Low testosterone, or low T, affects about 5 million American men. Testosterone starts to naturally decline in men after age 40, but if it drops too low you may experience symptoms of low T. Your doctor can check your levels by taking a blood sample. The normal range is between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. Your doctor can also measure free and bioavailable testosterone, which can help your doctor see how well your body is making the hormone.
The symptoms of low T may weigh more heavily on how your doctor wants to treat you than the actual levels themselves. If you see any changes in your body, health, or even personality, you may want to get your testosterone checked.
Here are 10 symptoms of low T that men may experience.
You may not have the energy you used to have. While fatigue and decreased energy can be signs of aging, it is also caused by low testosterone. Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Decline in sex drive
Both a drop in your libido and the appearance of erectile dysfunction are effects of low T, but low T is not the only cause for changes in a man’s sexual health. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of heart disease or caused by diabetes.
Low T can cause restlessness at night or insomnia. However, plenty of sleep is important for boosting natural testosterone levels. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine and maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Eliminate distractions or things that can keep you awake at bedtime such as checking e-mail, watching the news, or being on the computer. Make you room dark, quiet, and a place of rest and relaxation.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes loss of bone mass and weakens bones. It has several causes, one of which is low T. Make sure to include weight-bearing exercises in your regular exercise program.
Your memory and mental focus may be taking a dive. If you have trouble concentrating, it could be due to low T. One way to improve concentration is to relieve stress through meditation, exercise, yoga, or massage.
Low T can cause depression. Warning signs are when you no longer want to do things you used to enjoy or when nothing makes you happy. Bringing testosterone back to normal levels usually corrects these mood changes.
Changes in muscle mass
When testosterone dips, it takes muscle mass and strength with it. You may not get the same results you used to get from working out. The good news is that exercising regularly boosts testosterone levels, so keep hitting the gym. Focus on working large muscle groups and make sure to lift some weight as well.
Increased body fat
It is a vicious cycle. Low T can cause you to gain fat as you lose muscle. But maintaining a healthy weight can help maintain your testosterone levels. Losing weight if you are overweight may cause your body to start making more testosterone. The bottom line is not to give up and to keep exercising to try to boost your testosterone levels and regain lost muscle mass.
Low T may cause you to lose body hair. While it should not affect the hair on your head, you may notice loss of facial hair, pubic hair, and the hair on your arms and lower legs.
Problems at home or work
The changes that low T can cause in your mood, mental state, and energy level can have an impact on your job performance and your personal relationships. If you are noticing changes in your work or home life, have your doctor check your testosterone levels to see if they could be the cause.
Natural testosterone boosters
There are many dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate the symptoms of andropause, or male menopause. The following steps can help you to boost your own testosterone levels naturally.
- Get more sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Have more sex
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Consider supplements, such as fenugreek or avena sativa
- Talk to your doctor about medications you are taking to see if they could be cause low T
Testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy is another treatment option. TRT comes in patches, gels, injections, and pellets inserted under the skin. There are side effects of TRT (such as male-pattern baldness), and TRT should not be used in patients with prostate cancer, breast cancer, sleep apnea, heart failure, or enlarged prostate.
Living with low T
While gradually decreasing testosterone is a normal part of aging, you can take steps through diet, exercise, a healthy sex life, stress management, and sleep to help boost your own body’s levels. Because low T is associated with diabetes, kidney problems, and other hormone issues, you should see your doctor to have your testosterone checked and to rule out other health problems. If you notice changes in your mood, ability to work, or changes in your relationships, make sure to talk to your doctor about ways to regulate your hormones so that you can maintain a good quality of life.
Read more in our Low T Health Center.