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Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone. It helps the body produce and maintain adult male features. Low levels of testosterone affect a man’s sex drive, physical features and mood. About 5 million American men have low testosterone. Low testosterone can be treated with hormone replacement therapy.
This summary explains what testosterone does for the body. It also describes what happens if a man does not have enough testosterone. Included are diagnosis, treatment options and associated risks of low testosterone.
The level of testosterone in a male’s body changes throughout the day. It is highest in the morning.
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause low testosterone. The next sections discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of low testosterone in adult males.
Signs of low testosterone in adult men may include:
• Decreased sex drive or libido
• No or poor erections of the penis (called impotence or erectile dysfunction).
• Lowered sperm count
• Increased breast size
Some men with low testosterone have hot flashes, increased irritability, inability to concentrate and depression. Men with severely low testosterone may lose body hair and muscle mass. Their bones may be more prone to fracture. Their testes may
become smaller and softer.
Low testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction. However, diseases of the nerves and blood vessels can also affect the penis and cause erectile dysfunction.
Causes Associated with Low Testosterone
Low levels of testosterone are linked with aging. Diseases of the glands that produce and control testosterone also cause low levels.
As a man ages, his body makes less testosterone. A lower level of testosterone in older men is sometimes called “andropause.”
As men age it is normal for them to have less interest in sex. However, it is abnormal for a man to have absolutely no interest in sex. This could be caused by significantly low levels of testosterone.
Damage to the cells of the testes can cause low testosterone. This kind of damage can be a result of
- Inflammation of the testicles
- Testicular cancer
- Radiation therapy or chemotherapy used
to treat testicular cancer
Diseases that affect the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands can cause low testosterone. These include cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases of either gland. Certain drugs can affect the way the pituitary gland works and cause low testosterone. Morphine and anabolic steroids are two examples.
Certain genetic diseases cause low testosterone. Abnormalities in chromosomes, the genetic materials of the body, cause genetic diseases. For example, myotonic dystrophy causes testicular failure between the ages of 30 and 40.
It is normal for men to have less interest in sex, as they get older. It is also normal for
older men to have less spontaneous erections.
Men with less sex drive, erectile dysfunction, reduced sperm count, decrease in
muscle size or other signs of low testosterone should have a blood test to find out their
Normal testosterone levels are 300 to 1,200 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). Testosterone levels are usually highest early in the morning. Doctors often measure it at that time.
The doctor’s main concern is to find out if there is a disease causing low testosterone. If not, it may be an extreme case of low testosterone due to aging.
It is not always easy to diagnose the cause of low testosterone. You can help your doctor by providing a detailed and accurate medical history. To get your medical history, the doctor will ask about:
- Your past or present illnesses
- All prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking
- Any sexual problems you are having
- Recent events that may have caused you stress
Your doctor may request a bone density test. Low testosterone levels can make the bones more brittle. CT Scan If the doctor thinks there may be a tumor in the pituitary or
hypothalamus, he or she may need to take a picture of your brain. This is done with a CT scan or MRI. CTs and MRIs are painless. CT scans use x-rays and MRI uses a strong magnetic field. MRI is usually better at showing pituitary or hypothalamic tumors.
If the doctor suspects a genetic cause of low testosterone, he or she may request a genetic test. This is a process to examine a person’s DNA. It shows whether the person is at risk of passing a genetic condition to his or her descendants. If the doctor diagnoses a tumor, inflammation, or genetic disease that is causing low testosterone, it is best to get treatment. Sometimes a specialist is needed for treatment. Hormone replacement therapy may be recommended to make up for low levels of testosterone.
No prescription will be provided unless a clinical need exists based on required lab work, physician consultation, physical examination, and current medical history. Please note agreeing to lab work and physical exam does not guarantee a finding of clinical necessity or prescription for hormone therapy including Testosterone, HCG or HGH. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. No claim or opinion on this website is intended to be nor should it be construed to be medical advice or a hormone diagnosis.
- What causes testosterone deficiency?
- What are the symptoms of testosterone deficiency or LOW T
- What changes occur in the body due to testosterone deficiency?
- How do I find out if I have a testosterone deficiency?
- How is testosterone deficiency treated
- What is the cost of testosterone programs?
- Where do I find a good testosterone doctor or clinic?
- Where can I get testosterone treatment online?
- Who shouldn't take testosterone replacement therapy?
- What are the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy?
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Testosterone Therapy Medical Team
Dr. George Ibraheim
Dr. John Wolf
Rose Zegarra, PA-C