Testosterone is the male sex hormone and it is one of the most important hormones in the human body, as it plays a crucial role in male health. In some cases, men can suffer from low levels of testosterone, due to a series of reasons: internal factors (different conditions such as obesity or diabetes) and external factors (increased alcohol consumption). The treatment depends a lot on the agent that causes the low testosterone, which is medically referred to as hypogonadism. Normally, the levels of testosterone in men should be between 300 and 1200 nanograms per deciliter, and the levels tend to go even higher in the morning. Anything lower than 300 nanograms per deciliter is considered hypogonadism, and here you will find a deeper insight into some of the most common causes of low testosterone in men:
1. Increased Alcohol Intake
This is by far one of the most common and dangerous causes of low testosterone in men: not only does the over-consumption of alcohol impair the function of the gonads (the glands that produce testosterone), but it also takes its toll on the liver, which plays a vital role for the correct functioning of the body.
Alcohol over-consumption can hamper t levels in the long run by affecting the key functions that are needed for producing and regulating hormone levels. That being said, alcohol impairs the function of the enzyme responsible for the natural production of the male sex hormone and it also prevents the liver from metabolizing the hormones simply because it is too busy filtering out all the alcohol you have ingested. The chemicals found in alcoholic beverages can cause oxidative stress to the gonads, and they can also increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to be the main culprit behind insomnia and other serious diseases.
If over-consumption of alcohol is the culprit behind your low levels of testosterone, then the good news is that the hormonal production can be resumed by simply consuming lower amounts of alcohol and by adopting a healthy and balanced diet that stimulates the natural production of testosterone.
2. The Natural Aging Process
While it is true that we have full control over our diet and lifestyle, there are other factors that we have absolutely no control over, such as aging. It is a known fact that older men have significantly lower levels of testosterone in their bodies than younger men do, and the natural testosterone production slowly starts to decline as the man crosses 40 years of age. Statistically speaking, the production of testosterone is reduced, on average, by 2% a year, this being the male equivalent of menopause (and medically known as andropause, or male menopause).
Overweight people also tend to have lower levels of testosterone in their bodies, as opposed to men with a normal body weight. Studies have revealed a very strong correlation between low testosterone and an increased body weight, and scientists have proved that the higher the number of fat cells in the body, the greater the testosterone conversion rate into estrogen, the latter being known as the female sex hormone.
4. Inflammatory Diseases
One very common cause of low testosterone in men is the presence of one or more inflammatory diseases that interferes with the function of either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus, thus affecting the production of testosterone and triggering the onset of hypogonadism. Some of the common inflammatory diseases are sarcoidosis, tuberculosis and histiocytosis, all of which require urgent medical attention.
5. Other Common Disorders
Some diseases and conditions are also known to impair the function of the gonads in men, thus leading to low levels of testosterone – testicular cancer being one of these causes. Not only does testicular cancer lower the levels of testosterone, but it can also endanger the entire reproductive mechanism of the patient, as cancer commonly requires radiation treatment and chemotherapy, both of which may disrupt the natural testosterone production.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the leading causes of low testosterone in men, and it often happens that overweight men who also suffer from type 2 diabetes are the most predisposed to hypogonadism. In addition to these two conditions, there are several other congenital disorders and acquired disorders that may also interfere with the body’s natural ability to produce testosterone in men, such as congenital abnormalities in the testicular mechanism, abnormalities of the pituitary gland in the brand (gland which is responsible for the production of the testosterone) or different problems of the hypothalamus.
Another common disorder that affects the testosterone levels in men is Klinefelter syndrome, which results from a congenital abnormality of the sex chromosome. Men who suffer from the Klinefelter syndrome do not have an X and a Y chromosome as they normally would, but two or more X chromosomes along with one Y chromosome. It is the extra X chromosome that interferes with the natural production of testosterone, as well as with the normal development of the testicles.
Some men also suffer from what is known as “undescended testicles”. In a nutshell, the testicles are formed while the baby is in fetal stage, in a small cavity right on top of the pubic region. Normally, the testicles then descend from the abdominal area into their permanent place, which is the scrotum – however, in men with undescended testicles, the testicles remain in their initial position in the abdomen, and unless the condition is discovered and treated early on (ideally during childhood), this may lead to infertility, and to the malfunction of the testicles which, in turn, will lead to the underproduction of testosterone.
In addition to this, one condition that can cause low testosterone in men is HIV/AIDS, as this disorder affects not only the testicles, but also the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Since these three are the main sources of male sex hormone, men who suffer from HIV/AIDS may have lower testosterone levels in their bodies.