Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone that is produced in the human body. It is produced in both males and females, where in men it is produced in the testes; in females the ovaries produce some amount of testosterone.
As testosterone secretion is much higher in males as compared to females, testosterone is often referred to as male androgenic hormone as well. There are several functions that it performs, including puberty and sexual development. It is also responsible for the sexual drive in men and in sperm production. Additionally, Testosterone also helps in building muscle mass and increasing bone strength.
Research shows, as men age the testosterone secretion in the body starts falling.(1) These can lead to significant changes in body composition, decrease in energy levels, reduced muscle strength, etc. On an average, two out of ten men that age more than 60 are found with low testosterone levels. The average count increases, when we consider the age group above 70 -80.
As the testosterone levels decrease, there are a lot of symptoms that a man shall experience. According to studies the normal range for testosterone levels is 250-1000ng/dl. Low testosterone is referred as the fall of T-levels below the normal levels.
It is recommended to take the blood test , also known as serum testosterone test to determine high or low levels of testosterone.
However, there are certain symptoms that are visible as the testosterone production decreases below the normal level. You can look for these symptoms or signs to tell if you have low testosterone levels.
9 Symptoms of Low Testosterone levels
1. Decrease in Muscle mass
Testosterone plays a very important role in muscle building. Individuals that have low testosterone levels are found to lose muscles. If you have noticed rapid loss in muscles then this can be a matter of concern and you must consult a doctor.
Studies show that testosterone assists in muscle protein synthesis, which further enhances muscle growth.(2) Even though testosterone doesn’t strengthen muscles, it is essential to grow muscles.
Low levels of testosterone shall reduce the muscle protein synthesis in the body, which leads to decrease in muscle mass. Thus, if you are experiencing rapid loss in muscles, low T-levels can be one of the reasons.
2. Increased Body Fat content
As testosterone helps in breaking down proteins to build muscles, it utilizes the energy stored (fats) in the body during the process.
Thus, when the testosterone levels decrease, the body fat in men increases, which leads to obesity.(3) This also leads to gynecomastia or growth of the breast tissues in males.
Now, there are several other reasons behind increasing fat content in the body. But, the above mentioned symptoms are more likely to occur due to low T-levels, which causes hormonal imbalance in men.
3. Low sex drive or Libido
Testosterone is very important to intrigue the sex drive in men. It is often found, people after reaching a certain age (generally after 40), experience reduced sex drive, which is very common.
However, individuals dealing with low testosterone levels experience drastic change in their sex drive, in early ages as well.(4) Low T-levels do affect your sex life and the desire to have sex.
Remember, this can also happen due to several other reasons. Thus, consulting a physician is recommended.
4. Erection problems
Testosterone is not only responsible for the sexual drive in men, but also assists in maintaining the erection.
Even though testosterone alone doesn’t cause the erection, it stimulates the brain to produce the nitric oxide. It is the compound responsible for the chemical reactions in the body for the erection to occur.Research suggests low testosterone levels make it difficult for a man to achieve an erection. (5)
Considering the facts, it still cannot be confirmed that difficulty in erection is due to testosterone alone. There are several other factors that stimulate the erection in men.
Another study, suggests that testosterone plays an important role in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.(6) Thus, keeping the testosterone levels in check becomes important.
Other reasons for erectile dysfunctions include.
- High Cholesterol.
- Alcohol abuse.
- Anxiety, etc.
5. Reduce semen production
Testosterone plays an important role for semen production in the body. Semen is the milky fluid that aid in the motility of the sperm. Men dealing with low testosterone levels are found with reduced amount of semen ejaculation.
There are three parts in the man’s body that work in the production of the sperms i.e. the prostate, seminal vesicles and the testicles or testes. It is very essential that all these parts have enough supply of testosterone for normal ejaculation. Reduced semen production shall create problems in your sexual life, as it might prevent the female partner to conceive.
Here too, low T-levels alone are not the only factor that reduces semen production. Additional factors, such as stress, injury or even overweight can also lead to such problems.
6. Hair loss
There are several body functions that testosterone levels assist in; one of them is hair growth or production.
Baldness in men is a very common phenomenon, which occurs with age. This can of course be hereditary and a natural part of aging in men. Research shows that men with low T-levels, experience rapid loss of body hair and facial hair as well.
If you are experiencing rapid hair fall on a daily basis, we shall recommend you to get in contact with a doctor or hair specialist. Keep in mind, hair fall is also experienced in men suffering from skin problem or due to the development of cancerous cells. Therefore, proper examination is needed.
7. Reduced bone strength
Testosterone plays a very important role in strengthening of bones. Unlike, where women suffer from osteoporosis (due to menopause),which is thinning of bone mass, male-osteoporosis is caused due to testosterone deficiency.
Research shows, men that have low testosterone levels also suffer with reduced bone mass and strength.(7) This further increases the risks of bone fractures.
Reduced bone strength is also caused due to lack of calcium content and other diseases. But, it becomes important to perform serum testosterone test to find out, if testosterone is the reason behind it.
8. Increased fatigue and loss of energy
If you work on a regular basis, fatigue comes to you as a result of immense work. This is very common, especially among individuals that get involved in a lot of physical work.
Low T-levels are also associated with increased fatigue in a human body.This means, even if an individual gets proper sleep or rest, if it has low testosterone levels, it is likely to go through fatigue.
Low testosterone levels also decrease the energy levels in an individual. Men with low testosterone levels lose their drive and initiative towards life.If you feel that you are low on energy levels, despite the fact that your diet and rest period are still the same? Then, low T- levels can be a matter of concern and you should consult a physician.
9. Varying Mood changes
Testosterone levels are associated with several physical processes in the body. Thus, men with low T-levels are found to experience multiple mood changes, caused due to changes in the physical processes.
A person with low testosterone levels is more likely to get depressed, be less optimistic about things and lack focus.(8) Studies also suggest that low testosterone levels and feeling of depression are related to one another. (9)
Testosterone is not always the reason behind depression or losing focus, but it can be one of the factors that contribute to it.
Men experience decrease in testosterone levels over time as they age, unlike women that go through menopause and experience rapid fall in hormones. Old men have comparatively lower levels of testosterone than young individuals.
A person with an average T-level range of 300-650ng/dl is considered to be healthy. Men with testosterone levels lower than 300ng/dl experience the symptoms of low testosterone levels.
Consult a doctor, if you are dealing with any of above mentioned symptoms. It shall ask you for a blood test to measure your Testosterone levels and suggest you the needed treatment. It shall also provide you with suggestions, regarding things that you can do to increase the testosterone levels in your body.
Further Read- 3 Best Ways to Test Your Testosterone Levels