Testosterone Deficiency (TD)

Testosterone Deficiency, Testosterone Deficiency (TD)

Lately you have been feeling “off”.

You are dragging your feet to work.

At home you are snappy.

The pounds are piling on as well.

Modern living has not been kind to your hormones.

One night while researching testosterone on google you realise that you could have a medical issue not a mid-life crisis.

And it has just dawned on you that you could be suffering from Testosterone Deficiency or TD for short.

What is Testosterone Deficiency?

Testosterone Deficiency is not a disease in itself. It could be the result of an underlying disorder or the precursor to other health problems. It is also called hypogonadism. 

Testosterone Deficiency or TD affects millions of men across the world. Yet, there is not much awareness about the symptoms it can cause and why it occurs. Knowingly and unknowingly, men of different age groups are suffering from the problems linked to Testosterone Deficiency. This is why; there is a need to raise awareness about this issue so that men can seek appropriate treatment when the symptoms arise. 

TD is often evident in the forms of a variety of symptoms that occur due to the insufficient production of the male sex hormone testosterone in the testicles. Several factors including aging and medical conditions could be responsible for the decline in the production of testosterone. 

To understand what may occur due to the lack of adequate testosterone production in the body, it is important to be aware of what testosterone is and the functions it performs. Read on to find more about testosterone and the role it plays in maintaining men’s sexual and reproductive functions.

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Testosterone Deficiency

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What is testosterone?

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is produced by the testicles in the body of men. 

Though this hormone is largely associated with the sexual and reproductive functions of men, it is also secreted in a small amount in females. However, the deficiency of testosterone is not known to have a serious impact on the health of women. 

Testosterone plays a vital role in sexual important functions, including:

  • The appearance of primary sexual characteristics such as the growth of sexual organs
  • The appearance of secondary sexual characteristics such as hair growth on the chest and face and deepening of the voice
  • Growth of muscles 
  • Development of the bones 
  • The production of sperms needed for the fertilization of eggs produced in the ovaries of a woman to induce conception
  • Supporting the process of getting an erection
  • Maintaining an erection until the climax

The decline in the production of Testosterone can affect these functions due to which men may experience several signs and symptoms including erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. 

According to the American Urology Association, a man can be said to have TD when the level of this hormone is less than 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood [1].

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How common is Testosterone Deficiency?

It is estimated that the incidence of TD is nearly 2% in men between the ages of 16 and 60 years across the world.

Surprisingly, the prevalence of low testosterone production is also high in young men. It is known to affect almost 40% of men aged more than 45 years. 

What are the causes of Testosterone Deficiency?

Testosterone Deficiency can occur due to the interplay of several factors. It can be the result of the hormonal imbalances caused due to the disorders affecting the hypothalamus and adrenals that play a role in maintaining and regulating the balance of hormones including testosterone. 

Testosterone Deficiency may also occur as a result of poor mental health linked to stress, and anxiety. 

Abnormality linked to any factor that can affect the production and release of testosterone by the testicles can cause Testosterone Deficiency. 

In most cases, the specific cause for Testosterone Deficiency can be discovered based on the symptoms and the associated complaints. For example; some men may have an excess production of pituitary hormones due to which the secretion of testosterone and its availability are affected. 

The various causative factors responsible for Testosterone Deficiency are discussed beneath:

Age

As a man ages, the secretion of testosterone in his body drops gradually. The natural decline in the testosterone level usually begins after the age of 30 and continues throughout his lifetime. 

It is estimated that the reduction in testosterone production occurs at a slow rate of about 1% per year in men. This indicates that by the time men enter their older age or have crossed their 60s, the testosterone levels are reduced by nearly 30% provided they suffer from no other health issue that can accelerate the decline in the testosterone production.

Physical causes of Testosterone Deficiency

Physical health problems that can affect the testosterone levels in the body are primarily linked to the imbalance of hormones and the structural damage to the testicles. 

