Doctor Counseling Male Patient

As men get older, their levels of testosterone, the male hormone, tend to decline. Low testosterone, also called hypogonadism, can cause you to feel tired and weak and can also lower your sex drive. Thankfully, it’s often treatable.

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The Importance of Testosterone

MedlinePlus explains that testosterone is essential to:

  • Regulate hair growth and fat location on the body
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Produce sperm
  • Maintain sex drive and erections
  • Boost energy and mood
  • Develop male physical traits

Causes of Low Testosterone

It’s normal for your testosterone levels to decrease as you age, but the following are also risk factors for low testosterone:

  • Injury to the testicles
  • Surgery or radiation treatment in the groin area
  • Problems with thyroid function
  • Certain medicines
  • Chronic health conditions, such as kidney or liver disease
  • Obesity
  • Issues with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus

How to Treat Low Testosterone

If you have low testosterone, you may experience a lower sex drive, problems with erections, loss of strength, insomnia, sleep apnea, and/or depression. It’s also possible to have no symptoms.

Your doctor can conduct tests to confirm whether you have low testosterone and to determine the cause. The most common treatment is testosterone replacement therapy, a medicine that contains artificial testosterone and is delivered through a patch, injection, gel, or implant. Depending on the cause, however, in very specific conditions your doctor may instead prescribe medicine in pill form that promotes testosterone production.

Side effects of testosterone replacement may include trouble urinating, acne, infertility, increasing the numbers of red blood cells, enlarging your prostate, and sore or enlarged breasts. Experts aren’t sure whether testosterone replacement lowers or increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.

To learn more about how to treat low testosterone, visit the UPMC Men’s Health Center or call 1-877-641-4636(4MEN) to make an appointment with an expert.

Sources

MedlinePlus, Could you have low testosterone? https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000722.htm

UPMC, Low Testosterone, https://www.upmc.com/health-library/article?hwid=abo6506&locale=en-us

About Urology

The UPMC Department of Urology treats all manners of conditions involving the urinary tract and male reproductive organs. We treat those disorders both in children and adults. We have a multifaceted team of physicians and researchers working together to provide the best care. We provide cutting-edge treatments, and we continue to lead research into even better methods for diagnosis and treatment. U.S. News & World Report ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as among the best hospitals in the country for urological care.