Q: Is it okay for a man to have low levels of testosterone?
Dr Warren Deeves of Health Matters answers:
Decreasing levels of testosterone is often part of the ageing process, so its relatively common in older men.
However, testosterone deficiency can occur at any age due to conditions affecting the testicles, or the pituitary gland in the brain.
In adult males, testosterone deficiency can cause fatigue, infertility, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, decreased muscle mass, development of breast tissue and loss of bone density.
Some describe it as the male menopause (but not in front of their wives for fear of retaliation).
A decrease in testosterone is usually a gradual process, so many men just assume their symptoms are a result of aging, and dont seek help.
If you have a deficiency, you can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy, however, the cause needs to be treated as well.
Too much testosterone can also be a problem.
It is uncommon to have high testosterone levels naturally, but this can be caused by adrenal or testicular tumours.
More often than not, high levels of testosterone are seen in people using anabolic steroids or prescription testosterone obtained illegally.
The symptoms may include heart or liver problems, high blood pressure, acne, aggression, infertility, insomnia, prostate enlargement and unexplained weight gain.
So in summary, we need to find the happy medium between too little or too much testosterone.
All those new moustaches you see in Movember are most likely due to normal testosterone levels, provided its not on a woman.
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