Low testosterone (low T) goes by many names, including andropause, hypogonadism, and male menopause. It’s essentially a medical condition where the amount of free or bioavailable testosterone falls below the normal range. According to one study, total testosterone levels begin to decline by 1% each year after 30, and bioavailable testosterone can decrease by 2% – 3%.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has increasingly become a common solution for men experiencing low T. In just one year, almost 2.3 million American men received testosterone therapy to treat the symptoms of low T, and most of these men were middle-aged and older.
What are the Symptoms of Low T
It’s common to associate chronic fatigue to aging; however, the root cause could be a hormonal imbalance. Fatigue is a trademark symptom of low T, taking supplemental doses of bioidentical testosterone, can reenergize men.
Libido is highly personal; what might be a low libido for one man, could be normal or even high for another.
Since testosterone is the primary sex hormone, T level depletion can adversely affect libido or sex drive. Low T has also been linked to erectile dysfunction (ED) in men over 30, along with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hardening of the arteries.
Excessive Weight Gain
Testosterone doesn’t only support sexual function, it also plays a crucial role in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from the food men digest. It’s the main factor in body fat composition. The more testosterone men have, the easier it is for them to burn the calories in food.
Body fat contains an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen. Estrogen harms testosterone production; excess estrogen signals the body to slow down T production.
For men weight gain can have a compounding effect. Fat speeds up the metabolization of testosterone, therefore decreasing T levels even quicker.
Some men can develop gynecomastia or enlarged breasts due to a severe imbalance in testosterone levels compared to estrogen levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia affects one in four men between 50 to 80 years old.
Decreased Muscle Tone
Testosterone increases the neurotransmitters that are responsible for the healthy growth of tissues, the synthesis of proteins, and increases growth hormone levels, all of which are essential for building muscle tissue. Low T levels can decrease muscle mass over time.
It’s a common misconception that hot flashes are only a female problem for women going through menopause. Men can also experience “night sweats” and hot flashes with low T.
Low Bone Density and Osteoporosis
The entire skeletal system is replaced every ten years. The process of rebuilding bones is generated by reabsorbing minerals like calcium and phosphate from old bones and diet. When the body begins to reabsorb more old bone than the new bones, bones become fragile and prone to irreparable fractures and breaks.
Researchers believe that age-related testosterone deficiency is the most significant factor of bone loss in older men. The lifetime risk of fracturing in middle-aged men is 20%. Up to 20% of fractures are vertebral, 25% are forearm fractures, and 30% are hip fractures. Men over the age of 70 are more likely to develop osteoporosis than younger men. Androgens like testosterone help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis for aging men and build skeletons in young adults.
How Do I Test My Testosterone Levels?
While at-home testosterone kits have become increasingly popular, many medical professionals advise patients against using them. The convenience is appealing but comes with a hefty price tag, anywhere from $50 – $150 per kit.
The accuracy of at-home blood and saliva tests are poor. There are several factors, like eating, drinking, and smoking, before exams, that can yield false results. Many clients don’t realize that T levels fluctuate throughout the day. Conducting a test at the wrong time could also add to inaccuracies.
If you’re curious about your hormone levels, don’t choose an at-home exam. Medical professionals recommend making an appointment with a hormone specialist for an accurate analysis.
Finding Hormone Replacement Therapy in Salem, OR
Salem is the capital city of Oregon with over 170,000 residents and 100 hormone replacement therapy clinics, including Renew Vitality Salem. The largest population are residents between the ages of 25 and 44, tallying almost 28% of the community.
Maintain Your Vigor with Renew Vitality
The decision to start hormone replacement therapy should not be taken lightly. If you think you are experiencing symptoms associated with low T, you don’t have to suffer alone. At Renew Vitality Salem, we have a large team of medical professionals with decades of experience helping men just like you. Book a consultation today!