There is a good reason men go girl-crazy in their teens see and twenties: discover this Their testosterone levels are at their peak. From Source there, however, testosterone levels gradually decrease.
"After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone," says David Samadi, MD, chairman of the urology department at Lenox Hill Hospital in nyc.
Though testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause), low testosterone levels men to experience symptoms like fatigue, low libido, and reduction of muscle mass.
While reduced testosterone is more common in older men, it can occur in younger men as well. Fortunately, all of the causes of low testosterone in young guys are curable, so in the event that you encounter such symptoms at any given age, there is no reason to ignore it.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Younger Men
For younger men, a fall in testosterone levels may be brought on by some ailments, such as type 2 diabetes, chronic liver or kidney disease, COPD or other lung disease, or adrenal gland issues, based on Dr. Samadi.
Genetic causes of low testosterone in men include the diseases Klinefelter syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Myotonic dystrophy. Another disorder that could cause low testosterone is hemochromatosis, which makes the body shop too much iron.
"Low testosterone can also result when something happens, like trauma or steroid use, that prevents the testes from making the hormone," states Bruce Gilbert, MD, PhD, an adjunct clinical professor of urology and reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of reproductive and sexual medicine in the Smith Institute for Urology of their North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Other causes of low testosterone in males younger than 50 include pituitary gland tumors, HIV disease, and radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer.
Doctors categorize causes of low testosterone as primary or secondary.
"Primary hypogonadism stems from a problem in the testicles," Samadi states. "This could be from a developmental issue, injury to the testicles, or radiation or chemotherapy treatment. In secondary hypogonadism, the testicles are normal but function improperly because of a problem with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland."
Can It Be Low Testosterone?
Regardless of the reason, low testosterone symptoms are the same.
"Symptoms include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, decreased mental acuity, and moodiness," Dr. Gilbert says.
Your doctor can diagnose low testosterone with a blood test.
Treatments for Low Testosterone in Younger Men
Not everyone with low testosterone needs treatment. "When it comes to treating low testosterone in older men, we usually reserve treatment for those who have symptoms, such as tiredness and low libido," Gilbert says.
In these circumstances,"treatments are often used just in the short term, and when a doctor has close observation and knowledge of the patient," Gilbert says.
An important consideration for younger men before getting treatment is fertility. "You do not wish to offer supplemental testosterone to guys who want to be fertile because it can turn off sperm production," Gilbert says.
Once a young man goes off testosterone supplementation, there's a chance his sperm count will never return to what it was before he started. "Therefore, men of reproductive age should consider alternatives that might improve their testosterone as well as preserve their sperm production," he states. One such alternative is a category of drugs known as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).
Other treatments for low testosterone include weight loss and other lifestyle modifications, such as eating healthier and raising exercise.
The main point, though, is that if you have low testosterone symptoms, it's very important to see your physician. Then, your doctor can rule out more significant causes of your symptoms, such as high blood pressure or a thyroid problem, and give treatment that could improve your energy and quality of life.