The physical causes of TD may include:

  • Injury or trauma to the testes
  • Interrupted supply of blood to the testes 
  • Orchitis (infection of the testes)
  • Metabolic disorders like hemochromatosis caused due to the increased level of iron in the body
  • Tumors or dysfunctions of the pituitary gland
  • High levels of the milk-producing hormone, prolactin
  • Obesity or sudden, drastic weight loss
  • Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
  • Excess production of the female sex hormone called estrogen 
  • Severe hypothyroidism
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Cirrhosis of the liver

Lifestyle factors

Several lifestyle factors are known to affect the hormonal balance in the body resulting in the deficiency of testosterone. The common lifestyle factors responsible for TD include:

  • Lack of physical activities
  • Unhealthy dietary habits and lack of essential nutrients in the diet, especially Zinc [2]
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Smoking
  • Abuse of anabolic steroids

Psychological causes of TD

The secretion of testosterone is dependent on the balance of other hormones in the body. Hence, when men develop hormonal imbalance due to mental stress and anxiety, their risk of TD can increase. 

The psychological causes of TD include:

  • Mental stress and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders

Use of medications

In some men, testosterone production can be affected due to the use of certain medications. Some drugs and treatments are known to interfere with the processes involved in the secretion of this hormone as given below:

  • Radiation exposure for the management of cancer 
  • Administration of chemotherapeutic drugs during cancer treatment 
  • Side effects of medications such as opioids, steroids, and hormonal preparations used to treat prostate cancer

The side effects caused due to these medications and treatments are usually temporary and tend to resolve once the therapy is withdrawn. The testosterone production usually gets back to normal once men stop using these drugs or when the therapy is discontinued. 

Reduced bioavailability of testosterone

  • Inflammatory conditions like sarcoidosis caused due to the inflammation of the lungs or other organs
  • Kallman syndrome caused due to the abnormal development of a gland in the brain called hypothalamus, which regulates many hormones 
  • Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic disorder in which a male child is born with one extra copy of X chromosome

In some men, no specific cause of TD can be detected. However, even in such cases, men can derive significant relief from the symptoms by appropriate treatments such as testosterone replacement therapy. The team of medical professionals would prescribe a comprehensive treatment aimed at restoring normal testosterone levels and help men avoid the sexual and other abnormalities caused due to TD.

Rare causes of TD

Some causes of Testosterone Deficiency are linked to the reduced availability of this hormone. This means, in some cases, the men may suffer from the symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency even though the hormone is produced in their body in adequate amounts. 

This can occur when the testosterone receptors do not interact with the hormone in a normal way. In such cases, testosterone would fail to produce the desired effect on the end tissues such as the muscles, bones, or the penis making it ineffective. 

In these cases, men would still develop the symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency even though the hormone is produced in their testicles in normal amounts.

What are the signs and symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency?

Low testosterone levels can affect the normal bodily functioning in several ways resulting in a number of signs and symptoms as discussed beneath:

Difficulty in getting erections

Low testosterone secretion can make it difficult for men to get and maintain an erection. 

Testosterone plays a key role in stimulating the penile tissues resulting in the increased production of nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide is responsible for causing dilation of the arteries in the penis due to which there is a surge of blood entering the organ. It is this surge of blood that results in the filling of the penis during intercourse making it harder and erect. 

Deficiency of testosterone can prevent these mechanisms due to which there would be an incomplete filling of the penis keeping it flaccid. This is how Testosterone Deficiency can affect the men’s ability to get or maintain an erection leading to erectile dysfunctions and premature ejaculation.

Low sex drive

The reduced secretion of testosterone can affect the men’s sexual desire resulting in loss of libido. They may lose their interest in sex and have a significant decline in their ability to feel sexually aroused.

Loss of muscle mass

Testosterone helps in the growth and development of muscles. 

