Many of your questions can be answered in our low testosterone FAQ.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone in the body that assists in the development of a mans sexual organs, including sperm and secondary sexual traits. It is important for sexual and reproductive development. In men, testosterone is produced mainly in the testicles, with a small amount made in the adrenal glands.
Testosterone is involved in the development of male sex organs prior to birth. Also, the development of secondary sex characteristics at puberty, such as voice deepening, increased penis and testicle size, and increased facial and body hair. According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone also plays a role in sex drive, sperm production, fat distribution, red cell production, and maintenance of muscle mass and strength.
What causes low testosterone?
Low testosterone can be caused by a number of things including age, trauma/injury to the testes, infection, and tumors. The most common cause of Low T is Andropause, also known as male menopause. Andropause is the gradual decline in the production of hormones, namely testosterone, due to age. During puberty, testosterone helps build a man’s muscles, deepens his voice, and boosts the size of his penis and testicles. During adulthood, it keeps a man’s muscles and bones strong and helps maintain a strong sex drive.
After the age of 30, men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone levels. A decrease in libido sometimes accompanies the drop in testosterone. This leads men to mistakenly believe that their loss of interest in sex is simply due to them getting older.
Various medicines and genetic conditions can also lower a man’s testosterone score. The natural aging process does contribute to low scores, and in some cases, the cause is unknown. Testosterone levels vary, and can differ depending on the time of day they’re measured with levels tending to be lower in the evening.
How to get testosterone tested?
Atlanta Men’s Clinic performs a simple and quick blood test to check testosterone levels. The test only takes a few minutes and will be performed by one of our qualified medical professionals.
The low side of man’s normal total testosterone range is about 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). The upper limit for testosterone levels is around 800ng/dL depending on the lab.
When looking at testosterone levels adjusted for age, you’ll see that a young man near the bottom of the current reference range is very much below average.
Average Testosterone Levels by Age in Men
What labs are performed when testing for Low T?
Our clinic runs a series of hormone tests and panels to determine the amount of total testosterone, free testosterone, and estrogen in your body.
Total testosterone, also referred to as serum testosterone, is the total amount of testosterone in your blood, and is measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). It’s also the most commonly discussed and frequently used to determine the need for TRT.
Free testosterone, also commonly referred to as bioavailable testosterone, is the testosterone in the blood that is available to bind to receptors in the brain, muscle, and other organs of the body. The measurement is the amount of testosterone in your blood that isn’t bound by Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). It’s free to act on tissues, and is available to be used by the body giving you masculine characteristics. Free testosterone is measured in picograms per milliliter (pg/mL).
Free testosterone is an important value often overlooked. Many patients report that their doctor checked their “total testosterone” and said it was fine. However, your total testosterone can be within the normal limits, while the Free T can be low giving you symptoms of Low T.
Estrogen levels, also referred to as Estradiol E2. These levels are linked closely to your testosterone levels, and your body converts testosterone into estradiol through a process called aromatization. Even though estrogen is the female sex hormone, it is still required in the male body.
Estradiol is involved in a variety of bodily functions. It has been linked to fertility, bone density. sexual desire, as well as regulating body fat. Estrogen levels are extremely important to monitor should you decide to undergo treatment. It can give can give insight into many of the common side effects of TRT.
What are symptoms of low testosterone?
There are a number of symptoms of low testosterone. Some of which include fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, moodiness, increased body fat, and more. Additionally, lower testosterone scores often lead to drops in bone density. This means that bones become more fragile and increasingly prone to breaks. However, someone with a lower score still may not show any symptoms. That being said, even if a man does not show any symptoms, he may be well advised to seek treatment.
Are the shots/injections painful?
Each patient has a varying pain tolerance, but most don’t experience any pain or discomfort from testosterone injections.
Can Low T effect the size of your penis?
For a lot of men, increasing their penis size is a big thing. And many wonder if testosterone therapy can help you achieve this. So what is the relationship between your testosterone production and penis size?
As young males go through puberty, testosterone levels during that time will affect the size of your penis. Before puberty, testosterone concentrations are similar to that of a girl, but as you age and become a man, production increases a lot. However, does low T affect your penis size during adulthood?
The good news is that lower testosterone levels in older males does not necessarily affect the size of your penis. Though other sexual health issues can still arise like your ability to maintain an erection (ED), and a low sex drive (decreased libido).
If you think you’re suffering symptoms of low testosterone, schedule an appointment and have your blood checked to find out if Low T is the cause.