low testosterone

The Damaging Effects Of Low Testosterone In Men

As men grow older, so do their testosterone levels. According to studies conducted by the American urology care foundation, 20% of men in their 60’s are likely to experience a drop in their t-levels. The number increases to 30% of men in their 70’s, and by the time these men clock 80, half of them will have low testosterone levels.

Over the years, there has been an increased awareness of this condition thanks to the media and advertisement campaigns. Men find it easy to talk about erectile dysfunctions as they grow older and this has led to increased awareness of the condition. Diagnosing a drop in T-levels has become easy because of less stigma, more precise test and an aging population that is not afraid to talk about this condition openly.

Why is testosterone important to men?

Testosterone is what makes a man a man physically. Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in a man’s testes. It is responsible for the development of a male baby’s sex organs. During puberty, this hormone plays a significant role in the transformation of boys into men. It causes hair to grow on their chest, deepens their voice, and boosts the size of the penis and testes. In adulthood, testosterone helps in the development of a man’s muscles and keeps his bones active and healthy. It also plays a significant role in a man’s sexual function.

Causes of low testosterone levels

As you grow old, your testosterone levels are likely to decline. It is part of the aging process, and one major sign of low testosterone levels is the lack of sex drive. After 30’s, men will start noticing a decreasing interest in sex which they mistake as part of getting old.

Younger men in their 20s, 30s or even 40s should, however, be worried if they have erectile dysfunctions because apart from low T-levels, other factors could be at play. Conditions like diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease are also known to affect libido. It is therefore vital to ascertain the real cause of your condition and seek proper interventions.

effects of low testosterone

Apart from age, injury to the testes could also lead to a decrease in the testosterone levels. Chemotherapy or radiation in the genital area may also affect the production of these hormones leading to their declining levels. Other factors that cause a decline in T-levels are:

  • Diseases of the pituitary gland and medication like steroids.
  • Hormonal disorder.
  • Chronic liver or kidney issues.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Obesity.

In some cases, genetic conditions could also lead to a drop in the T-levels. Sometimes the cause is not known. Doctors recommend that once you realize that your T-levels are low, you need to seek treatment. You may not have any symptoms, but if the condition is left untreated, it could affect your bones and muscles. Lower T-levels are also known to lead to a drop in the bone density making them more fragile and prone to breaks.

What is the standard testosterone level and how do you diagnose this condition?

The U.S food and drug administration puts the normal range of testosterone hormones at 300-1000 nanograms/deciliter. Levels below 300 are usually considered to be low, and at this level, doctors will recommend that a patient is put on medication immediately. A blood test called serum testosterone test will readily ascertain your circulating T-levels.

Health effects of low testosterone:

Low libido

Lower testosterone levels have a significant effect on a man’s sex life. Men with low T-levels will experience a decrease in sex drive. They may not have or maintain strong erections for long as before. A reduction in libido may lead to less frequent sex, and this may cause you and your partner to drift apart. In worse cases, it may lead to a feeling of inferiority because of the inability to satisfy your spouse sexually.

Mood swings

Testosterone is known to influence many physical processes in the body. A drop in the T-level will cause mood changes in men. Studies have shown that men with low T-levels will experience irritability, depression and lack of concentration.

Declining bone density

Thinning of bones also known as osteoporosis is a common condition in women, but men with low T-levels are likely to experience a decrease in bone density. Testosterone helps in the production and strengthening of the bones. This should be a concern because as your bone volume decreases, you become more susceptible to bone fractures.


Low testosterone levels may lead to an increase in body fat. Men with a below average range of this hormone may develop gynecomastia or enlarged breast tissue. This occurs due to an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen within men.

effects of low testosterone

Loss of muscle mass

Men with low T-levels are likely to experience a decrease in muscle mass. Testosterone is responsible for the development of muscles in men, and a reduction in their levels will have an impact on muscle mass. Studies have however shown that this decline only affects muscle mass and not their functions and strength.

Extreme fatigue

If you lack the motivation to exercise or you are always tired even after having plenty of sleep or rest, your T-level could be low. Lower testosterone levels are known to affect energy levels in men.

Decrease in semen volume

Semen is the thick milky fluid that aids in the motility of the sperm. Testosterone aids in the production of semen. If the T-levels are low, you will notice a decrease in your semen volume during ejaculation. This can be a concern especially if you and your partner are trying to conceive. Lower T-levels could also affect your sperm count, therefore, reducing your chances of making your woman pregnant.

Hair loss

Testosterone helps in the production of body hair. If these levels drop, you may experience a loss of your body hair. There may be other natural causes of balding or hair loss, but testosterone is known to have a significant role in hair loss.

Difficulty having erections

This can be the most traumatizing thing in a man’s life. Studies have revealed that men with erectile dysfunctions feel inadequate and very irritable. Being a sex hormone, testosterone helps in achieving and maintaining an erection. Testosterone on its own does not cause an erection, but it stimulates the production of nitric oxide by receptors in the brain.

Nitric oxide then stimulates a series of chemical reactions that causes an erection to occur. When the T-levels are low, getting an erection may be difficult. Other health conditions that may cause erectile difficulties may be:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Diabetes.
  • High cholesterol levels or obesity.
  • Thyroid problems.
  • Depression.

Lower testosterone levels can sometimes have severe and long-term effect to your health. Studies in the journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism also found out that lower T-levels have a link to the high risk of death from heart diseases and other causes.

Treatment and interventions

It’s only prudent that if you experience a drop in your testosterone levels, you should seek treatment. Interventions will vary depending on the stage of your condition and other underlying factors. Your therapist will then suggest several measures that will help boost your T-levels.

Your doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. According to urology care foundation, testosterone gel rubbed on arms and shoulders can also help men with low T-levels. An injection into the muscles is also an intervention that helps in increasing the T-levels in your blood. New treatment options like pellets that are usually attached to the skin of the buttocks and wearing a patch have also contributed to increasing the levels of testosterone in your blood. Oral replacement therapies can also be used to boost your T-levels.

Benefits and risks of testosterone treatment options

There has been a registered success of treatment among patients with low T-levels. In a week or so, most of them report that the symptoms significantly reduce.

Testosterone treatment, however, is risky to patients with prostate cancer. Patients with cancer of the breast or prostate should avoid this therapy because it can fuel the growth of the cancer cells. It can also lead to the overproduction of red blood cells and lead to the abnormal enlargement of the breast. Talk to your doctor and let him advise you on the right course of action to rectify your condition. Get tested if you suspect that you could be having a drop in your T-level and get treated.

What you need to know

Low T-levels have severe and long-term effects on your health. Fortunately, this is a treatable condition. If you suspect that your T-levels are decreasing, get tested and seek treatment. Let your doctor advise you on the benefits and risks of the different treatment options. Let your specialist know your history, and if you have any underlying condition, he should suggest a safer alternative that may not put your health at risk. Don’t wait until the situation affects your health adversely. Seek treatment and intervention before it gets out of hand.

About the Author

John Parker is the founder and author of The Manly Zone. He writes about health topics that affect men specifically and has a passion to help men with sound information. He has 25 years of health and fitness experience and shares this on his site.