As men age, it’s common for testosterone deficiencies to appear that affect their mood, energy and performance. While it’s well known how testosterone functions in fertility, it also affects all the organ systems, such as the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. When left untreated, low testosterone levels can lead to erectile dysfunction, depression, obesity and diabetes. Luckily, testosterone deficiencies are easily diagnosed through blood tests and can be treated with testosterone replacements. Find out how else testosterone deficiencies affect the body and what you can do to treat them with this guide!
Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiencies
Testosterone in males is an important part of their reproductive system and participates in all other functions of the body, such as the heart, brain, kidneys and bones. However, some men suffer from testosterone deficiencies, which affect their fertility, energy levels and physical characteristics, like muscle mass. Testosterone deficiencies are also called hypogonadism, in which a man’s body does not produce enough testosterone, which is the primary male hormone. Some common symptoms of testosterone deficiencies (TD) include:
- Depressed mood
- Loss of sex drive or libido
- Decreased facial and body hair
- Reduced erectile function
- Loss of muscle mass
These are specific signs that directly correlate to testosterone deficiencies, but there are other symptoms of TD that aren’t so obvious, such as poor memory and/or focus, reduced physical strength and poor work performance. Testosterone deficiencies typically affect older men than they do younger men, but anyone can be affected by it. Just because you may have one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean that you are suffering from a testosterone deficiency, but if you begin noticing fatigue, low sexual desire or erectile dysfunction, it is a good idea to meet with a professional to identify where your symptoms are stemming from and begin treatment.
Causes and Risk Factors
Aging is an important factor in the development of testosterone deficiencies. About 2% of adult men (2 out of 100) have some kind of deficiency, while it’s reported that nearly 50% of men over 80 have TD. Age isn’t the most common reason behind testosterone deficiencies, though. Impaired testicular function, or testicular failure, deals with a decreased amount of hormone in the testes, which can be caused by trauma, infection, reduced blood flow, substance abuse and medications. Obesity can increase your likelihood of TD, while metabolic syndromes like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can affect the body’s testosterone production, as well. Specific medical conditions, like Klinefelter Syndrome or pituitary gland disease, can change how the body creates and distributes testosterone in the body, leading to deficiencies. Make sure to get yourself tested if you are experiencing some of the following health conditions:
- Prostate cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
Damage to the testicles or their removal thereof will decrease testosterone production, but chemotherapy and radiation treatments can also irreparably damage testosterone levels in the body, as well. Other medical conditions, such as the ones mentioned previously, are precursors to testosterone deficiencies, so it’s important that you are tested early on to prevent TD from occurring. Although there are numerous factors that influence testosterone deficiencies and levels in the body, deficiencies are quite easy to diagnose and treat. Once treatment begins, you will be amazed at how quickly you begin to feel better.
How To Treat It
Testosterone deficiencies can be identified and diagnosed by simple blood tests that evaluate your testosterone, thyroid and Vitamin D levels, plus a prostate exam with a metabolic evaluation might be completed to identify other issues that might be occurring. Once diagnosed, most patients will receive testosterone replacement therapy to raise the body’s testosterone levels. Replacement therapy can be administered through patches, gels, injections or pellets. Patches give off a certain amount of testosterone each day but must be replaced daily; gels work basically the same as patches and need to be applied every day; injections, called intramuscular testosterone supplementation, are given once every four weeks; and testosterone pellets are implanted underneath the skin, introducing testosterone into the system for 4-6 months. Once you start testosterone replacement therapy, however, it is a life-long commitment; the supplementation itself causes the body to stop producing natural testosterone and it can raise red blood cell mass. Make sure to discuss all of your options with your doctor before beginning any treatment, that way you know what to expect and you can be comfortable with your treatment plan.
Get Tested Today!
If you’re feeling any of the previously discussed symptoms of testosterone deficiency, call Balanced Well-Being Healthcare at (970) 631-8286 to schedule a consultation. Our experienced team is dedicated to your physical, emotional and mental well-being, and will be with you every step of the way during your journey to wellness. Call today to get tested and change your life!