Many of the attributes that men posses and distinguishes themselves from female are due to the testosterone hormone. It plays a key role in maintaining bone density, muscle strength, sexual drive and sperm production, besides building self confidence and emotional well being in men. In short it is a hormone that keeps men fit and strong. It is a feel good hormone that governs the mood and feeling of well being.
This male dominant hormone is mainly produced in testes. From puberty to mid twenties, the level of testosterone reaches at its peak. During puberty the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as growth of pubic hairs, moustache and beard, change of voice, increase in the size of penis are all responsible for raised level of testosterone during this period. However, it has been scientifically established that the level of testosterone starts lowering after the age of 30 years. Each decade after the age of 30, the level of testosterone reduces by 10 percent.
Low testosterone level, also called hypogonadism occurs when the testes produces less amount of the hormone than it is normally required. Contrary to many men’s belief, low testosterone level is not only seen in older men, but even in men who are in their 30’s and 40’s. There can be inadequate testosterone level in fetus too. Out of 100 men, only few will seek the treatment because the rest of them consider the symptoms as part of aging process. So what are the symptoms that may indicate low testosterone level?
Symptoms Of Hypogonadism In Men
Before describing the symptoms it is necessary to know that a small amount of testosterone is also produced in females to maintain healthy bone mass and muscles.
In males the symptoms may depend on at what age the level is low.
If low testosterone is present in fetus after the birth, the development of genitals may be affected. The penis and scrotum are poorly developed.
If there is low testosterone level during puberty, there may be no development of secondary sexual characteristics such as voice change, pubic hairs, beard and moustache, build up of muscle mass. The penis and testes remain small. The breast may enlarge.
An adult having low testosterone may have following symptoms: low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, infertility, fatigue, loss of lean muscle mass and bone density leading to early osteoporosis, loss of hairs, lack of alertness, depression, low self esteem, no motivation, lack of energy, mood changes.
The fat in adult male which refuses to budge and remains glued to the tummy is mostly associated when there is low testosterone level. It makes the person obese.
Rare event in females, low testosterone may give rise to hot flashes, loss of libido, excessive irritability, insomnia and disturbance in sleep, loss of body hairs, fatigue, and loss of muscle mass.
What Can Cause Low Testosterone In Men?
Since testosterone is produced in testes in males and to a certain less extent in ovaries of females any damage, anomaly and problems associated with them can five rise to low testosterone level.
- Undescended testis: if the testes does not descend down in the later fetal stage or one or two year of birth it becomes dysfunctional.
- Scrotal Trauma: injury to testes, both the testes can lead to low production of testosterone hormone.
- Cancer treatment: exposure to radiation and chemotherapy may affect the cells in the testis and it may reduce the production of testosterone hormone.
- Growing older: as men ages, the production of testosterone decreases. It is natural phenomenon.
- Infection: mumps can sometimes affect the testes causing its inflammation.
- Abnormality in testes: it is a chromosomal defect where the testes are abnormal and there is low capability to produce testosterone.
- Ovary removal in females is one of the reasons for low testosterone level in females.
- Problems and diseases of pituitary gland which is responsible for stimulating testes to produce the hormone.
Home Remedies For Low Testosterone Levels
If a person has low testosterone level, there are certain home remedies, herbs and diet that he can try before opting for testosterone replacement medications. These measures may be as effective in many patients as artificial drugs and hormones.
- Exercise regularly: It is important to know that lack of physical activity can be detrimental in testosterone production.
- Reduce weight: increased weight leads to increased estrogen level. Increase estrogen lowers testosterone level. Try to shed weight if obese.
- Food: eat protein rich food. The protein from eggs and whey is useful as it contains a content that enhances the production of testosterone hormone. Avoid fatty and fried food as the aromatase content present in it is responsible to alter the testosterone into many forms of estrogen. Cabbage, broccoli etc from vegetable family is beneficial in increasing the testosterone level.
- Herbs: Yohimbine and ginseng are effective herbs for treating symptoms of low testosterone.
- Lastly reduce alcohol intake. Relax your mind by doing yoga and medication.