Testosterone is a hormone found in both men and women; however, men have much higher levels of testosterone, which is made in the testicles and plays a key role in masculine growth and development during puberty. During puberty, testosterone increases and helps boys develop male features, like body and facial hair and muscle strength. Testosterone levels are important to normal male sexual development and are needed to make sperm. However, as men age, testosterone levels decrease.
Hypogonadism is a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. It can be a condition which a male is born with, or it can develop during puberty or later in life.
There are many symptoms that can occur when testosterone decreases below normal levels. However, some of these symptoms can be caused by factors other than low testosterone. Thyroid problems, depression, alcohol and medication side effects can have similar symptoms as low testosterone. It’s important to see a physician so patients can provide a proper health history and your physician can make an accurate diagnosis. (A blood test is the most accurate way to diagnose low testosterone.) Symptoms of low testosterone can include:
Testosterone treatment may help men regain sexual desire. If your doctor tests you and your levels are below the recommended number, hormone replacement therapy may be an option. A physician must supervise treatment, including injections, gel, skin patch or a tablet. As with any medication, testosterone therapy over the long term can have risks.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with low testosterone. A urologist or endocrinologist can discuss the treatment options for low testosterone that are right for you.
To find a specialist experienced in treating low testosterone, visit the Cincinnati Sexual Health Consortium provider page.
The following national organizations provide additional information on low testosterone.
Urology Care Foundation
American Urological Association
International Society for Sexual Medicine