Effects of Low Testosterone
Depression, fatigue, and impotence are some of the possible effects of low testosterone levels in adult men. However, the specific effects will depend largely on the age of the person when the problem starts. For young boys who have low testosterone, it can affect how they progress through puberty. Low testosterone in a male fetus may affect the development of male genitalia.
An Overview of Low Testosterone EffectsLow testosterone levels can lead to a wide variety of effects in the body, depending primarily on the age of the individual when the problem begins. In general, the symptoms are more severe with younger individuals and less severe with older men. In fact, the symptoms of low testosterone in adult men are often quite subtle.
(This article focuses on the effects of low testosterone in men, as the current knowledge of the role of low testosterone in women is still developing.)
Effects of Low Testosterone in Adult MalesIf low testosterone first develops in adulthood, the effects can be subtle and nonspecific, meaning they could be caused by a number of unrelated conditions. Some of these effects might include:
- Fatigue and low energy
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Decreased muscle mass and increased fat mass
- Problems with impotence (also known as erectile dysfunction, or ED)
- Decreased bone strength, which could lead to broken bones
In our modern society where "normal" often includes being overweight, overworked, and short on exercise, these symptoms are probably quite common, even among men with normal testosterone levels. This is part of the reason why the condition should not be diagnosed based on symptoms alone.
Testosterone levels normally decline with age, although there is some debate as to how much of a decrease in testosterone is expected and normal. Similarly, it could be debated that some of the effects of low testosterone in older men are normal and are simply an expected part of aging.
The younger the man, the more obvious and unacceptable the effects might be -- mostly, because they are unexpected in young men. However, any such symptoms occurring in excess of what would be normal for a particular age should be considered "red flags" for low testosterone.
Some people may wonder about the link between low testosterone and a low sperm count. While a low sperm count isn't really a symptom of low testosterone -- at least in the sense that it is not caused by the low testosterone -- it is something that sometimes occurs along with low testosterone. There are some medical problems that cause low testosterone and can also affect sperm production.