Understanding the onset of low testosterone symptoms that need medical attention is perhaps the most difficult part of treating low testosterone levels. This is essentially because some degree of fluctuation in testosterone levels is normal in most people. Moreover, most individuals are likely to suffer from a gradual decline of testosterone as they age, i.e. both men and women. However, a severe depletion in testosterone levels can lead to the development of severe low testosterone symptoms.
Thus, people should have a more-than-basic understanding of symptoms induced by severely low testosterone levels. Such symptoms include:
- Extremely early (Precocious) or delayed puberty in boys—though early puberty is often understood as an excess of testosterone, it also indicates a problem in the hormone regulation that is bound to induce low testosterone levels in the near future. This is usually treated through surgical correction.
- An extreme decline in sexual inclination among men and women, i.e. lowered libido in an unusual manner—please note that this is perhaps one of the most difficult symptoms to decode in the niche of low testosterone treatment. Firstly, decrease in libido is commonly attributed to aging or depression or stress. However, if a lowered sexual drive is chronic and sets in during much before the onset of old-age, low testosterone symptoms needing medical treatment are indicated.
- Presence of Hirsutism among girls or women, i.e. the presence of excess body or facial hair—this condition is similar to the unusual puberty features among boys. Here, excess body hair is indicative of high testosterone levels but this also means that the hormone levels are not being properly regulated. Such females are equally likely to suffer from low testosterone symptoms in the near future. Here, medical diagnosis is based upon detailed clinical examination and if issues (such as an underlying pituitary gland disorder is indicated), hormone replacement treatment or even surgery is needed.
People should also understand conditions indicative of disturbingly low testosterone levels that are most likely to be confused with other conditions. Examples of such symptoms include:
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) in men which is often attributed to lifestyle/weight-related disorders, conditions such as obesity and anxiety-related problems. However, ED is often indicative of a severe lack of testosterone. Such men need constant hormone supplementation to alleviate their symptoms.
- People with a history of hypothalamus or pituitary gland disorders should get themselves checked for low testosterone levels since these are the secondary but critical organs responsible for secreting testosterone.
Low Testosterone Levels in Men
Testosterone is the primary sexual hormone in men, produced in the Leydig cells of the testes. It is also produced by the adrenal gland but in trace amounts. The secretion of testosterone undergoes various phases during a man’s lifetime. At the onset of puberty, the testosterone levels rise rapidly. This is primarily responsible for the puberty traits found in teenage boys. Once middle age is attained, testosterone levels begin to decline, up to 1%, each year. During the latter part of life or old age, testosterone levels can decline severely.
Low testosterone is also responsible for many of the old age traits found among the elderly. This is why men suffering from low testosterone are regarded as ‘aging faster’, i.e. low testosterone induces many symptoms that are similar to the aging process. This includes an increasing amount of loose skin due to loss of musculature, rising body fat levels, weaker bones, infertility or impotence of varying degrees and decreased libido.
While low testosterone levels in men during old age are usually not a cause of worry, low testosterone during any other part of a man’s life needs immediate medical attention. Here, the diagnosis is made only after confirming the low testosterone levels, i.e. testing the patient for low testosterone.
Testing for Low Testosterone Levels in Men
Men fearing a long, demanding testing procedure to diagnose their condition can feel relaxed since testing for low testosterone is rather easy. Blood testing is the commonest testing procedure for the initial analysis of testosterone levels. In fact, saliva can also be tested for low testosterone symptoms. Most of the other testing methods are as non-invasive and the results are quite accurate. The testing range for testosterone in men is considered normal when the results indicated a range from 350 to 1230 nanograms, per deciliter.
Understand Clinical/Test Results for Low Testosterone Levels in Men
Please understand that testosterone is present in the human body in two, main forms, i.e. free and bound testosterone. Among these, the free testosterone that forms just about 2% of the total testosterone levels is called Active Testosterone. The rest of the testosterone, i.e. Bound Testosterone, is attached to other compounds like globulin (like SHBG) and complex proteins.
Thus, diagnosis is not made on the basis of total testosterone as it can often appear normal and camouflage the underlying problem, i.e. low levels of free testosterone. Thus, most testing centers offering blood tests for testing testosterone levels mention readings for both, total and free testosterone.
Many times, testosterone testing is combined with FSH and LH tests. This is usually suggested for younger boys and not middle aged men. This is done when decreased or impaired puberty features are indicated. An increased level of FSH and LH suggests the onset of increased secretion of female hormones instead of the normal incidence of increased testosterone secretion that is associated with puberty.