Testosterone is a hormone that controls a wide range of functions within the body, everything from hair growth to certain behavioral tendencies such as competitiveness and aggressiveness. This essential chemical can become depleted due to many different factors including:
Although low testosterone does not normally correct itself, there are some specific causes that are temporary. If you are experiencing high amounts of stress, low amounts of sleep, a sudden and erratic weight change, or use steroids and certain narcotics, then your testosterone production can be lower than normal. Fortunately, the problem of low testosterone most likely reverses itself once these external factors are properly addressed.
Although the symptoms can widely vary, a person with low testosterone will typically experience a loss of hair, bone density, and muscle mass while seeing an increase in fat. They may experience mood changes and sleeping problems, as well as a decrease in their sex drive, semen volume, and their ability to maintain an erection.
Women produce testosterone too, albeit a much smaller amount than males. As such, both genders can experience similar symptoms due to a low testosterone level. A women’s testosterone production usually drops during menopause, and involves excessive fatigue, weight gain, bone and muscle loss, and depression.
A doctor will be able to diagnose your testosterone levels after evaluating the results of a blood test. There is a certain numerical range that your testosterone level should fall at (between 300-1,000 ng/dl) to be considered within normal production rates.Anything under 300ng/dl is considered to be low.
In addition, your doctor may also require a physical exam, additional hormone tests, or an MRI to further diagnose what exactly is causing your testosterone to be low. Your doctor may also check your eyesight for any signs of diminishing peripheral vision, which could indicate a pituitary gland tumor.