It’s not unusual for men to begin seeing changes in the way they look and feel as they age. Tiredness and weight gain are often seen as products of aging, but sometimes the culprit is a hormone imbalance instead.
What is Low Testosterone?
Hypogonadism, also referred to as andropause, is a medical term for decreased output of sex hormones by the gonads. In males, this means lower levels of bio-active testosterone being produced by the testicles.
During adolescence and young adulthood, healthy males produce large quantities of testosterone that are needed to trigger changes in the body, such as hair growth, during puberty.
When men reach the age of thirty, testosterone levels begin to fall. While this decrease in hormone levels usually happens very gradually, in some cases the drop can be dramatic enough to cause unpleasant symptoms such as the ones we discuss below.
Symptoms of Low T
While some men chalk up their chronic fatigue to aging, sometimes it’s actually a product of low T. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why fatigue is so common among men with low T, but many men find that their energy levels to return to normal with testosterone replacement therapy.
Low Libido and Sexual Dysfunction
While its physiological effects are widespread, Testosterone is still primarily a sex hormone, therefore it can have either a positive or negative impact on sexual desire, depending on the body’s levels of biologically-available T. Hypogonadal men sometimes report loss of interest in sexual activity which can be a troubling prospect for men who once had a healthy libido. It’s thought that low T can contribute to erectile dysfunction, but it’s seldom the lone cause. The physical symptoms of ED are usually brought on by a hardening of the arteries, through the mental side effects of low T levels can sometimes exacerbate this problem.
The accumulation of body fat is sometimes seen in men when T levels begin to dip around age 30. Research has shown that testosterone acts as a metabolic hormone in men since it promotes muscle protein synthesis, which in turn speeds the metabolism by burning more calories for muscle maintenance.
Loss of Muscle Tone
When men get older they sometimes notice a loss in muscle mass, while this can be a sign of less physical activity, it can also be an indicator of low T. Testosterone has a tremendous impact on the body’s ability to build muscle and is one of the main hormones responsible for muscle protein synthesis, or the body’s ability to turn nutrients in food into muscle.
One of the most troubling symptoms reported by men with low T is mood disturbances. Research has shown that men with low T are more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression. One study in the Netherlands of more than 500 senior men found a strong correlation between hypogonadism and depression.
Osteoporosis and Other Bone-Related Issues
Testosterone is one of four androgens (male sex hormones) that play an essential role in bone reformation and reabsorption. As the body ages, often bone will be gradually broken down to release calcium ions into the bloodstream, this can sometimes lead to breaks or fractures from the weakened bone.
Several studies have shown that TRT can have a positive impact on the skeletal calcium uptake in men with hypogonadism, and is shown to be an effective treatment for a wide age range of hypogonadal men.
Poor Sleep and Night Sweats
Insomnia and night sweats are frequently reported by men with low T, though scientists aren’t exactly sure why that is. Restlessness, hot flashes, and night sweats are three of the most common side effects of low levels of estrogen in women, and it’s thought that testosterone has a similar effect on males.
How We Can Help
Renew Vitality is a leading expert on hypogonadism is aging men and has optimized hormone replacement therapy with individualized wellness plans to help men achieve the best results possible. Our care team works with each patient on an individual basis to help them learn and apply healthy behaviors so they have the best chances for success.
If you think you may be dealing with low T, please set up a consultation to see if hormone replacement therapy might be right for you.