A reduced level of this hormone can lead to the loss of muscle mass. In some cases, it may also reduce muscle strength and stamina of men making them feel tired even after moderate physical activities [4].

Reduced energy levels

Men with Testosterone Deficiency often experience fatigue and weakness throughout the day. Low testosterone can affect the release of energy in the body due to which they complain of tiredness even after adequate rest.

Decrease in testicle size

Reduced size of testicles is one of the early symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency. In fact, most men with low testosterone contact a physician when they notice the size of their testicles is reduced. This symptom is also associated with a softening of the scrotum. 

It should be noted that the testicles may also shrink due to aging or exposure to extreme cold temperatures. However, when the reduction in the testicle size occurs in the absence of cold weather in younger men, there is a higher chance that it could be due to Testosterone Deficiency.

Reduced bone mass

Testosterone is essential for producing bone tissues. A lack of this hormone can prevent the formation of bone cells due to which the bones may become weak and porous.

Testosterone also helps to maintain the bone volume. Low testosterone production can lead to a reduced bone volume making them susceptible to fractures.

Male infertility

A low testosterone level is commonly linked to reduced fertility in men. Testosterone helps in the production of sperms. It also helps to promote the health and motility of the sperms. Low production of this hormone can reduce the sperm count and motility.

As a result, the chances of conception in the female partner is reduced. The reduced sperm count can decrease the possibility of the sperm fertilizing the egg due to which pregnancy can fail to occur. 

Also, the reduced motility of the sperms prevents them from traveling through the vagina to reach the uterus to meet an egg. This can further worsen the fertility of men and prevent conception. 

Similarly, lack of adequate production of sperms due to testosterone deficiency can also make the semen thin, dilute, or watery. Semen is the fluid that forms the majority of the ejaculate during sexual intercourse. Semen also provides a medium for the sperms to swim through the vagina toward the eggs during sexual intercourse. Reduced semen volume can affect the men’s sexual pleasure and reduce the ability of the sperms to move toward the egg.

Difficulty in sleeping

Sleep disorders may seem to be completely unrelated to Testosterone Deficiency. Yet, it is a common symptom of this condition. Men with low testosterone levels often find it difficult to fall asleep. They are also more likely to develop a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. 

This potentially serious disorder can cause the patients to stop breathing temporarily and awaken suddenly gasping for breath thus disrupting their sleep. 

Most men do not realize that their sleep problem could be linked to testosterone production. Hence, men who experience an inability to sleep well or are suffering from sleep apnea are advised to contact Men’s Health Clinic to evaluate their testosterone levels so that the correct diagnosis can be made.

Obesity

Reduced testosterone production can affect the ability of the body’s cells and tissues to utilize fats as a source of energy. This can lead to an increase in body fat causing obesity [5]. 

In some men, the deficiency of this hormone can lead to gynecomastia, an abnormal enlargement of the breasts that may or may not be linked to the deposition of fats in the breast tissues.

What are the complications of Testosterone Deficiency?

If not detected and managed in an appropriate way, Testosterone Deficiency can persist and lead to complications such as:

  • Obesity with excess belly fat
  • Increased risk of cardiac diseases
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis due to the deposition of cholesterol and excess fat in the walls of the blood vessels 
  • Higher risk of prostate cancer

How is Testosterone Deficiency diagnosed?

Testosterone Deficiency can be diagnosed by measuring the testosterone levels in the blood. It often takes several measurements to determine whether the patient has a low testosterone level or not since the blood levels tend to fluctuate throughout the day with the highest level generally being in the morning.

What is the treatment for Testosterone Deficiency?

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) offers an effective treatment for men with Testosterone Deficiency

TRT can be administered through various routes including:

  • Oral tablets 
  • Injections

Gels

  • Skin patches
  • Surgical implantation of pellets, which release testosterone slowly over a long duration 

Most men notice significant relief from symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks of beginning TRT.

