Low testosterone prevalence
Low testosterone (low T) affects 4 to 5 million men in the US.
Testosterone is an important hormone in the human body. But it starts to decrease each year after age 30. In some men this can be substantial. Between 19 and 39 percent of older men may have low levels of testosterone.
Older men with low T have increasingly sought testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in recent years. TRT addresses symptoms such as low libido, poor muscle mass, and low energy.
Its not just older men that are affected by low T. Young men, even babies and children, can also have this problem.
Low levels of testosterone that are atypical of normal aging are due to other primary or secondary causes of hypogonadism. Hypogonadism in males happens when the testicles dont produce enough testosterone. Hypogonadism can start during fetal development, during puberty, or during adulthood.
If hypogonadism begins during fetal development, the primary result is impaired growth of external sex organs. Depending on when hypogonadism starts and the level of testosterone present during fetal development, a male child can develop:
Normal growth can be jeopardized if hypogonadism occurs during puberty. Problems occur with:
Later in life, insufficient testosterone can lead to other problems. Symptoms include:
Fatigue and mental fogginess are some commonly reported mental and emotional symptoms in men with low T.
9 Warning signs of low testosterone
The two basic types of hypogonadism are primary and secondary hypogonadism.
Underactive testes cause primary hypogonadism. Thats because they dont manufacture sufficient levels of testosterone for optimal growth and health. This underactivity can be caused by an inherited trait. It can also be acquired by accident or illness.
Inherited conditions include:
Types of testicle damage that can lead to primary hypogonadism include:
Secondary hypogonadism is caused by damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. These parts of the brain control hormone production by the testes.
Inherited or disease conditions in this category include:
Acquired circumstances that can lead to secondary hypogonadism include:
You may be affected by primary, secondary, or a mixed hypogonadism. Mixed hypogonadism is more common with increased age. People undergoing glucocorticoid therapy can develop the condition. It also can affect people with sickle-cell disease, thalassemia, or alcoholism.
Learn more: 5 Natural testosterone boosters
If youre experiencing symptoms of low T, lifestyle changes may help to ease your symptoms.
A good first step is increasing activity levels and maintaining a healthy diet in order to reduce body fat. It can also be helpful to avoid glucocorticoid medications such as prednisone as well as opioid pain medications.
Diet right: 8 Testosterone boosting foods
If lifestyle changes dont work for you, you may need to begin testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for treatment of low T. TRT can be very important for helping teenage males with hypogonadism experience normal masculine development. Sufficient testosterone levels help maintain health and well-being in adult males.
TRT has side effects, however, including:
A carefully formulated TRT treatment plan should avoid many of these undesirable side effects. Talk with your doctor to evaluate your options.
Options for increasing your testosterone
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Whats Causing My Low Testosterone?
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