There's a fantastic reason guys go girl-crazy in their teens and straight from the source twenties: Their read this testosterone levels are at their my latest blog post peak. From that point, though, testosterone levels slowly decrease.
"After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone," says David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Though testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause), low testosterone levels men to experience symptoms like fatigue, low sex drive, and reduction of muscle mass.
While low testosterone is more common in older men, it can occur in younger men as well. Luckily, every one of the causes of low testosterone in young guys are treatable, so if you experience these symptoms at any given age, there is no reason to dismiss it.
For younger guys, a fall in testosterone levels may be caused by some illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disorder, or adrenal gland problems, according to Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in males include the ailments Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disease which could result in low testosterone is hemochromatosis, which makes the body store too much iron.
"Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone," states Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and reproductive medicine in the Smith Institute for Urology of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Other causes of low testosterone in males younger than 50 contain adrenal gland tumors, HIV disease, and radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as secondary or primary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi states.
Is It Low Testosterone?
Regardless of the cause, low testosterone symptoms would be the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity, and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert states.
If you suspect low testosterone, the first step is to see your primary care physician.
If your blood test reveals low testosterone (usually defined as a level lower than 300 ng/dL), the doctor may treat you or refer you to a specialist, such as an urologist or endocrinologist.
Not everyone with low testosterone needs treatment. "When it comes to treating low testosterone in older men, we generally reserve treatment for those who have symptoms, such as tiredness and reduced libido," Gilbert says.
In these circumstances,"treatments are often used just in the brief term, and if a physician has close monitoring and understanding of the individual," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You do not want to offer supplemental testosterone to guys who are interested in being fertile since it can turn off sperm production," Gilbert says.
Once a young man goes off testosterone supplementation, there's a chance his sperm count will never return to what it was before he started. "Therefore, men of reproductive age should consider alternatives which may increase their testosterone in addition to preserve their semen production," he says. One such alternative is a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other treatments for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle modifications, like eating healthier and raising exercise.
The main point, though, is that in the event that you have low testosterone symptoms, then it's important to see your doctor. Then, your doctor can rule out more significant causes of your symptoms, such as hypertension or a thyroid problem, and give treatment that can improve your energy and high quality of life.