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February 8, 2018

7 Signs of Low Testosterone in Men that Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Low testosterone, commonly called low T, is a common condition that affects men of all ages. Testosterone levels naturally begin to decline in men starting around 30 and continue to drop at a rate of around 1% every year. However, even men in their 20’s can develop low T levels.

While natural, low testosterone is not necessarily a part of normal aging, low T levels can affect many areas of life. This includes relationships, mental health, heart health, and healthy muscle and fat distribution. The good news is this condition can be treated in many ways including exercise, dietary changes, and hormone therapy. Low T can only be confirmed with a blood test. Nonetheless, there are several signs of low testosterone in men you can watch for.

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#1. You Have Less Muscle Mass or Strength

In younger men, testosterone is essential for building muscle mass. As testosterone levels decrease, muscle mass follows. This is because your muscle cells have androgen receptors specifically for testosterone. When the male hormone binds to these receptors, it helps maintain muscle fibers. When there isn’t enough testosterone circulating in your blood, the muscles will begin to degrade.

By the age of 60, muscle loss will double about every 10 years. Unfortunately, noticeable muscle loss or muscle wasting is one of the later signs of low testosterone in men. Before you notice reduced muscle mass, you will likely notice that you feel weaker. Regular strength training combined with aerobic exercise is one of the most effective steps you can take to maintain healthy T levels and reduce muscle wasting.

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#2. You Have Unexplained Weight Gain

Low testosterone doesn’t just rob you of your lean muscle; low T levels also increase fat deposits, according to a 2012 study in Current Diabetes Reviews. Fat cells, especially those around the abdomen, make your body produce an enzyme known as aromatase. This enzyme works to turn testosterone into estrogen, the primary female hormone, which then increases fat deposits around the thighs, chest, and hips.

Fat deposits are one of the most common signs of low testosterone in men. Unfortunately, they are bound to lead to a cycle. The more fat you accumulate, the more it will deplete your testosterone levels. Losing weight through aerobic exercise can help reverse this effect.

#3. Your Hair Is Thinning

One of many roles testosterone plays involves hair production. Male pattern baldness is a common and natural part of aging for many men. This is often related to testosterone levels.

Male pattern baldness alone affects about 50 million men in the U.S. Shrinking hair follicles are the culprits for this type of hair loss. They cause hair to grow finer and finer until it can’t grow at all.

Balding in men has a genetic component. On the other hand, men with low testosterone often experience a loss of hair on the head as well as the body and face. Individuals with male pattern baldness tend to have free testosterone levels lower than other men.

#4. You Have Experienced Changes in Your Mood

man sitting on floor with back against the wall wearing a paper mask with angry face

Usually, declining estrogen levels in women can cause mood changes during menopause. Likewise, men can also experience mood changes when their testosterone levels begin to fall.

Testosterone can affect mood in many ways. One of the first signs of low testosterone in men is mood swings. Low testosterone is a common cause of depression in men. Moreover, it can also cause irritability and difficulty in concentrating, according to research published in the World Journal of Men’s Health.

Other signs of low testosterone in men can also be emotionally overwhelming and stressful. This phase includes symptoms like muscle loss and erectile dysfunction. This can worsen depression, irritability, and fatigue.

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#5. You Have Testicular Atrophy

A common side effect of testosterone therapy is testicular shrinkage. Nonetheless, this can also be a symptom of low testosterone.

Men with low testosterone are not producing enough of the hormone in their testes. When this system begins to shut down, the result can be testicular shrinkage, atrophy or hypogonadism. Along with this slight shrinkage, the testicles may also feel noticeably softer.

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#6. You Have Trouble Achieving or Sustaining an Erection

Perhaps the most well-known signs of low testosterone in men involve erectile function and libido. Testosterone is important for stimulating the male sex drive and maintaining an erection. While this hormone alone doesn’t result in an erection, it works to stimulate brain receptors to produce nitric oxide. This molecule then triggers chemical reactions that produce an erection.

As testosterone levels fall, you may have trouble achieving or maintaining an erection. You may also experience spontaneous erections.

Increasing testosterone levels through testosterone replacement therapy, for example, isn’t a guaranteed solution for erectile problems. These health issues can occur even with normal T levels. Nonetheless, testosterone therapy has become the standard first treatment for ED, according to Harvard Medical School.

#7. You Have Gynecomastia or Enlarged Breasts

Gynecomastia refers to enlarged breast tissue in men. Gynecomastia is different than excess fat deposits on the chest (or pseudogynecomastia). This condition manifests through swelling of actual breast tissue due to a hormonal imbalance. Men who develop gynecomastia can’t fix the problem with diet and exercise. That’s because it is the glandular tissue, not fat tissue, that has increased in size.

It isn’t just low testosterone that causes gynecomastia. All men have both testosterone and estrogen, the primary female hormone. In men, estrogen is usually found in low levels. If testosterone levels fall too low in comparison to estrogen levels, or estrogen levels become otherwise elevated, the result can be enlarged breast tissue.

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In Conclusion

Do you have any of these signs of low testosterone in men? Have you been able to improve your T levels through exercise, diet, or treatment? Please leave a comment about your experience and struggle with low testosterone.

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

  1. From today onwards, we should take note of the signs listed above for to be aware if we need to change our old routine to a healthy lifestyle. This is the very much informative article that we read to check for the signs of low testosterone in men.

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