What are the signs of low testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is often associated with men, although women have small amounts. Low testosterone levels can lead to erectile dysfunction, reduced bone mass, and decreased sex drive in men.
Many important functions are performed by the hormone, including:
- Development of bone and muscles
- Voice thickening, hair loss and other aspects of appearance
- Sperm production
As we age, testosterone production can decrease. Many older men experience symptoms of low testosterone.
Signs of low testosterone
Here are some common symptoms and signs of low testosterone in men. These symptoms may also be experienced by women:
- Problems with erections: Low testosterone can make it hard to maintain or obtain erections. Testosterone stimulates tissues in the penis to make nitric dioxide, which triggers several reactions that lead to an erection. A man might not be able have an erection if his hormone levels are too low.
- Hair loss: Hair loss is a common part of aging for many men and women.
- A decreased bone mass: Testosterone is a hormone that helps to build bone tissue and maintain bone mass. Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in volume which can increase the risk of fractures.
- Reduction in testicular size: Low testosterone can cause a decrease in size of the testicles, but this is not due to cold temperatures. You may feel the scrotum softer than usual.
- Reduced semen: The bulk of male ejaculate is made up of semen. This fluid aids the sperm in moving toward the egg. Testosterone stimulates semen production. A decrease in testosterone may indicate a decrease in semen levels. It can also lead to problems in fertility.
- Difficulty in sleeping: Low testosterone can cause difficulty in falling asleep, or staying asleep for men with low testosterone. Low testosterone can also cause sleep apnea in many men. This can lead to a serious condition that causes the person to temporarily stop breathing. It disrupts their sleep.
- Sex drives are reduced: Low testosterone can cause a decrease in sex drive for men with low testosterone. A decrease in sex drive is a natural result of age. However, low testosterone can cause a significant drop in sex desire.
- Reduced muscle mass: The development of muscle mass is affected by testosterone levels. A decrease in this hormone can lead to significant muscle loss.
- Hot flashes: Low testosterone levels may also be a cause of hot flashes.
- A drop in energy: Low testosterone can lead to fatigue and lower energy levels. Even after getting enough rest, a person might feel tired or lose interest in exercising or other activities.
- A rise in body fat: A decrease in testosterone could lead to an increase in body weight. Men with hormone deficiencies may develop gynecomastia. This is a condition that causes an enlarged breast.
- Mood swings: Evidence suggests that low testosterone levels may lead to poor concentration, irritability, and depression in men.
Some symptoms are normal as part of aging. It is common to lose interest in sex as you get older. It isn’t normal to be interested in sex but it is possible.
Other conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure can also cause symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.