Testosterone is a male sex hormone essential for sexual and reproductive development, as well as fat loss, muscle mass and overall health. It is natural for testosterone levels to decrease with age, often leading to symptoms like reduced sex drive. In some cases, low testosterone is caused by hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes fail to function properly. Obesity, diabetes, poor diet, and abuse of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol can also contribute to low testosterone. If you suspect that you may have low testosterone levels, stay alert to signs and symptoms that could indicate a testosterone deficiency.
1. Sexual Dysfunction
Many men who suffer from low testosterone find it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. An erection occurs when testosterone stimulates penile tissues to produce nitric oxide. When testosterone levels are low, getting an erection can be challenging.
2. Low Sex Drive
Testosterone is the hormone that drives a man’s sex drive. When there is not enough of the hormone, a male is less likely to be interested in sex. Although sex drive tends to naturally diminish with age, men with low testosterone will typically notice a drastic decrease in their desire for sex.
3. Hair Loss
While hair loss is genetic for many men, having low testosterone can contribute to premature loss of hair or balding. Hair loss is most common on the head, but can also affect other parts of the body. Low testosterone can also affect women. While women have much lower levels of testosterone than men, having lower than normal levels of testosterone can cause androgenetic hair loss.
4. Reduced Bone Mass
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by the reduction of bone quality and density. The body absorbs and replaces bone tissue continually. However, with osteoporosis the creation of new bone does not occur as steadily as old bone removal. The most common cause of osteoporosis is low testosterone.
5. Increased Fatigue
While it’s normal to feel tired after a long day of work, feeling fatigued all the time may have an underlying cause like low testosterone. Some people may have low energy or feel tired, but have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Many males with low testosterone also suffer from sleep apnea.
While you cannot always prevent low testosterone, you can treat it. Testosterone therapy has been found to help reverse the effects of hypogonadism and replenish depleted testosterone levels in aging men.