If you have watched ANY sports on television, you must have been barraged by ads about “Low T.” The advertisers are eluding to low testosterone.
Testosterone is the male hormone that is responsible for sexual libido and the ability to achieve a significant erection in men. If testosterone levels are low, sexual health is most noticeably affected: decreased sexual libido and erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms of this may be mood changes, fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of muscle or bone mass, and lack of motivation.
To diagnose low testosterone, a history and physical exam are paired with lab work.
Treatment options include behavioral changes and medication.
- If obese, weight loss can best help men keep testosterone as testosterone. The outer fat cells help testosterone change to estrogen (predominant female hormone) so decreasing fat cells help testosterone not convert.
- Heavy alcohol abusers will benefit by decreasing alcohol consumption.
- Otherwise there are testosterone replacement forms for both intramuscular injections and topical replacement. Oral forms of testosterone do not lead to stable blood levels so this is not well tolerated and may cause liver damage.
If you are symptomatic, seek help from your doctor. Do not self-treat. There are risks of taking too much testosterone such as blood clots which can cause heart attack or stroke or prostate problems.