Testosterone is a natural hormone produced by the testes in men; it is also produced in small amounts by the ovaries in women. Having low levels of testosterone is a condition that has been described in both men and women. Low testosterone levels can be caused by problems with the testes and ovaries themselves or conditions that affect the pituitary gland and hypothalamus of the brain. Aging is also a known cause of low testosterone in men, and obesity can also lower testosterone levels.
Symptoms of low testosterone in men can include
- erectile dysfunction (ED),
- decreased libido (low sex drive), and
Men with low T can also show a loss of muscle mass, hair loss, and low bone density (osteoporosis). Increased body fat, depression, mood changes, lack of energy, and sleep disturbances have also been linked with low levels of testosterone. If low T occurs prior to puberty, sexual maturation can be affected. Symptoms of low testosterone in women can include
- a decrease in libido,
- hot flashes,
- sleep disturbances,
- loss of muscle mass,
- loss of body hair,
Other causes of low testosterone (low t)
- Abnormal Pituitary Development
- Certain Medications (Including Some Cancer Chemotherapy, Hormones, and Opiate Pain Medications)
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Hormonal Disorders
- Kallmann Syndrome
- Pituitary Tumor
- Primary Hypogonadism
- Radiation Therapy
- Trauma or Injury to the Testes
- Undescended Testicles
Main Article on Low Testosterone (Low T)
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Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Low testosterone (low-T) can be caused by conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver or kidney disease, hormonal disorders, certain infections, and hypogonadism. Signs and symptoms that a person may have low-T include insomnia, increased body fat, weight gain, reduced muscle, infertility, decreased sex drive, depression, and worsening of congestive heart failure or sleep apnea. Low-T can be treated with testosterone therapy in the form of gels, injections, pellets, or skin patches. Side effects of testosterone treatment include acne, anxiety, hair loss, headache, and change in sex drive (libido).
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Tartavoulle, Todd M., and Demetrius J. Porche. "Low Testosterone." Journal for Nurse Practitioners 8.10 (2012): 778-786. <https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775165>.