Like any other hormone, testosterone is very important for us. However, it starts reducing every year after the age of 30. It reduces significantly in some men.
In recent years, a trend has increased in older men having low testosterone to get testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT can treat symptoms like low energy, low libido and poor muscle mass.
But the problem of low testosterone not only occurs in older men. It happens even in young men, and even children and babies. Therefore Earth’s Wisdom today wants to discuss the very important issue of what causes low testosterone and what its symptoms are.
Causes of Low Testosterone
There are two types of hypogonadism viz. primary and secondary of which the primary hypogonadism can be caused by underactive testes because they don’t produce adequate levels of testosterone that is required for optimal health and growth. The causes of this underactivity can be an inherited trait, illness or accident.
Inherited traits include:
Undescended Testicles: This happens when the testicles cannot descend from the abdomen before birth
Klinefelter’s Syndrome: This is a condition wherein a man is born with three sex chromosomes – X, X and Y
Hemochromatosis: In this, excessive iron in the blood leads to failure of testicles or damage to pituitary gland
Types of testicle damage that can cause primary hypogonadism include:
Mumps orchitis: This is a mumps infection that can damage testicles
Physical injury to the testicles: When such an injury occurs to both the testicles, only then testosterone levels are affected
Cancer treatment: Testicles can be damaged due to chemotherapy or radiation
This occurs due to damage to hypothalamus or pituitary gland which are parts of brain that control production of hormones by testes.
This category includes the following inherited or disease conditions:
Inflammatory Diseases: Examples of these are tuberculosis, histiocytosis and sarcoidosis which can affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
Pituitary Disorders: These can be caused by kidney failure, small tumors or drugs
HIV/AIDS: This can affect hypothalamus, pituitary gland and testes
Kallmann Syndrome: This is a condition related to abnormal hypothalamus function
- Acquired situations that can cause secondary hypogonadism include:
Process of Aging: Aging can affect formation of and response to hormones
Concurrent Illness: An illness or surgery can cause severe physical or emotional stress that can make reproductive system to momentarily shut down
Medications: The function of hypothalamus and pituitary gland can be affected by opioid pain medications and steroids
Obesity: Hormone formation and response can be affected by high body fat
You may experience primary, secondary or mixed hypogonadism. Mixed hypogonadism occurs commonly when age increases. The condition can also occur in people having glucocorticoid therapy. Also, people with alcoholism, thalassemia and sickle-cell disease can be affected by this condition.
Symptom Relief through Lifestyle Changes
Changes in lifestyle may ease your symptoms of low testosterone.
An ideal first step should be increasing physical activity and taking a healthy diet so as to shed body fat. Avoiding glucocorticoid medications like prednisone and opioid pain medications can also be helpful.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Low testosterone occurs due to primary or secondary hypogonadism which can begin during fetal development or puberty or adulthood and its symptoms at these various stages are:
- Female genitals
- Unclear genitals i.e. neither male nor female
- Underdeveloped male genitals
- Deepening of voice
- Muscle development
- Underdeveloped genitals
- Lack of body hair
- Enlarged breasts (gynecomastia)
- Overly long limbs
- Low muscle mass
- Low energy levels
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of bone mass
- Slow growth of hair or hair loss
- Reduced sex drive
Mental fogginess and fatigue are also commonly occurring symptoms in men with low testosterone.
Take your doctor’s advice if you see these symptoms and causes of low testosterone in your life and you can fight the condition.
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