A medical condition known as low testosterone, which is sometimes affectionately referred to as low T, impacts anywhere from 4 to 5 million American men.
This chemical, which is the primary male sexual and reproductive hormone, plays many crucial systemic functions. That said, bodily concentrations of the substance gradually decline beginning after a man turns 30. While the condition is often associated with older subjects, young adults under 30, youths, and even infants can be impacted.
Researchers have concluded that as many as 20 to 40 percent of all older men are stricken with testosterone deficiency. In certain subjects, the decline can be precipitous and induce numerous untoward symptoms.
In recent times, males dealing with low T are able to avoid devastating symptoms of declined testosterone by using testosterone replacement therapy. Usually, it takes 3-4 weeks until you notice the first results of testosterone therapy, which will elevate with time.
Medical professionals maintain that testosterone levels not attributed to the aging process result from various underlying causes. In official scientific terms, this occurrence is classified as hypogonadism, which is a broad description of any malady causing the testicles to produce decreased amounts of testosterone.
Associated manifestations can be pronounced and, include decreased bone mass, infertility, weight gain, muscle deterioration, sexual performance problems, hair loss, and even mental concerns like anxiety and brain fog.
Hypogonadism in adults
Adult hypogonadism is differentiated into two distinct categories, primary and secondary.
Primary hypogonadism is directly attributable to poor testicular function. In such instances, said reproductive organs fail to produce and secrete adequate testosterone quantities. Such events may result from some genetic flaw or can be caused by illness or injury.
- Undescended testicles, stricken individual’s testicles fail to descend from their abdomen prior to birth.
- Hemochromatosis, excessive blood concentrations of iron exercise an adverse influence on testicular function.
- Klinefelter’s syndrome, the genetic makeup of men born with this inherited flaw contains three chromosomes. Typically, males are born with a single X and Y chromosome. Subjects with this condition are born with an additional X chromosome.
Illness and injury. Testicular damage, physical injury to one’s testicles can have a significantly adverse impact on testosterone production. Cancer medications, aggressive medical treatments tend to influence testosterone levels. In particular, radiation or chemotherapy often administered to cancer patients have been documented offenders. Mumps, this infection can damage the testicles and subsequently impact their capacity to produce sufficient testosterone concentrations.
Secondary hypogonadism results from the destruction of or disease to other testosterone-producing glands such as the pituitary and hypothalamus. These brain-situated structures influence testicular hormone production.
Pituitary problems Any damage or illness to this gland could precipitate systemic testosterone decreases. Occasionally, certain drugs might impact pituitary function and cause resulting issues.
Inflammatory maladies Diseases capable of producing widespread bodily inflammation, such as tuberculosis, histiocytosis, and sarcoidosis possess the capacity to impact secondary testosterone-producing glands.
Kallmann syndrome This condition is categorized by genetic flaws impacting optimal hypothalamus function.
HIV The HIV virus and subsequent AIDS infection can adversely impact the endocrine and reproductive tracts.
Therapeutic drugs Several medications carry the ability to impact hypothalamus and pituitary function, such as steroids and opioids.
The aging process As men age, hormone production often naturally decreases.
Obesity Excessive body fat can exercise a negative influence on hormone-producing organs and glands.
Underlying illnesses Significant bodily stress caused by another underlying ailment, surgery, or a trying emotional experience can interrupt normal hormone production.
How to manage low T in men
Fortunately, those experiencing this problem might be able to increase systemic levels and alleviate associated symptoms by engaging in lifestyle changes like exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, consuming certain testosterone-boosting foods, and, if possible, avoiding medications like opioids painkillers and steroids.
Testosterone replacement therapy
Should lifestyle changes not yield intended results, impacted subjects might consider testosterone therapy. That said, this therapeutic protocol carries the risk of several unpleasant side effects. Such as skin problems, testicular shrinkage, breast enlargement, prostate abnormalities, elevated red blood cell levels, diminished sperm count, and sleep apnea.
Therefore, prospective candidates are strongly cautioned to disclose any underlying condition with their doctor before making any firm decisions.