Men experience a normal decrease in testosterone as they age, but in some instances, this change in testosterone can come with significant symptoms. Although the symptoms of low testosterone can mimic other distinct issues, having your hormones tested can help you determine the underlying cause and whether supplemental testosterone is the right approach.
Issues with low testosterone can manifest as sudden changes in emotions or mood swings or a gradual worsening of mental health issues that already exist. Men may notice they become depressed and irritable. These emotional changes can also cause sleep disturbances, such as dealing with insomnia or being exhausted and sleeping more than usual. Changes in emotion can be correlated with the development of mental health problems later in life, but it is difficult to determine if these issues are purely mental health related or caused by low testosterone without additional testing.
An unusual decrease in your interest in sex or having difficulties achieving or maintaining an erection may be another sign of low testosterone. These symptoms need to be present in the absence of other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. For example, certain medications can cause sexual dysfunction as a side effect, such as the use of antidepressants, and life stressors may also contribute to sexual problems. Since erectile dysfunction can be associated with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or coronary blood vessel disease, your doctor will want to rule out these issues as contributors. If erectile dysfunction is a byproduct of having low testosterone, standard medications to manage the condition may not be effective.
Low testosterone is also associated with a change in body composition. As testosterone decreases, so does your ability to build and retain muscle mass. You may not have significant changes in your eating patterns or exercise routine, but find your body fat begins to increase. Sometimes low testosterone can manifest itself as the development of more fat accumulation around the chest or even the development of breast tissue. The physical changes associated with low testosterone tend to be a perpetual cycle of decreasing energy, which exacerbates physical changes and further causes more tiredness and fatigue. Additionally, since body fat tends to increase the production of estrogen, the physical changes may steadily become more dramatic.
Many of the symptoms of low testosterone can occur with other mental and physical conditions, making it impossible to determine the underlying cause without more information. If you suspect changes in your hormones, asking your doctor for testing can aid in diagnosis and finding the appropriate treatment.
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