Estimates suggest that nearly 40% of men above the age of 45 suffer from low testosterone. In younger men, hormonal imbalances are often caused by genetic conditions, medications, underlying conditions, and certain lifestyle choices, such as consuming alcohol regularly.
Hormones regulate various bodily processes, including growth and development, body temperature, and circadian rhythm and reproduction. In men, testosterone is known to have a masculinizing effect during developmental years (deeper voice, increased strength, increased muscle mass) and regulate mood and libido later on.
Well-known signs of low testosterone include erectile dysfunction, low libido, infertility, and loss of muscle mass, but these symptoms aren’t the only signs of a hormonal imbalance.
We asked Stephen O’Connell, our expert at Serenity Rejuvenation Center in Bellevue, Washington, to explain what other symptoms low testosterone can elicit, what causes low testosterone, and what treatments are available for men who want to boost their testosterone levels.
Lesser-known symptoms of low testosterone include the following:
Left untreated, low testosterone can also increase the risk of anemia, a condition in which you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to other tissues of the body, interfering with your ability to heal and causing fatigue.
Causes of low testosterone in men include aging, poorly controlled diabetes, chemotherapy drugs, alcoholism, exposure to phytoestrogens, exposure to pesticides, injuries to the testes, opioids, and steroid medications.
Obesity is also known as a risk factor for low testosterone in men. Fat cells convert some testosterone into estrogen.
If you suffer from an underlying condition or are taking medications that impact your testosterone levels, Dr. O’Connell may first address those problems. If addressing an underlying issue isn’t enough to balance out your hormone levels, he may recommend hormone replacement therapy.
Good candidates want to reduce their symptoms and don’t suffer from tumors that are sensitive to testosterone. Also, they don’t have a history of heart failure or a blood clotting disorder.
If you suspect a hormone imbalance could be at the root of your symptoms, contact us to schedule an appointment to get tested.You can call or send us a message online.
Depending on your lifestyle and needs, Dr. O’Connell may administer testosterone via injections, skin patches, gels, or oral medications. Most men see an improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks of starting the treatment.