The hormone that gives men their “manly” characteristics, such as a deep voice, facial hair and strength, testosterone also helps to regulate a man’s sex drive and production of red blood cells and sperm. By the time a man reaches his 40s, testosterone production starts to wane; by their 50s men often start to notice physical changes from their declining levels of testosterone. It’s a fact – all men will have less testosterone as they age. Here are some tell-tale symptoms and long-term effects of having low testosterone.
Decreased Libido and/or Erectile Dysfunction
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for a man’s sex drive and ability to perform. Men with low testosterone often have difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. As their testosterone drops, so too might their libido.
Low testosterone may lead to increased weight gain; men may also develop gynecomastia – enlarged breast tissue – which is the result of an imbalance between a man’s testosterone and estrogen levels.
Men diagnosed with low testosterone have an increased likelihood of cardiac problems, particularly the risk of heart attack after age 50. Cardiac concerns may not be directly linked to low testosterone, but rather, other symptoms that affect the heart, such as weight gain, lack of exercise and fatigue.
Because testosterone is the hormone responsible for hair growth, decreasing levels of testosterone often result in thinning of hair on the scalp as well as hair loss on the body.
Sleeping later, dozing off and lacking the motivation to exercise may not only be due to a demanding schedule, but also low testosterone.
Depression and Mood Swings
A decrease in testosterone can result in mood swings, irritability and lack of focus. While these symptoms are considered psychological, there is an emotional aspect as well, as the realization that one is getting older and experiencing a decline in certain physical attributes and functions becomes evident.
Decreased Body Mass
No matter how much time they spend in the gym, men with low testosterone levels may notice they are starting to lose muscle mass as they age.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to pain and injury. In men with low testosterone, chronic inflammation is exacerbated.
Decreased Bone Density
Testosterone helps in the production of bone mass and also keeps the bones strong. As testosterone levels decline, bone mass decreases, making a man more vulnerable to bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Treating Low Testosterone
Under the supervision of a highly skilled urologist, low testosterone is a relatively simple condition to treat. If your urologist recommends testosterone replacement therapy, there are several options to consider. Your urologist will assess your overall health and will offer to work in partnership with your medical specialists to ensure your treatment addresses all your symptoms. Your urologist may also recommend certain lifestyle changes, like re-evaluating your diet and exercise regime and reducing stress.
If you live in the greater Charlotte area and suspect you may be suffering from low testosterone or haven’t seen a urologist in a while, you’re in luck. Dr. Richard Natale at Carolina Urology offers state-of-the-art diagnostic services and treatments for men’s health issues – from erectile dysfunctionand low testosterone to vasectomies. If it’s been a while since you have visited the urologist, or you have specific concerns you need addressed, call Carolina Urology today at (704) 786-5131 or request an appointment online.