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:
Causes of Low Testosterone
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.
Symptoms of Low T
1.Sexual dysfunction in male (unable to maintain erections)
You may be active in your sexual life where you can maintain erections for long periods of time till you satisfy your partner. All of a sudden you may notice that you are failing to maintain the long erections that you used to have. This is one of the symptoms of low testosterone; before you make your conclusion you need to visit your doctor who will perform different tests to confirm that you really have low testosterone levels for him to recommend necessary medications.
2. Reduced sex drive (reduced sexual activity)
After you become affected with low testosterone levels you will tend to have a reduced desire for sex. There are other things in your life that can lead you to losing interest in sex but low testosterone has been found to be one of the contributing factors in males which led them to developing low sex drive. Low testosterone levels leads to reduced sexual activity because the hormone is the one that is responsible in controlling sexual activity in an individual hence its drop leads to a drastic decrease in the sexual drive of a man.
3. Decreased energy
After levels of testosterone go down in a male individual it will tend to lead to lower levels of energy. You may notice yourself under-performing at work and experiencing lower energy levels in general. The possible cause can be low testosterone levels. In case you have lost your energy but you cannot identify the reason why, you need to contact your doctor to check your testosterone levels.
4. Loss of body hair
In some cases men will tend to lose body hair. If you have been noticing excessive hair fall, then you need to check on your levels of testosterone because loss of hair in men is one of the symptoms of low testosterone levels. If you had a lot of hair and you start losing it drastically, then you should go and see your doctor.
5. Depressed mood
Men with low testosterone levels will tend to develop bad moods. In case you were a person who used to have good moods but you develop changes all over a sudden, then this may be the reason. Depressed moods can really disturb you while trying to relate with other people hence you should try and check on your levels of testosterone to avoid social problems.
6. Increase in body fat
With low testosterone levels a man will tend to increase the amount of fat in his body so if you find yourself undergoing sudden weight gains then you should really check this out. Instead of trying to look for other ways through which you will be able to lose the fat, you need to check on the levels of your testosterone first for you to know the real cause.
7. Decrease in bone strength
Individuals with low bone strength or osteoporosis commonly have low testosterone levels. Living with low bone density is very risky in your life because you can easily develop bone fractures. If possible, after you discover you are developing osteoporosis you need to contact your doctor who will advise you appropriately on how to deal with the issue of low testosterone levels. You should look for a specialist in the area of low testosterone.
8. Reduced muscle mass
As a man your physical appearance should be muscular. The masculinity in you is controlled by the hormone testosterone. With low testosterone levels you will end up decreasing your body mass. With low testosterone levels even if you try to maintain the right diet as well as doing the right exercise you will still lose muscle mas. If you find that you just can’t seem to gain any muscle right now then you need to check on your levels of testosterone.
Low testosterone levels can really affect your life, but the good news is that you can easily correct the situation after you contact a professional for advice or use a testosterone booster.
Below Dr. Sam Chawla with Wake Specialty Physicians — Urology discusses signs, symptoms and treatments low testosterone: