What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
Testosterone is often referred to as the primary male sex hormone, though it is also present in women’s bodies in lower quantities. This is because it is produced primarily in a man’s testicles and in a woman’s ovaries in a lesser amount.
This important hormone helps support muscle and bone mass, the growth of facial and body hair, and the development of male reproductive parts such as the testicles and the prostate. Additionally, it plays an important role when it comes to overall health and can have a big impact on a person’s mood and behavior. Lastly, testosterone is key in the prevention of osteoporosis for both men and women.
Sometimes, a man may not have enough testosterone in his body. This is known as low testosterone, or hypogonadism. Low testosterone becomes more common in men as they age, but it is not an inevitable part of aging.
When a man has low testosterone, he may notice changes in his body, energy, and emotions. The following are the most common symptoms of low testosterone in men:
- Low sex drive or libido
- Irritability and mood swings
- Reduced muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Shrinking testicles
- Loss of body and facial hair
- Growth of breast tissues
- Increased body fat
- Changes in body fat distribution
A man may experience any or all of these symptoms as a result of low testosterone. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they are having a negative impact on your life, it is a good idea to talk to a trusted health care provider about getting your testosterone levels checked.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in the form of topical gels, patches, injections, implantable pellets, and now even oral testosterone supplements can help improve these symptoms. However, it is important to use TRT exactly as directed by your health care provider.
While TRT is generally safe, it may cause acne, mild fluid retention, changes in the prostate tissue, increased risk of blood clots, and increased aggression or mood swings. Therefore, it is important to undergo periodic urological/medical evaluation while doing TRT, as well as repeat hormone level tests on occasion to see if testosterone levels have entered the normal range.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2022, September 2). Low Testosterone (Male Hypogonadism). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism
- Huo, S., Scialli, A.R., McGarvey, S., Hill, E., Tügertimur, B., Hogenmiller, A., Hirsch, A.I., & Fugh-Berman, A. (2016). Treatment of men for “low testosterone”: a systematic review. PloS one, 11(9), e0162480. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162480
- Johnson, J.M., Nachtigall, L.B., & Stern, T.A. (2013). The effect of testosterone levels on mood in men: a review. Psychosomatics, 54(6), 509-514. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psym.2013.06.018
- Shores, M.M., Smith, N.L., Forsberg, C.W., Anawalt, B.D., & Matsumoto, A.M. (2012). Testosterone treatment and mortality in men with low testosterone levels. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(6), 2050-2058. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-2591