There is a good reason men go girl-crazy in their teens and twenties: Their go nowwhy not try these out testosterone levels are at their peak. From that view point, though, testosterone levels slowly decrease.
"After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone," says David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in nyc.
Though testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause), low testosterone levels men to experience symptoms such as fatigue, low libido, and reduction of muscle mass.
While reduced testosterone is more prevalent in older men, it may occur in younger men as well. Fortunately, all of the causes of low testosterone in young guys are treatable, so in the event that you experience such symptoms at any given age, there's no reason to dismiss it.
For younger men, a drop in testosterone levels may be caused by some illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disorder, or pituitary gland problems, based on Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in men include the ailments Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disorder which can cause low testosterone is hemochromatosis, which makes the body shop too much iron.
"Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone," says Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and reproductive medicine at the Smith Institute for Urology of their North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Other causes of low testosterone in men younger than 50 contain adrenal gland tumors, HIV infection, and radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as primary or secondary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi states. In secondary hypogonadism, the testicles are normal but function improperly because of a problem with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland."
Is It Low Testosterone?
Regardless of the reason, low testosterone symptoms are the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert states.
"Younger men with low testosterone usually come to me and say, ‘I can't work out like I used to, and I've lost interest in sex.’ ”
If your blood test reveals low testosterone (usually defined as a level lower than 300 ng/dL), the doctor may treat you or refer you to a specialist, such as a urologist or endocrinologist.
Treatments for Low Testosterone in Younger Men
"When it comes to treating low testosterone in younger men, we usually reserve treatment for people who have symptoms, such as tiredness and reduced libido," Gilbert says.
In these circumstances,"treatments are usually used only in the brief term, and when a doctor has close observation and knowledge of the patient," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You don't want to give supplemental testosterone to men who want to be fertile because it can turn off sperm production," Gilbert says.
Once a young man goes off testosterone supplementation, there's a chance his sperm count will never return to what it was before he started. "Hence, men of reproductive age should think about alternatives which may improve their testosterone as well as preserve their sperm production," he says. One such choice is a category of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other treatments for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle changes, like eating healthier and increasing exercise.
The bottom line, though, is that in the event that you've got low testosterone symptoms, then it is important to see your doctor. Then, your doctor can rule out more serious causes of your symptoms, such as high blood pressure or a thyroid problem, and give treatment that can improve your energy and high quality of life.