Low T, or low testosterone, refers to the reduced levels of the male hormone, testosterone, in the body. This condition is becoming increasingly common among males.
Testosterone contributes to:
- Bone density
- Distribution of fat
- Strength of muscles
- Red blood cell production
- Sexual characteristics
- Production of sperms
The normal level of testosterone in males is 270-1070 ng/dL. This amount may drop naturally due to old age.
Causes for low levels of testosterone:
- Hypogonadism – Low hormone levels are caused by the impaired function of the organs or due to their inability to respond to the messages from the nervous system.
- Problems in pituitary – In this condition, adequate stimulation for the production of testosterone is lacking from the pituitary glands.
- Issues in hypothalamus – Here the hypothalamus fails to stimulate the testicles for the production of the hormone.
Some of the common causes for the low production of testosterone by the gonads include the following:
- Scrotum injury
- Chromosomal abnormalities
Symptoms of low testosterone depend on the levels of the hormone in the body.
Symptoms of low testosterone levels:
- Lack of muscle mass
- Enlarged breasts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Poor growth of body hair
- Poor growth of sexual organs
- Decreased bone density
Most males seek medical attention when there is a decline in libido and when he has erectile dysfunction. As most of the symptoms are not very specific, physical examination and blood tests may be recommended to diagnose the condition. Further tests may be ordered to determine the actual cause of the decline in the levels.
Treatment of the condition will be based on the root cause of low testosterone levels. Decreasing levels of the hormone may be supplemented by hormone replacement therapy. This can be done through biweekly, intramuscular injections, hormone patches, or gels. Patches and gels are usually applied directly to the skin while putty is applied to the gums. Treatment for this condition should be decided after considering the risks and benefits of each plan. The clinical situation has to be considered in detail before starting a particular treatment plan. The best way to decide on the ideal treatment is to have a detailed discussion between the patient and the doctor.