Nicholas Khan

March 7, 2022 in Testosterone

low testosterone causes

Having low testosterone (hypogonadism) is not widely discussed compared to other medical problems. Although 4 to 5 million men suffer from low testosterone levels, it is kept under wraps. Testosterone levels can begin to decrease after hitting 30 years old, however, younger men, teenagers, and even babies can suffer from low testosterone.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a natural hormone that is predominant in males, although women’s bodies also make the hormone. Testosterone is primarily responsible for various male characteristics, while it affects the functions of a woman’s ovaries and bone strength. 

Testosterone plays a big role in a man’s sex drive. The production constantly increases until puberty and declines after 30 years old.

The hormone controls the following:
  • Sperm production
  • Development of the penis and testes
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Facial hair
  • Muscle mass and strength
  • Bone health
  • Mood

Testosterone is a complex hormone with negative effects when it goes lower than the average level.

What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?

As men age, testosterone levels gradually decrease by about 1% to 2% each year. Normal testosterone levels are usually 300 to 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). More than a third of men over 45 have low levels of testosterone but do not realize it.

Symptoms of low testosterone are:
  • Low libido
  • Loss of body hair
  • Changes in mood
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight gain
  • Irritability, poor concentration, and depression
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Loss of muscle mass and bone

What Are the Causes Behind Low Testosterone?

There are numerous causes of low testosterone. According to experts, stress can contribute to overall dysfunction, and low T levels are commonly seen in men with poor sleep schedules and apnea (problems in breathing during sleep). 

The causes are broken into two types; primary hypogonadism, which is caused by a problem in the testicles, which affects testosterone production, and secondary hypogonadism is caused by a problem in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
Primary hypogonadism causes include:
  • Injury to the testicles- Testicular cancer, heavy trauma, or radiation to treat cancer.
  • Klinefelter syndrome- Usually, males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, determining gender. However, the Klinefelter syndrome has two or more X chromosomes, leading to undeveloped testicles.
  • Undescended testicles- In certain men, their testicles do not descend prior to birth. If they don’t descend, it can cause low testosterone levels.
  • Hemochromatosis- This is when there is too much iron in the blood, which can cause testicular failure or pituitary gland problems, affecting testosterone levels.
Secondary hypogonadism causes include:
  • Aging- Older men have low testosterone levels because their production decreases over time.
  • Type 2 diabetes- This affects your pituitary gland and can affect the risk of having low testosterone.
  • Pituitary disorders- A problem in the pituitary gland can disrupt the release of certain hormones to the testicles, affecting testosterone production. A tumor on or near the pituitary gland can also cause low T.
  • Medications- Medications such as opiate medications and hormone therapies can also affect testosterone production.

How To Increase Testosterone Levels?

Most men with low testosterone levels opt for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is available in several forms, which all can improve testosterone.

The forms include:
  • Skin patches (transdermal)
  • Gels
  • Mouth patch
  • Implants (as pellets in the soft tissue) or injections (in the muscle)
Men can also increase their testosterone naturally by doing the following:
  1. 1
    Eat a high-fat diet- Healthy fats from foods such as beef and avocado can help your body produce higher levels of testosterone.
  2. 2
    Have a proper sleep routine- A study showed that a lack of sleep could cause a decline in testosterone. You should aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day.
  3. 3
    Reduce stress- Stress increases the hormone cortisol, which controls immune response and metabolism. Too much cortisol negatively affects testosterone. You can reduce stress by staying active, having a hobby, and reducing smoking and drinking.
  4. 4
    Supplements- Vitamin D can help with rectifying low T levels. DHEA, magnesium, or zinc can also help with increasing testosterone. Creatine is also known for its small but effective function in increasing testosterone.

Can Low Testosterone Be Prevented?

There are no known ways to prevent hypogonadism that is caused by injury to the testes or pituitary gland or genetic conditions. However, if you practice good nutrition, staying active, and weight management, you can maintain healthy levels of testosterone.

About the author 

Nicholas Khan

I am a certified fitness instructor and I write about supplements and testosterone products. I have been in the industry for over 10 years, and during that time, I have gained a lot of experience with different types of supplements. In my blog, I will discuss which ones work best for boosting testosterone levels and improving overall health.

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