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Understanding Low Testosterone

Low testosterone is a hormonal condition that can significantly diminish your quality of life. 

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone that plays many important roles in the human body. Hormones are chemicals that send messages throughout the body, usually by moving through the bloodstream. 

Although it’s considered a male sex hormone, testosterone is also produced in women, just in lower amounts. In men, testosterone is responsible for:

  • The development of male characteristics
  • Regulating libido 
  • Maintaining bone mass and fat distribution
  • Maintaining muscle mass and strength
  • Producing sperm
  • Producing red blood cells

In women, testosterone supports muscle mass, bone density, libido, energy, mood, and cognitive function. 

The Effects of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone in men is also known as low T or male hypogonadism. It occurs when the testicles don’t produce enough testosterone. Testosterone levels naturally decline with age, so low T is more common in older men. However, it may also be caused by:

  • Congenital conditions, like isolated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism 
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Poorly managed diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Iron overload
  • Liver cirrhosis

Symptoms of low T can include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low libido
  • Lost body hair
  • Reduced beard growth
  • Lost muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia 
  • Weight gain
  • Low sperm count

How is Low Testosterone Treated?

If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, your physician can first check your hormone levels with saliva and blood tests. If low T is determined to be the root of your symptoms, testosterone replacement therapy is generally used to restore optimal testosterone levels.

Hormone replacement therapy comes in many forms, including pellet implants, injections, skin patches, pills, and topical creams or gels. Your physician will consider your medical history and lifestyle factors to help you find the best option for your needs. 

Schedule an appointment at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine to learn more about treatment options for low testosterone.  

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