The Effects of Low Testosterone Levels

Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone responsible for male physiological and sexual development. Low testosterone results in a number of harmful side effects, sexual problems and health risks. It is caused by a number of conditions, some of which are congenital, and doctors can prescribe hormone replacement to treat testosterone deficiency.

The Effects of Low Testosterone Levels
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What Is Testosterone?

In mammals, testosterone is a hormone produced in the testes of males (where it produces sperm), in small amounts in female ovaries and in the adrenal glands of both sexes. It functions in the body as an androgen, and stimulates muscle growth by increasing protein synthesis inside of muscle cells. It also promotes bone density and the production of red blood cells. In males undergoing puberty, testosterone causes masculine characteristics that include a deepening of the voice and increased facial and body hair.

In males undergoing puberty, testosterone causes masculine characteristics that include a deepening of the voice and increased facial and body hair.
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Physiological Effects

Low amounts of testosterone can result in a number of physiological effects that include decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis (low bone density) and lowered red blood cell counts (mild anemia). It can also cause changes in body composition, raising the percentage of body fat, and also affecting the distribution of adipose tissue. These changes can result in a decrease in overall energy levels and fatigue, and can increase the amount of recovery time needed after exercise.

Low testosterone also affects the heart and circulatory system, coinciding with high blood pressure, increased levels of bad cholesterol and heightened risk of heart attack brought about by the dilation of arteries and/or blood clots.

Low amounts of testosterone can result in decrease in overall energy levels and fatigue, and can increase the amount of recovery time needed after exercise.
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Sexual Dysfunction

Pre-pubescent boys and boys during pubertal years who suffer from a lack of testosterone can experience delayed-onset puberty. This can result in decreased bone and muscle growth, can prevent the testicles from descending into the scrotum, delay sperm production and can prevent the onset of male characteristics.

Men with low testosterone have also experienced a lessened libido and have reported difficulty in achieving or maintaining erections and impotence.

Pre-pubescent boys and boys during pubertal years who suffer from a lack of testosterone can experience delayed-onset puberty.
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Psychological Effects

Low testosterone has caused depression, increased irritability, mental fatigue (inability to remember or concentrate) and a decline in overall sense of well-being and mental health.

Low testosterone can cause depression.
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Causes

Aging is the most common cause of low testosterone in men. After age 25, the body’s natural production of testosterone begins to decline at a rate of two percent per year. Low testosterone can also result from stress, alcoholism, too much iron in the blood, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, AIDS, sarcoidosis (a disease that causes inflammation of lung and organ tissue) and some medications.

Chemotherapy and radiation used to treat cancer can also cause of low testosterone, as can injuries or trauma to the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or testicles.

Aging is the most common cause of low testosterone in men.
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Treatment

To treat low testosterone, doctors can prescribe hormone replacement therapy. This regimen involves supplementing the body’s production of testosterone with pharmaceutical sources. A number of treatment options are available, including intra-muscular injections, oral tablets, and trans-dermal creams, sprays and patches applied to the skin.

To treat low testosterone, doctors can prescribe hormone replacement therapy.
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