Over time, low testosterone may cause a man to lose body hair, muscle bulk and strength, accumulate body fat, and have weaker bones (Osteoporosis), mood changes, less energy, and smaller testes.
- Testosterone is the most important sex hormone that men have. Its function is to promote typical male characteristics and help maintain men’s health together with sex drive, sperm production, pubic and body hair, muscle, and bone.The brain controls the production of testosterone by the testes. Low testosterone (also called hypogonadism) can cause:
- A drop in sex drive
- Poor erections
- Low sperm count
- Enlarged breasts
Low testosterone can be caused by injury to the testes (e.g., trauma, castration,radiation or chemotherapy), testicular infection, hormonal disorders (e.g., pituitary tumors or diseases, high levels of prolactin), or other systemic diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS, chronic liver and kidney disease too much body fat, and type 2 diabetes and associated obesity). Some medications and several genetic conditions (e.g., Klinefelter syndrome, hemochromatosis, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and mytonic dystrophy) can also cause low testosterone. Many older men have low testosterone levels and, in many cases, the cause is not known.
During a physical exam, your doctor will examine body hair,breast size, consistency and size of the testes, scrotum, penis size, etc. Your doctor will also use blood tests to evaluate if the total testosterone level is within the normal range. To diagnose low testosterone you may need more than one early-morning (7-10 AM) blood test and, sometimes, other tests of the pituitary gland’s hormones.