Testosterone deficiency: What are the symptoms and treatment for low testosterone?

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Testosterone has a boisterous reputation as the male sex hormone that makes you riled up in all sorts of scenarios, from the boxing ring to the bedroom. But what does it mean if you have low testosterone levels? When is it time to see a doctor?

As men get older, their testosterone levels tend to steadily decline, at a rate of around two percent every year between the age of 30 and 40.

This decline is natural and shouldn’t cause any issues on its own.

However, testosterone deficiency can affect men of any age, due to the testes not producing enough testosterone.

Some people with testosterone deficiency – the medical term for it is hypogonadism – find the symptoms difficult to live with, so seek treatments to replenish their testosterone levels.

Also, testosterone deficiency can cause low bone density, in which case a medical professional might recommend it.

For older people, some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency are simply associated with getting older, and it can be tricky to attribute them to a decline in testosterone.

This drop in testosterone is sometimes dubbed the “male menopause”, however, the NHS describes this as an “unhelpful term”.

According to the NHS website: “This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause.

“This is not true.”

The British Society for Sexual Medicine (BSSM) defines testosterone deficiency as: “A well-established and significant medical condition.

“Testosterone Deficiency can adversely affect multiple organ systems and result in significant decreases in quality of life, including changes in sexual function.”

What are the symptoms of testosterone deficiency?

Symptoms of testosterone deficiency can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Low libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced exercise tolerance and strength
  • Excessive sweating and night sweats
  • Poor concentration or memory
  • Needing to shave less often

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Some of these symptoms could be a result of any number of things, so you will need a blood test to confirm a testosterone deficiency.

Although the symptoms of testosterone deficiency aren’t necessarily considered dangerous, they can be unpleasant and affect a person’s overall mental health and wellbeing.

Discussing treatment for testosterone deficiency with your doctor could help to alleviate some of the symptoms.

Even if low testosterone isn’t the cause of your symptoms, a doctor may still be able to help investigate and help.

What is the treatment for testosterone deficiency?

If you have been diagnosed with testosterone deficiency and find it is affecting your quality of life, you might be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

Before undergoing TRT, you will have an assessment with an endocrinologist – a hormone specialist – to check it is suitable for you.

Most commonly, TRT is administered in a series of injections to top up your testosterone levels.

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