a key symptom of menopause. They are defined as a sudden, intense feeling of warmth throughout the upper body. Usually, the sensation is most prominent in the chest, neck and face.
Even though hot flashes are normally observed in women, it’s possible for a male with low testosterone to experience this symptom as well. This is because fluctuating levels of testosterone behave similarly to fluctuating levels of estrogen.
Find Relief From the Effects of Aging on Your Hormones
As you grow older, it’s normal to experience a decline in your levels of testosterone. This is your body’s natural response to the aging process. However, this doesn’t mean that you simply need to accept the changes taking place in your body. You can still find the freedom to become the best version of yourself, even as you age.
At Texas Men’s Health Group, we pride ourselves in offering the highest quality men’s hormone replacement therapy and treatment in Texas. Dr. Zachareas is among the foremost experts in the world in dealing with male hormone deficiencies. We recognize that the aging process can have a number of effects on men’s well-being, including their libido, energy levels, sleep quality and mental health. We’re committed to optimizing your hormones to combat these unwanted effects.
To learn more about how we can assist you in optimizing your hormones, please contact us today at 214-499-9158