Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Symptoms of low testosterone in men are several. They include reduced sex drive, difficulty with erection, decreased body and facial hair, loss of muscle mass, chronic fatigue, and increased belly girth. Women have similar symptoms, such as decreased sex drive, hair loss on their heads, generalized fatigue, hot flashes, loss of muscle tone, and weight gain throughout the body.
Reduced Sex Drive
Reduced sex drive describes the decrease in the desire to have sexual encounters with your spouse or significant other. This concern can result in relationship problems because your intimate partner may feel that you are not being attentive to their needs. Sex drive is controlled by both physiological as well as mental factors. Undoubtedly, testosterone, the most crucial androgen hormone, affects your sex drive immensely. Low testosterone’s most common symptom is a reduced interest in sex. In some men, the effects of testosterone extend to more physical symptoms such as erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction describes the inability to have your male organ, the penis, become erect to engage in sexual activity. The inability to become erect results from poor engorgement of blood into the arteries and veins that traverse the penile shaft. The cause of erectile dysfunction are numerous and may include vascular disease, such as arteriosclerosis, where the arteries and veins become hardened and difficult to expand. However, erectile dysfunction is poorly understood as it also has a solid connection to psychological factors. Interestingly, the strong connection between low testosterone and low sex drive and erection difficulties is poorly understood. Regardless, normal levels of testosterone are associated with helping men with their erections.
Male Pattern Balding Versus The Loss of Body and Facial Hair
Male pattern balding and loss of body and facial hair have been due to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) metabolizing testosterone following exposure to 5-alpha reductase. It can also be made from DHEA, a hormone more common in women. DHT is concentrated in the skin, hair follicles, and the prostate because this is where the five alpha reductase hormone is found. The actions of DHT and the hair follicles’ sensitivity to DHT cause hair loss on the scalp. Testosterone-related hair loss affects 80% of men and 50% of women’s lifetime. Hair follicles are sensitive to DHT, but their reaction has been variable.
For example, while scalp hair experiences losses, the body, and facial hair demonstrate growth with high testosterone levels! Regardless, the alpha-reductase connection has been established with the intervention of Finasteride or branded Propecia. This alpha-reductase inhibitor has become the gold standard in promoting scalp hair growth.
Loss of Lean Muscle Mass
A decrease in muscle mass is a well-recognized result of aging in men and women. This loss in muscle mass directly correlates with reducing testosterone levels which promotes muscle growth. Muscle growth occurs following testosterone activation of protein synthesis, which is responsible for the growth of muscle tissue. Therefore, you must consider increasing low testosterone levels if you desire to maintain or augment your muscle mass. Dietary and lifestyle modifications that can increase testosterone include getting more sleep, eating a well-balanced diet with sufficient vitamins and supplements, losing weight, staying active with routine exercise regimens, reducing your stress, avoiding drugs and alcohol intake, and reviewing prescribed medications with your doctor that may be directly affecting your testosterone levels.
Feeling Very Tired All the Time (Fatigue)
Low testosterone has been associated with feeling tired. There are several reasons why low testosterone makes you tired. First, low testosterone will affect the quality of your sleep. Lack of sleep will intuitively make you feel more tired since you feel groggy and unfocused. Second, low testosterone will make you gain belly fat and lose muscle mass. Both of these physiological consequences will make you sluggish.
Obesity (Being Overweight)
Obesity or becoming overweight is caused by low testosterone. Low testosterone directly increases the fat in the gut, also referred to as visceral fat. This fat is most susceptible to the adverse effects of low testosterone. For men, this means excessive belly fat growth that increases your abdominal circumference, lower back, and flanks, termed love handles. Sometimes this type of weight gain is often portrayed as a “pot belly.” In women, weight gain is more generalized and spans not only the abdomen but also the upper, middle, and lower back, flanks, and even the legs along the medial and lateral thighs. Long-term testosterone replacement therapy most often results in weight loss that is focused on losing fat weight. Interestingly, immediate gains in increased muscle weight due to engorgement with water can infrequently confuse clients who may observe short-term weight gain, but this paradoxical weight gain is temporary.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone Conclusion
In summary, low testosterone levels will affect both physical and psychological symptoms, as discussed above. Testosterone replacement therapy is an effective means of countering the undesirable effects of both the psychological and physical symptoms discussed above.