As a man ages, testosterone levels reduce. The decline is steady at less than 2% a year from around the age of 30 to 40, and this is unlikely to cause any problems in itself. This has been somewhat misleadingly described as the ‘Andropause’ although in contrast to the menopause, there is no sudden cessation of hormones. Testosterone deficiency that develops later in life, also known as late-onset hypogonadism, can sometimes be responsible for symptoms of loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, low mood and other physical and emotional symptoms.
If you experience low testosterone levels, you may notice the following signs and symptoms:
Some men may experience more serious symptoms, especially the longer their testosterone levels remain low.
Severe low levels may lead to signs and symptoms including:
In severe cases, men experience extreme mood disturbances, low libido, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat and significant muscle loss.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can reflect other health issues, including:
Your doctor will:
While that information often points to the diagnosis of low testosterone, the most common way to confirm that you have the condition is by a blood test that evaluates the level of testosterone in your blood.
The most common treatment is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Your doctor will typically only prescribe TRT if you have several symptoms and blood test results that indicate a deficiency.
Most patients will notice relief from symptoms within 4–6 weeks of starting TRT. There are several delivery methods of TRT, including:
Weight loss and exercise can often increase testosterone levels naturally. While changes to the lifestyle and diet alone may not raise levels sufficiently, they can often help.