Testosterone is a sex hormone often associated with males, though females have small amounts. If a male has a low level of testosterone, the symptoms can include erectile dysfunction, and reduced bone mass and sex drive.
The hormone has many important functions, including:
- the development of the bones and muscles
- the deepening of the voice, hair growth, and other factors related to appearance
- the production of sperm
Testosterone production can slow as a person ages, and many older men have symptoms of low testosterone.
The American Urology Association defines low testosterone as less than 300 nanograms (ng) of the hormone per deciliter (dl) of blood. They also reported that about 2 in every 100 men have low testosterone.
Twelve signs and symptoms
Below are common signs and symptoms of low testosterone in males. Females may also experience some of the following.
1. Problems with erections
Low testosterone can make it difficult to get or maintain erections.
Testosterone stimulates the penile tissues to produce nitric oxide, which starts several reactions that result in an erection.
If levels of the hormone are too low, a man may not be able to get an erection.
The following are other factors that can cause erectile dysfunction:
- thyroid-related issues
- high cholesterol
- stress or anxiety
- alcohol consumption
- high blood pressure
2. Hair loss
Many men experience hair loss as a natural part of aging, and age-related hair loss can also affect women.