Low Testosterone (Low-T)

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Low Testosterone Pictures Slideshow

Low Libido (Low Sex Drive) Symptoms

A decrease in sex drive can develop both due to medical conditions as well as to psychological or emotional issues. Inhibited sexual desire is a type of sexual dysfunction that affects both men and women.

  • A reduction in sexual desire has been associated with low levels of testosterone in men.
  • Women in the menopausal transitions sometimes report a decrease in sex drive.

Low testosterone (Low-T) facts

  • Low testosterone (low-T) is underproduction or lack of production of testosterone.
  • Causes of low-T include chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, infections, obesity, or other hormonal conditions.
  • Symptoms of low-T include:
    • change in sleep patterns,
    • reduced sex drive (low libido),
    • sexual dysfunction,
    • infertility, and
    • emotional changes
    • decreased strength
    • weight gain.
  • Low-T testing includes linking symptoms with testosterone blood levels.
  • Treatment options for low-T include different forms of testosterone replacement therapy.

Low testosterone (Low-T) definition

Testosterone is a hormone required for male development and sexual function and is produced primarily in the testicles. It is responsible for building muscle and bone mass as well as sperm production and sex drive. It influences male pattern fat distribution, bone density, and red blood cell production.

Lack of or underproduction of testosterone either directly due to decreased production in the testes or indirectly due to lack of stimulation of the testes to produce testosterone by the pituitary gland is called hypogonadism and is a medical condition requiring treatment.

In the normal developing male, testosterone peaks during early adulthood. Once you reach age 30, testosterone levels slowly decline by approximately 1% a year. This is a normal part of aging.

What are the normal levels of testosterone in men?

The low limit of testosterone levels in men is about 300 nanograms per deciliter and the upper normal limit is approximately 1000-1200 ng/dl. A low level needs to be investigated further to distinguish it from normal aging.

What causes low testosterone (Low-T)

Some of the conditions that can lead to a low level are:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes (type 2)
  • Chronic medical conditions (especially liver or kidney disease)
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Infections
  • Medications (narcotics, chemotherapy)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/23/2016
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