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
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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
- 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.
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 Men’s Health Center
The UPMC Men’s Health Center is dedicated to male health and to the evaluation and treatment of conditions affecting men’s sexual and reproductive health. With years of clinical experience in male sexual medicine and surgery, our team has treated a wide variety of conditions and performed thousands of surgeries, providing patients with the highest level of quality care. Our providers understand the intimate nature of male sexual difficulties, and we are dedicated to helping you restore your normal level of sexual function in a comfortable, educational, and discreet environment.