Most men associate testosterone with sex drive and erectile dysfunction alone, but this male hormone plays a more significant role in your overall health. And when you don’t have enough, you can develop specific signs of testosterone deficiency.
Santa Monica urologist Mark J. Kelly, MD, and our medical staff can identify the signs of low testosterone and help restore balance to your hormones. Find out how healthy testosterone levels can improve your health and revitalize your body.
Testosterone controls sexual development and reproduction. As you go through puberty, this male sex hormone triggers specific physical changes, including:
- Facial and body hair growth
- Maturing sex organs and the production of sperm
- Deepening voice
In addition to your sexual development, testosterone plays a role in your bone and muscle growth and blood cell production, while also regulating your mood and energy levels.
Men of all ages can have low testosterone levels — also known as low T — including 30% of overweight men and 24.5% of those with diabetes. But low testosterone starts becoming more common by the time you reach 30. That’s typically when your body begins making less of this hormone. Age-related changes in testosterone are called andropause, sometimes referred to as male menopause.
In most cases, declining levels of testosterone start causing a variety of symptoms when you’re 40-60 years old.
Recognizing the signs of low testosterone
When your body starts producing less testosterone, it’s common to notice a lower sex drive and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. But low testosterone can cause additional issues that include:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss, both on your body and face
- Lack of energy and endurance
- Loss of muscle mass and bone density
- Problems falling and staying asleep
- Emotional changes, like irritability and depression
- Memory issues and difficulty focusing
When you have less than 300 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter (ng/dL) or symptoms affecting your quality of life, Dr. Kelly might recommend hormone therapy.
Treating low testosterone
The good news is that Dr. Kelly can easily diagnose low testosterone by performing a simple blood test. Based on your results, he might recommend testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
TRT treatment comes in different forms, including patches, gels, or injections. As TRT brings your hormone levels back into balance, you can expect to see several changes affecting your sex drive, mood, and energy level. TRT can also help with physical changes, like helping you lose weight and rebuild lean muscle mass.
In addition to TRT, Dr. Kelly recommends making lifestyle modifications that support healthy hormone levels. These changes include exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, and getting enough quality sleep.
To see if low testosterone is affecting your health and well-being, call us at the office of Mark J. Kelly, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.