There's a fantastic reason men go girl-crazy in their teens and twenties: Their testosterone levels are at find heremy sources their peak. From that point, however, testosterone levels gradually like it decrease.
"After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone," states David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Although testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause), low testosterone levels men to experience symptoms like fatigue, low sex drive, and loss of muscle mass.
While reduced testosterone is more prevalent in older men, it can occur in younger guys also. Luckily, every one of the causes of low testosterone in young guys are curable, so in the event that you experience such symptoms at any age, there is no reason to ignore it.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Younger Men
For younger men, a fall in testosterone levels can be brought on by some ailments, such as type 2 diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disorder, or pituitary gland issues, according to Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in males include the diseases Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disease that could cause low testosterone is hemochromatosis, making the body shop too much iron.
"Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone," says Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and sexual medicine in the Smith Institute for Urology of their North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Other causes of low testosterone in males younger than 50 contain adrenal gland tumors, HIV infection, and radiation treatment or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as secondary or primary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi says. "This could be from a developmental issue, injury to the testicles, or radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
Is It Low Testosterone?
Regardless of the cause, low testosterone symptoms are the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert says.
If your blood test reveals low testosterone (usually defined as a level lower than 300 ng/dL), the doctor may treat you or refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist or endocrinologist.
Treatments for Low Testosterone in Younger Men
Not everyone with low testosterone needs treatment. "When it comes to treating low testosterone in older men, we usually reserve treatment for people who have symptoms, such as tiredness and low libido," Gilbert says.
Such testosterone supplements come in the form of a gel, injections, patches, long-acting pellets, or oral inserts.
In these circumstances,"therapies are often used only in the brief term, and if a physician has close monitoring and understanding of the individual," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You do not wish to give supplemental testosterone to men who are interested in being fertile since it can turn off sperm production," Gilbert says.
Once a young man goes off testosterone supplementation, there's a chance his sperm count will never return to what it was before he started. "Hence, men of reproductive age should think about alternatives that might improve their testosterone in addition to maintain their sperm production," he says. One such choice is a class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other remedies for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle modifications, like eating healthier and raising exercise.
The bottom line, however, is that if you have low testosterone symptoms, it is important to see your physician. Then, your doctor can rule out potentially more significant causes of your symptoms, including high blood pressure or a thyroid problem, and offer treatment that can improve your power and quality of life.