It is true that as men age, their ability for testosterone production declines. The decrease in production is frequently referred to as andropause or “male menopause.” When testosterone levels decrease below the normal range, men experience many of the following common symptoms:
- Low sex drive
- Increased irritability or depression
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Inability to concentration
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Decreased bone density; osteoporosis
In addition to low testosterone caused by aging, there are some medical conditions that can cause lowered testosterone levels. These medical conditions can begin in childhood or early adulthood, and can affect a man’s testosterone levels throughout his life. Some of these ailments are associated with the pituitary gland and hypothalamus (the portion of the brain that controls many of the glands of the body), or the testicles. Sometimes, the problem can be hereditary. In young men, low testosterone production may reduce the development of masculine characteristics, such as muscle mass and the genitals may not develop normally, and young men’s voices may never deepen.
If you experience any of the symptoms of low testosterone level, you should talk with your doctor about getting your testosterone level checked. Checking testosterone levels is nothing more than a simple blood test. If it is determined that you do have low testosterone, you may ask your doctor for a referral to a urologist or an endocrinologist, physicians that specialize in treating conditions like low testosterone.
You may wish to add testosterone screening to the list of other screenings that you have as part of your regular checkups. If you suffer from low testosterone level, this is a condition that is very easy to treat. There are currently several FDA- approved treatments for low testosterone, also called testosterone replacement therapy:
- Clear gel that you rub on your arm every morning
- Oral tablets
You should talk with your physician about which treatment option would be most suitable for you.