Testosterone is a vital hormone for both men and women, impacting many different systems in the body. While it is known as the male sex hormone, it has many more functions than just the reproductive aspects. Testosterone levels in men are at their peak in the late teens and twenties, but they do naturally drop off as men get older. For some men, the drop in testosterone is dramatic, resulting in a condition known as “Low T.” There are possible causes of this condition, and treatments that can restore normal testosterone levels.
Table of Contents
What Are the Effects of Testosterone?
All genders make testosterone in the body – males create testosterone mainly in the testes, while women produce the hormone in the ovaries. All genders produce a small amount of testosterone in the adrenal glands. Women produce a fraction of the amount of testosterone as men, about one-tenth to one-twentieth of normal male production.
In men, testosterone is responsible for the creation of sex organs before birth. It is also vital for the development of male characteristics at puberty. Puberty occurs when testosterone levels begin to rise, leading to many changes that transition boys into men. These include growing facial and body hair, deepening voices, increased sex drive, and an increase in testes/penis size.
Beyond the male sex characteristics, testosterone is very important in metabolism, muscle strength/growth, red cell production, and fat distribution. When testosterone levels are at their peak, men may enjoy higher metabolism, lower body fat, increased strength, and higher energy levels, along with a healthy libido. When the production of testosterone slows, it can diminish these benefits.
Causes of Lower T Levels
Age is the number one factor in lowering the production of testosterone. At around age 30, most men begin the slow decline in the production of testosterone. This is very normal, and it is to be expected. Most men will begin producing about 1% less of this hormone each year, a gradual change that does not have a severe impact on energy, weight, or libido. However, some men may suddenly have a significant drop in testosterone that is not related to the normal aging process. Even men in their twenties or thirties can experience low T, although it is much more common in men over 40.
Low T is diagnosed by both testing and symptoms. Blood tests can show testosterone levels, but these can differ greatly between individuals. Tests showing low hormone levels combined with symptoms are usually used to determine if treatment for low T should be considered. It is important to note that testosterone levels change constantly, even throughout the day, so testing alone is not enough to determine whether a person is experiencing low T.
Causes of reduced testosterone production include many different health and lifestyle factors. Some may be controllable, while others may be linked to genetics or health conditions. The possible causes of lower testosterone production beyond normal decline with aging include:
- Lack of sleep
- High blood pressure
- Lack of exercise
- High salt diets
- Chronic conditions like sleep apnea, kidney disease, and diabetes
- Excess alcohol or tobacco use
- Certain medications or recreational drugs
An unhealthy lifestyle can cause low testosterone levels. It can be a vicious cycle – low T can affect metabolism and health, but poor health and obesity can result in low T. However, even men who live a healthy lifestyle can suffer from low T and have the negative side effects impact their quality of life.
Andropause: Male Menopause
Women go through hormonal changes at menopause, which is a quick drop in estrogen. While it does not happen as quickly for men, they also have a change in hormones. Andropause is the male equivalent to female menopause. They do differ in how they affect the body but some of the effects are similar, such as mood changes, drop in energy levels, and lowered sex drive.
Andropause is another term for low testosterone. Specifically, it can refer to low free testosterone, and it is common among men over 40. Just like not all women have severe menopausal symptoms, not all men experience low T or andropause symptoms. But both menopause and andropause symptoms can be lessened with the right hormone therapies.
Symptoms of Low T
All the benefits of peak testosterone levels are affected when there is a sudden drop in the production of the main male sex hormone. This can be dramatic for some men, much different than the slow decline that is expected with age. Men with low T will generally have several symptoms that can indicate this condition, which may include:
- Lower libido (sex drive)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced energy or fatigue
- Loss of strength or muscle mass
- Increased fat storage
- Loss of hair
- Mood swings, depression, or anxiety
- Decreased testicle size
- Increased breast size
Not only are there changes to the body appearance and moods, but low T can have negative health impacts. Low T has been linked to heart disease and osteoporosis. For men with low T, treatment can improve not only their energy, sex life, and appearance, but it can help decrease the risk of serious health conditions.
Hormone Therapy for Low T
One of the treatments we offer at Arcadia Wellness Center is hormone therapy for men with Low T. Our medical director, Sarah Quinn, is a nurse practitioner that specializes in hormone therapy. Sarah performs a thorough exam with each patient, discussing symptoms and health-related concerns. Patients with symptoms of low T receive lab testing and a consultation to discuss their results. If low T is diagnosed, a hormone therapy regimen may be prescribed, which can have incredible impacts on men with low T. Some of the benefits of low T hormone therapy can include:
- Improved libido and sexual performance
- Weight/fat loss
- Improved muscle strength or lean muscle mass
- Reversal of erectile dysfunction
- Increased energy
- Decreased risk for health conditions associated with low T
Our testosterone injections can quickly return testosterone levels to their normal capacity. Some of our patients notice an almost immediate difference in how they feel after their first treatment. Unlike some medical centers that require weekly or monthly visits for hormone therapy, we only need to see our patients every few months. We understand that life is hectic enough without adding weekly trips to our office for your hormone therapy treatments.
Hormones play a significant role in your health and wellbeing. Understanding the causes of lower testosterone can help you make lifestyle changes to help improve your normal production – eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep each night can enhance your natural hormone production, but it is not always enough. For some men with low T, hormone therapy can help them get back on track and enjoy the personal health benefits of hormone balance.
Testosterone Injections in Phoenix
If you have symptoms of low T, it may be time to consider hormone therapy. The first step is making an appointment to come to see us at Arcadia Wellness Center for an evaluation. We can schedule your appointment at our medical clinic in Phoenix, AZ to undergo your exam and possible hormone testing. If you are diagnosed with low testosterone levels, we can discuss your treatment options, including testosterone injections. Call our office today to book your appointment to learn more about hormone therapy for men with low T.