Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Both men and women produce testosterone, but men produce much more than women. Testosterone is responsible for hair growth, increased muscle mass and increased metabolism. More importantly, testosterone is at the root of sex drive and that male physique that sets men apart from women.
Testosterone levels peak around age 30. After 30, levels gradually lessen. With improved medical testing and lessened stigma regarding male aging, more and more men are being diagnosed with low testosterone each year. There are medical treatments for male testosterone which do not include herbal remedies.
When Do Symptoms of Low Testosterone First Present?
Different men experience symptoms from low testosterone at different times in life. Some men report decreased sex drive around age 40 and others maintain a healthy, strong sex drive well into their 60s and 70s. Low testosterone is a problem for some men, but it is not a problem for all men. Symptoms of low testosterone may include reduced sex drive, reduced muscle tone, reduced energy and overall fatigue, but these same symptoms can be attributed to other health conditions.
How is Low Testosterone Diagnosed?
All it takes is a simple blood test to measure testosterone levels. The results of the blood test can be compared to optimal testosterone levels around age 30 giving the doctor a better idea of just how low your testosterone levels really are. Other health conditions will likely be ruled out as the cause of your symptoms before testosterone treatments are started – as men can live with low testosterone, but other medical conditions causing the same symptoms can be life-threatening.
Treating Low Testosterone
Many men with low testosterone want to be placed on testosterone treatment immediately to alleviate the symptoms, though not all men will get medical treatment. Obesity and type 2 diabetes can cause low testosterone scores on blood tests, so these conditions are more likely to be treated before men are given medication to raise testosterone. Weight loss and diet control can dramatically improve symptoms associated with low testosterone if obesity and diabetes are the culprit.
If medical tests show no underlying problems, men may be prescribed testosterone replacement therapy to ease symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone injections are typically reserved for men in their reproductive years, when low testosterone can cause infertility. Aging men are often prescribed gels or patches to increase testosterone and relieve symptoms. A new treatment using testosterone pellets implanted under the skin of the buttocks is also available for some men.