Low testosterone is a relatively common occurrence.
Often referred to as hypogonadism, low testosterone can affect libido, muscle growth, and energy levels. While testosterone levels naturally decline as a part of the natural aging process, it can dramatically impact a man’s quality of life.
Testosterone production slows down as a man grows older. This process typically starts around the time that a man reaches 30 years of age and continues throughout the years.
While this decline typically occurs gradually, it can happen more rapidly in some men.
Injury or infection of the testicles may also reduce testosterone levels, as can the loss of a testicle. Certain medications and medical treatments, such as radiation therapy and narcotic pain relievers, may also affect the production of hormones within the body. Other health conditions, including alcoholism, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, and obesity, may also play a role in the reduction of testosterone levels within the body.
A deficiency in testosterone can really impact a man’s emotional, physical, and sexual well-being. Low testosterone may lead to depression, mood changes, insomnia, and irritability. Those who suffer from testosterone deficiency may also experience a decrease in muscle mass and bone density, an increase in body fat, enlarged breasts, and decreased body hair. Diabetes and other metabolic syndromes have been noted more frequently in those with decreased testosterone levels. Perhaps the first signs of testosterone deficiency that men may notice occur in his sex life. Low testosterone can lead to a decrease in libido, delayed orgasm, infertility, and difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.
The treatment that a physician will choose for low testosterone will depend on the cause. If another health problem is affecting the production of testosterone in the body, this issue will be addressed first to see if it can lead to a natural increase in testosterone. If the problem is within the testes, hormone replacement therapy can be a viable option.
There are many methods in which testosterone replacement can be performed. The method selected will be based on the needs of the patient as well as the recommendations of the treating physician. Injections can be performed by a doctor. The frequency of injections will depend on the type of medication chosen. A gel can be applied to the skin or to the inside of the nasal cavities. However, nasal application requires many applications throughout the day, making it a potentially inconvenient option.
A stick form of testosterone therapy can be applied in the same way as an antiperspirant. Other options are also available, depending on the needs of the patient. While oral therapy is possible, it is not recommended for long-term treatment of testosterone deficiency. This therapy is considered safe for most individuals, but should be avoided by those with conditions such as: