Low Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone that is produced by the human body. It is mainly produced in the testicles in men. It stimulates sperm production and a man’s sex drive and also helps build muscle and bone mass.

Testosterone production typically decreases as men age. Men can experience a range of symptoms if it decreases more than it should. Low T is diagnosed when levels fall below a normal range (300- 1000 ng/dL, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration). A blood test (called serum testosterone level) is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone.

Symptoms

People may experience:

  • Sexual: reduced sex drive, sexual dysfunction, or erectile dysfunction
  • Whole body: fatigue or hot flashes
  • Muscular: muscle weakness or loss of muscle
  • Also common: absence of menstruation, delayed puberty, depression, infertility, irritability, mood swings, pot belly, or weight gain

Treatment consists of hormones

Treatments may include hormone replacement therapy and assisted reproduction.

Low T:

If you have signs and symptoms of low testosterone that bother you, there are many choices for raising the levels. Not everyone chooses treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can be given using:

  • Skin gel
  • Shots
  • Long-acting pellets
  • Patches
  • Pills

The most common type is skin gel, which is used by about 70 out of 100 patients. The gel is rubbed onto your shoulders or upper arms after a shower. About 17 out of 100 patients use shots and 10 out of 100 use patches. About 3 out 100 patients use testosterone in other forms, such as patches or pellets placed in the body. At this time, pills are not approved for use in the U.S.

You should not take testosterone for non-medical reasons, such as body building, preventing aging changes or performance enhancement. Men should not take TRT if they have normal testosterone levels or if their testosterone levels have not been tested. If you have normal testosterone levels, using TRT will not help your health problems. Also, if you are trying to father a child, you should not be on TRT. TRT can decrease your sperm count and fertility.

Before you take TRT, a doctor who is skilled in diagnosing low-T should examine you carefully. Your doctor should not prescribe TRT without taking an in-depth health history and giving you a physical exam and blood tests. Many of the symptoms for low-T can be the result of other health problems. Other causes of symptoms need to be ruled out before testosterone is prescribed.

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