The common benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy include:

  • Improved general health
  • Stronger and more consistent erections
  • Higher sex drive 
  • Enhanced sexual pleasure 
  • Diminished sadness, and irritability 
  • Improved energy levels
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Better sleep
  • Improved muscle mass and strength
  • Increased bone mass

How to prevent Testosterone Deficiency?

Here are a few strategies that men can adopt to prevent Testosterone Deficiency: 

  • Weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise 
  • Consuming a diet rich in nutrients such as fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Routine health check-ups to assess overall health and for early detection of precursors that can lead to Testosterone Deficiency
  • Consumption of food rich in zinc as this mineral is needed for the production of testosterone
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Avoid excessive use of anabolic steroids

How can Men’s Health Clinic Australia Help?

At the Men’s Health Clinic, we have a team of expert medical professionals who have years of experience in managing Testosterone Deficiency. We have helped men of all age groups to avoid the symptoms caused due to the deficiency of testosterone. Our expert physicians assess the symptoms experienced by men to arrive at the right diagnosis related to the cause of Testosterone Deficiency. 

We recommend the best treatment based on the specific symptoms and the underlying medical conditions responsible for the lack of testosterone production. This can help improve your sexual and reproductive functions and allow you to get and maintain erections for a longer duration. 

At MHC, the treatment is customized for each patient to maximize results and prevent the recurrence of the complaints. The treatment is focused on eliminating the primary and secondary causes of Testosterone Deficiency to ensure the results are longer-lasting. 

So, now you do not have to ignore your inability to get erections or any symptom caused due to Testosterone Deficiency. You can seek the advice of our expert physicians at the MHC and receive the most appropriate treatment to liven the passion in your sex life. This will restore the excitement in your sex life and help you enjoy passionate sex for years after years.

If you are unsure of whether you are suffering from Testosterone Deficiency, complete our FREE quiz to find out!

References:

  1. Urology Care Foundation. What is Low Testosterone?. Urology Care Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/low-testosterone
  2. Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J.W., & Brewer, G.J. (May, 1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875519
  3. Rajfer, J. (2000). Relationship between testosterone and erectile dysfunction. Reviews in Urology.  vol. 2,2 (2000): 122-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476110/
  4. Yuki, A., Otsuka, R., Kozakai, R., Kitamura, I., Okura, T., Ando, F., & Shimokata, H. (2013). Relationship between low free testosterone levels and loss of muscle mass. Science Report. 2013;3:1818. doi: 10.1038/srep01818. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23660939.
  5. Kelly, D. M., & Jones, T. H. (July, 2015). Testosterone and Obesity. Obesity Reviews. 2015 Jul;16(7):581-606. doi: 10.1111/obr.12282. Epub 2015 May 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25982085.

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Testosterone Deficiency FAQ

If you are experiencing unexplained mood swings, tiredness, hair loss or sexual dysfunction you may be suffering from falling testosterone levels. Our doctors are equipped with the latest technology to measure your blood and ensure an accurate reading. Alternatively take a Testosterone Symptom checker online .

Testosterone Deficiency is often related to Erectile Dysfunction and there may be ties in certain cases to Premature Ejaculation (PE). Aside from sexual health and performance, healthy levels of testosterone are also a crucial part of optimal physical and emotional health.

Absolutely, treatments for both difficulties can be successfully managed simultaneously. A Men’s Health Clinic Doctor can help plan your treatment to achieve best outcomes.

Advancing age is no barrier to benefiting from testosterone replacement. No matter how old you are, you can turn back the clock on Testosterone Deficiency and enjoy improved health and sexual satisfaction.

Very quickly, especially when compared to the years of suffering that some men have endured prior to treatment. Many patients begin to notice improvement within the first 2 weeks. In the next 1-2 months you should notice improved energy, stamina, vitality, as well as mental benefits like greater ability to focus and concentrate. At this time your sex drive should also improve noticeably, along with your athletic energy and ability to recover more quickly. Begin the low testosterone quiz by starting .