Testosterone plays a significant role in many functions in the male body. While it is known as the most influential male sex hormone, testosterone affects much more than just the reproductive organs. For many men, drops in testosterone levels can have a dramatic impact on their health, energy, appearance and sexual well-being. Knowing the signs of low testosterone or “low T” can indicate when men should consider having their hormone levels checked or tested. Also, knowing what causes low T can help you determine the best testosterone treatment option to restore hormonal balance.
What Does Testosterone Do?
Both men and women make the hormone testosterone in their adrenal glands. The female ovaries can also produce testosterone and male testes produce this hormone as well. Testosterone helps with communication within the body systems – it drives bone and muscle growth and the production of sex organs in both genders. In males, testosterone is what drives the changes during puberty, including:
- Facial and body hair growth
- Increase in size of penis and testicles
- Deepened voice
- Increase in sex drive
- Sperm production
The pituitary gland controls the production of testosterone. When levels are too low, the brain triggers the pituitary gland to increase production. If the levels become too high, the pituitary glands will send signals to slow production. This is the normal cycle of testosterone production, but levels can change for a variety of reasons, resulting in symptoms and quality of life concerns.
Symptoms of Low T
There is more awareness around low T than ever before. There are many supplements that are advertised to help men overcome the symptoms of lowered testosterone – many of these supplements are not proven to address low T or increase levels. However, the symptoms listed in many of these ads are true – men with lowered testosterone may experience:
- Lowered libido or sex drive
- Diminished energy levels
- Erectile dysfunction or ED
- Lost muscle mass or strength
- Lowered bone density
- Hair loss
- Mood swings – depression or irritability
- Weight gain and changes in fat storage
While there are other conditions that can cause some of these symptoms, when multiple symptoms exist, it may be a sign that hormone testing is needed. Symptoms alone are not enough to determine low T – men should have their testosterone checked to ensure there are no other causes of their symptoms.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
For males, testosterone reaches its peak levels in the late teens and twenties. For nearly a decade, the levels are normally steady. Most men experience the highest strength, libido and metabolism during this phase, but it does not last forever. In the thirties, the majority of men will begin to have a normal decrease in testosterone. This is a normal biological process, but it is slow and steady.
Aging can contribute to about a 1% decrease in testosterone each year. By the forties, most men are producing at least 10% less than they did in their twenties, but since the decline is slow, there are no dramatic symptoms. Normal aging decreases usually do not create low T, especially before age 40. However, there are other possible causes of low testosterone, which include:
- Injury to the testicles
- Adrenal gland disease
- Pituitary gland dysfunction
- Conditions that impact the testicles, pituitary, hypothalamus or adrenal glands
- Medications and medical treatments (steroids, chemotherapy, opiates, etc.)
- Genetic conditions
- High levels of stress
- Lifestyle choices – excess alcohol, recreational drugs and other activities can impact testosterone
When low T is caused by a medical condition, addressing the health concern may help restore normal testosterone production. Changing certain habits and lifestyle choices may be beneficial to increasing testosterone. However, there is not always an obvious cause for the lowered testosterone levels or low T may not resolve itself on its own. Hormone replacement therapy may be needed to increase testosterone levels to resolve symptoms.
Testing for Low T
When should men consider getting testosterone levels checked? While anyone can experience some of the symptoms of low T occasionally, a combination of several symptoms over a few months or longer can point to a problem. Most men reporting symptoms of low T are over forty, but this does not mean it cannot affect younger men. Hormone imbalance can affect men and women of all ages, which is why testing is needed to accurately determine if that is what is causing symptoms.
Testosterone levels can be checked with a blood lab test. At Arcadia Wellness Center, we specialize in hormone imbalance treatment for both men and women. All evaluations for low T begin with an evaluation of symptoms and medical history. If hormone imbalance is suspected, we perform lab testing to check the testosterone levels. Once the lab tests are completed, we discuss the results with our patients and possible treatment options.
What If I Have Low T?
If your symptoms and test results indicate low testosterone, there are many ways to combat this condition. Medical conditions can be addressed, and medications may need to be changed to help naturally increase the production of testosterone. Lifestyle changes should be considered, especially for those who are overweight or using substances that are impacting their hormone production. However, one of the most effective options for correcting low T is hormone replacement therapy or HRT.
HRT for low T can quickly increase levels of testosterone. At Arcadia Wellness Center, we use testosterone injections for our patients with low T. Many patients begin noticing a change in how they feel almost immediately. Restoring their hormone balance can help increase their energy and libido, and over time, men often notice muscle gain and weight loss. For men who are overweight, HRT can be combined with a medical weight loss program, which we offer at Arcadia Wellness Center.
Hormone replacement therapy is less invasive than you may think. Unlike other medical clinics that require weekly or monthly visits for injections, we have a more lifestyle-friendly treatment available. Our patients only need to visit our clinic every few months for HRT, which saves time and money. You can receive discrete, personalized care if you are experiencing low T with effective HRT at our clinic in Phoenix.
Experiencing Low T Symptoms in Phoenix, AZ?
If you are concerned that you are experiencing low T and want to get your testosterone checked, come see us at Arcadia Wellness Center. Our founder and medical director, Sarah Quinn, specializes in hormone imbalance and effective treatment options. You will receive a personalized hormone imbalance evaluation at our medical center in Phoenix, AZ and we can provide the testing needed to accurately determine your testosterone levels. If treatment is needed, we offer minimally-invasive testosterone replacement therapy through our practice.
You deserve to feel your best at every stage of your life. Anyone who believes they are experiencing hormone imbalance should explore testing and treatment options – we offer hormone testing and HRT for men and women. Our experienced medical team at Arcadia Wellness Center can help you determine whether hormone replacement therapy is right for you or if there are other treatment options. Call us to schedule your appointment for hormone imbalance or low T screening at our medical clinic in Phoenix, AZ.