Testosterone plays a key role in the overall health of your body. Its production is primarily regulated by your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls your body’s sex drive, body temperature, and other important functions.
Your pituitary gland (another part of your brain) releases luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) into your bloodstream. These hormones tell your ovaries to produce testosterone.
LH and FSH work in conjunction with each other to release testosterone into your system.
Testosterone levels drop during the day, and they may remain low for several hours after you go to bed. This drop can be caused by the time difference between the time your pituitary gland releases LH and your brain releases testosterone.
If your testosterone levels are very low, it may be challenging to feel sexually aroused.
Testosterone levels may also fluctuate during the day due to:
- Physical activity
You may also have low testosterone levels if you take medications that affect testosterone production.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone?
Low testosterone can have a number of symptoms.
Sexual function and arousal
Low testosterone can affect your sex drive and ability to become sexually aroused.
It can also cause you to have trouble maintaining an erection. This is because testosterone affects the tissue in your penis. It can also affect your ability to get an erection during sexual arousal.
Low testosterone can also cause you to feel tired.
If you have low testosterone, it’s possible that you may feel fatigued for a few reasons.
One example is that you may not get enough physical activity. Exercising and getting enough sleep can help your body produce more testosterone.
Low testosterone also may lead to low energy. This can make it difficult for you to get through your daily activities.
If you have low testosterone, you may find it difficult to perform daily tasks such as:
- Brushing your teeth
- Making your bed
- Preparing meals
If you continue to feel weak, it may affect your ability to work, care for your children, and other important activities.
Low testosterone can also affect your sex drive, ability to become sexually aroused, and ability to maintain an erection.
Low testosterone may also cause you to have trouble ejaculating (release) semen.
Low testosterone may also affect how often you ejaculate. This can make sex and sexual intimacy less pleasurable.
Low testosterone may also cause you to have a low sex drive.
If you have low testosterone, you may have trouble getting an erection or reaching orgasm.
If you have a low sex drive, it may be difficult for you to enjoy sex. You may also have a difficult time maintaining an erection.
Low mood and depression
Low testosterone may cause you to feel depressed, anxious, or stressed. In some cases, low testosterone can cause you to have low mood and depression.
How is low testosterone diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you have low testosterone, they may ask you to do a physical exam. They may also order one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests. These tests can help your doctor check your testosterone levels.
- Testosterone levels. You may need to have your blood drawn to check your testosterone levels.
- Urine test. Your doctor may collect urine to check for testosterone in your urine. This is known as a free and total testosterone test.
- Hair test. Your doctor may take a small amount of your hair to check for testosterone.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.
What is the treatment for low testosterone?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, you may be able to treat them with treatment that helps your body produce more testosterone.
Treatment may include:
If your symptoms are caused by low testosterone and your doctor suspects that it’s due to a physical problem, they may prescribe you medication to help increase your levels.
There are several different drugs that doctors may prescribe to treat low testosterone. Some examples include:
- Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which involves your doctor giving you a prescription for a low dose of testosterone.
- Testosterone injections. Your doctor may inject a small dose of testosterone into your muscle.
- Minimally invasive surgery (MIS). This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves your doctor removing the tissue in your spine that reduces your testosterone levels.
What is the outlook for people with low testosterone?
There’s no cure for low testosterone. But if you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, it’s important to talk with your doctor.
Treatment can help you feel better and improve your quality of life.
It’s also important to make sure that you’re staying physically active and eating a healthy diet.
You should also talk with your doctor about any sexual issues that you have. This can help your doctor find out why they’re affecting your quality of life.
In some cases, low testosterone may be a symptom of a physical health condition, such as:
- Sleep apnea
- Addison’s disease
- Adrenal tumors
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
In these cases, your doctor may use hormone replacement therapy to help treat your symptoms.
How to prevent low testosterone?
There’s no known way to prevent low testosterone. However, if you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, it’s important to talk with your doctor.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, make sure that you’re staying active and eating a healthy diet.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone and your doctor suspects that it’s due to a physical problem, they may prescribe you medication to help increase your levels.
The bottom line
Low testosterone is a condition that can affect people of all ages. It can cause a number of symptoms, including:
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