Low Testosterone

When a man’s testosterone hormone level is low, it can reduce his sex drive, and cause both irritability and erectile dysfunction. Low T may also cause weight gain, fatigue, decreased muscle, and increased body fat. We can treat Low T and get your sex life back on track.

What is Low Testosterone?

Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is made primarily in the testicles. Testosterone hormone levels are important to normal male sexual development and functions. It’s common that the hormone level decreases with age. More than 8 percent of men age 50 and older are thought to have Low T. Low T may be more common among men who are overweight or have diabetes. Testosterone therapy can bring hormone levels back to normal.

What are the symptoms of Low Testosterone?

Common symptoms include:

  • Low sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced lean muscle mass
  • Irritability
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Loss of body hair

Importantly, these symptoms could signal other issues instead of Low T, such as: opioid use, some medical conditions that are present at birth, loss of or harm to the testicles, diabetes, and obesity. That’s why it’s crucial to see your doctor.

What causes Low Testosterone?

Some people are born with conditions that cause Low Testosterone such as:

  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Ambiguous genitalia (when the sex organs develop in ways that are not typical in appearance)

Other conditions that may cause Low T:

  • Primary hypogonadism (testicular disorder)
  • Secondary hypogonadism (pituitary/hypothalamus dysfunction)

Some men develop Low-T because of:

  • Damage to testicles by accident
  • Removal of testicles because of cancer
  • Chemotherapy or radiation
  • Pituitary gland disease leading to hormone deficiency
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disease

How is Low Testosterone diagnosed?

What to know before your visit to Michigan Institute of Urology in Southeast Michigan:
At your medical visit, your doctor will ask about your health history and conduct a general physical exam. Your doctor might check the following:

  • Blood test to measure your testosterone level. This test should be done at two different times on samples taken before 10 AM. Testosterone levels are naturally lower later in the day. If you are ill, the doctor will wait until you are not sick because your illness may cause a false result.
  • BMI (body mass index) or waist circumference measurement
  • Possible metabolic syndromes that can cause increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged breasts
  • Size of testicles
  • Prostate size and any abnormalities

How is Low Testosterone treated?

Despite advertising that you may see or hear, we do not recommend Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) unless it is medically necessary. Taking testosterone may not be safe, and it may not be helpful. TRT should only be prescribed for men who meet the clinical and laboratory definition of testosterone deficiency (testosterone level of less than 300 ng/dL). To determine if TRT is right for you, your doctor will:

Measure your testosterone level. These conditions could affect your levels:

  • Unexplained anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Bone density loss
  • Low-trauma bone fracture
  • Radiation to your testicles
  • HIV/AIDS positive test results
  • Chronic narcotic use
  • History of infertility
  • Pituitary gland disorders

Even if you do not have specific signs and symptoms, your doctor may test your total testosterone level for these conditions:

  • Insulin resistance
  • History of chemotherapy
  • History of using corticosteroid medicines
  • Health changes such as losing weight and getting more physical activity will likely raise your testosterone levels

If your doctor prescribes TRT, here’s what you should know:

  • There are generally five different ways to take testosterone.
  • No method is better than another.
  • While you are taking TRT, your doctor will test your blood to determine testosterone levels.

Here are some details about the five different methods for taking TRT:

  • Transdermal (Topical): Gels, creams, liquids, or patches deliver testosterone through your skin.
  • Injection: There are short-acting and long-acting forms of testosterone injection. The short-acting medicine may be given under the skin or in the muscle. The long-acting one is usually given in the muscle. Injections are usually given either weekly, every two weeks, or monthly.
  • Oral: You’ll place a patch above your incisor tooth. The drug is released over 12 hours. It may cause headaches or cause irritation where you place it.
  • Intranasal: This form of testosterone comes in a gel. You pump the dose into each nostril, as directed. It is usually taken three times daily.
  • Pellets: Your doctor will place the testosterone pellets under the skin of your upper hip or buttocks. First your skin will be numbed. Then a small cut is made, and the pellets are placed inside the fatty tissues underneath your skin. The pellets dissolve slowly, and the medication is released over about 3-6 months, depending on the number of pellets.

You may want to choose how you take your testosterone based on what is best for your lifestyle. In some cases, your insurance provider may decide the order in which testosterone therapies are provided. Talk about the choices with your doctor.

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