You know testosterone — it’s the hormone that makes men male. It makes your voice deeper, gives you body hair during puberty, and it’s what makes sperm in your testicles. These are important during the development of boys to men and for reproductive health throughout the adult years, but you don’t need it as much when you get older.
As you age, your body gradually produces less testosterone. In fact, 20% of men over 60 have low testosterone, and 30% of men over 70 are depleted. But what constitutes low testosterone (low T), and what, if anything, should be done about it?
At Optimized Wellness in Centennial, Colorado, Jordan Bernard, ARNP, specializes in hormone optimization. She helps countless men seeking answers about testosterone and available treatments. If you’re wondering if you are lacking a bit of this male hormone, here are some common symptoms that may point to low T.
A word about low T
Although the symptoms we’re about to discuss are good indicators that you may have low T, you won’t know for sure until you have a blood test. Jordan Bernard is a board-certified family nurse practitioner with years of experience treating hormone deficiencies. She takes a blood sample and runs a testosterone serum test that determines the amount of testosterone you have in your system.
Ideally, you have between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). This is the typical amount we find in a healthy male between puberty and age 45. If your testosterone dips below 300 ng/dl, you’re considered to have low T. Once this happens, you’ll see the signs.
Symptoms of low T
While the following symptoms are commonly linked to low T, they may also point to other causes and conditions, so don’t assume that you have low testosterone just because you experience a few of these signs. Instead, consider it a prompt to have your testosterone checked by Jordan Bernard.
Loss of interest in sex
This tops our list because it’s often the first thing men notice. Testosterone is responsible for your libido (sex drive), so if you don’t have enough, you may notice a dip in your drive.
Can’t get or keep an erection
Erectile dysfunction can be attributed to many things, including depression, stress, anxiety, and physical illnesses, but low T is one of the main culprits. Testosterone doesn’t give you an erection, but it does trigger a chain reaction of chemicals that starts in your brain and makes the event possible.
Remember when you started getting body and facial hair during puberty? That was thanks to testosterone. When that hormone wanes, so does your hair growth.
Less muscle, more fat, weaker bones
Testosterone helps build muscle mass in men; not necessarily function or strength, but mass. You may notice your biceps have shrunk a bit if you have low T.
You also may notice that you’re gaining a few pounds. In some men, this happens particularly in the breast tissue, causing a condition called gynecomastia.
Finally, just as decreased estrogen in women during menopause may lead to osteoporosis (loss of bone density), low T can do the same to men.
Lower semen count
When you ejaculate, the milky white substance called semen is what carries your sperm. If you have low T, you may be making less sperm than you need, which could affect fertility.
Memory and mood changes
Low T, along with aging, has been shown to affect memory and cognitive acuity, as well as mental health. Many men with decreased testosterone tend to show signs of irritability, depression, and foggy brain.
Testosterone plays a key role in the development of your penis and testicles, so it stands to reason that if you don’t have enough of the hormone, you might have smaller genitalia.
What to do if you have symptoms of low T
While the symptoms we just listed may or may not mean you have low T, it’s worth coming in to see Jordan Bernard and finding out. Because if low T is responsible for the changes in your physical and mental health, the solution is as easy as replacing the hormone you’ve lost.
We use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy because the chemical makeup is exactly like what your body naturally produces, so there are few if any complications. We insert a small, rice-sized pellet under your skin where it releases a prescribed amount of testosterone — no pills, no injections.
If you’re noticing a few signs that might point to low T, call us or book an appointment online today.