Low Testosterone: How Do You Know When Levels are Too Low?

Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible for stimulating sperm production, building muscle and bone mass, and sex drive. It is produced in the testicles and influences fat distribution, hair growth, bone density and red blood cell production for men.  

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A low testosterone level is one with a blood level below 300 nanograms per deciliter. As men get older, their testosterone levels decrease; this is called Andropause. This is the male equivalent to menopause in women. However, unlike women who undergo menopause at a certain age, men undergo andropause gradually, losing about 1% a year after hitting age 30. 
When testosterone levels decrease quicker than they should, men begin to experience signs of low testosterone more. These symptoms include: 
  • Low sex drive - Men depend on testosterone for their libido. With less testosterone, men have lower sex drive and endurance, fewer spontaneous erections like during sleep, and may cause difficulty in achieving orgasm
  • Erectile dysfunction – Testosterone helps men achieve erection. While low testosterone levels is not the cause for erectile dysfunction, most men with low testosterone levels have erectile dysfunction
  • Changes in sleep patterns – Testosterone keeps energy levels up. Lower levels can cause insomnia and sleep deprivation
  • Hair loss – Testosterone is needed for hair growth. Lower testosterone levels can expect lower body and facial hair
  • Low semen level – Men need testosterone to produce sperm. Higher levels of sperm count can be attributed to high testosterone levels. With lower levels, the sperm count is lower and can lead to infertility problems
  • Lower muscle mass – Muscles are built from testosterone.  Without it, strength and muscle mass will decline, especially in the arms, legs and chest. Muscle will also not be rebuilt as easily without testosterone 
  • Increase in body fat - Men with less testosterone will notice an increase in body fat and weight, despite exercise. Research shows that body fat is controlled by the same genes that are responsible for circulating testosterone levels in men
  • Fatigue – With already disrupted sleep patterns, men with low testosterone levels feel fatigued and lack of energy, even will a full night’s rest
  • Emotional changes – Without testosterone, men may feel indifferent, anxious, and even depressed. Difficulty in concentrating can also be a side effect of less testosterone in the body
It is pretty simple to check testosterone levels - as simple as a blood test will yield the results. Some men fail to notice the declining levels because they tend to ignore them and get used to the symptoms instead, which can affect their career and relationships.

Photo By Andrew Goloida [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) https://flic.kr/p/9kb1CS]