Low Testosterone: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

June is National Men’s Health Month, and it is the perfect time to think about testosterone replacement therapy for men! Testosterone is needed for maintaining muscle mass, proper levels of red blood cells, bone growth, a sense of well-being, and sexual function. There is a natural decline of testosterone in males which starts about age 30.

Some causes of low testosterone include:

· Injury, infection, or loss of testicles

· Chemotherapy or radiation

· Hemochromatosis (too much iron)

· Pituitary gland dysfunction

· Inflammatory diseases

· Some medications

· Chronic illness, including chronic kidney failure and liver cirrhosis

· Alcoholism

· Obesity

Some symptoms include:

· Loss of sex drive

· Erectile dysfunction

· Feeling depressed

· Having a decreased sense of well-being

· Difficulty concentrating

· Difficulty sleeping

Low testosterone is accurately diagnosed by measuring blood levels. Since it changes throughout the day, several measurements are usually needed to properly diagnose. A deficiency can be treated by:

· Testosterone gel & cream (bio-identical option is available)

· Intramuscular injections

· Testosterone patch

· Long-acting subcutaneous implant

Each option offers sufficient levels of hormone replacement, but they all have different advantages and disadvantages. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which option is best for you.