Low testosterone simply means having a level of testosterone that is below the normal range. The medical term for low testosterone is hypogonadism. It is a result of the testes not functioning normally. Imbalanced internal hormone production can also be the reason for hypogonadism. This condition can occur in men of any age, but testosterone normally declines progressively as men age.
Although low testosterone is not a common condition, doctors believe that 5 out of 1,000 men are suffering from some form of hypogonadism. The number of men with low testosterone increases with age. According to studies, men over the age of 50 have moderate to severe symptoms of low testosterone.
What causes low testosterone?
Hypogonadism has two main types, the primary and secondary hypogonadism, and each has its own cause. Moreover, another type of low testosterone condition is evident among aging men, which is a combination of primary and secondary hypogonadism. This type of low testosterone condition is known as late-onset hypogonadism.
Primary hypogonadism is caused by the abnormal function of the testes, while secondary hypogonadism is caused by hormonal imbalance. Late-onset hypogonadism is associated with aging. It is natural for men to have a decline in testosterone level as they age, usually starting at the age of 30. This is caused by the reduced function of the testes and the imbalance of the hormonal system of the body. This condition is further accelerated by poor health.
What are risk factors for low testosterone?
Although it is not a serious condition, it is crucial to have yourself checked and undergo a thorough medical test. It can lead to further medical complications if left untreated. You must also be aware of the factors that could increase your risk of having low testosterone. Here are the risk factors for hypogonadism:
- Klinefelter’s syndrome – a genetic deficiency in testosterone production.
- Injury to the testes – since they are hanging outside the body without a protection from a bone or muscle. Any injury or damage to the testes can lower the production of testosterone.
- Un-descended testes – the development of the testes occurs within the abdomen and they would normally descend into the scrotum just before birth. However, it is possible that one or both of the testes will not descend at birth, which happens commonly in boys born prematurely and some in boys born at full term.
- Mumps orchitis – this type of infection usually involves the testes and the saliva glands. Long-term damage of the testes may occur and can affect the production of testosterone if the person is affected by this infection during adolescence or adulthood.
- Cancer and cancer treatment – low testosterone can also be a result of cancer of the testes or pituitary tumors. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy to treat cancer can also lead to low testosterone production.
- Hormone system imbalance – hormonal imbalance can be caused by Kallmann syndrome, which involves abnormality of the hypothalamus, and it can lead to low testosterone. Normal testosterone production can be affected by pituitary disorders, which impair the release of hormones in the body.
- Chronic illnesses – liver disease, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome can lead to low testosterone. Chronic illnesses can be the cause or the result of low testosterone.
- Natural Aging – testosterone level in the body normally declines as men age.
How can low testosterone be treated?
The most popular treatment for low testosterone is the hormone replacement therapy for men. It involves taking in synthetic testosterone to boost up the level of testosterone in the body to its normal range. One must go through a medical test first. When diagnosed by a doctor or a medical professional, hormone replacement therapy for men will be recommended. The treatment comes in many forms including pills, patches, gels, injections, and more.