Sep 29, 2016

20 Things to Understand About Low Testosterone

10. It Doesn’t Actually Cause a Lot of Erectile Dysfunction

Most doctors report that they are getting patients asking about low testosterone treatments because the patients are dealing with erectile dysfunction. While it is true that the diminished libido associated with low testosterone can make it harder for a man to sustain an erection, low testosterone does not actually cause erectile dysfunction. The primary cause of erectile dysfunction is actually reduced blood flow in the penis because of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The two different conditions often get confused because they are both affected by libido and tend to occur among senior men. However, increasing a man’s testosterone levels will not always result in reduced erectile dysfunction if another health issue is causing this problem.

11. Substance Abuse Makes the Problem Worse

When men are advised to avoid heavy drinking and smoking tobacco, they have a tendency to just assume that their doctor wants them to generally increase their health. However, there is a very real and very specific reason why this is advised for men who have low testosterone.

Drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using marijuana or opiates are all some of the primary reasons for low testosterone among younger men. These substances actually cause a rise in estrogen and a subsequent lowering in testosterone that can contribute to issues with testosterone. Alcohol is particularly problematic at higher levels, so more than two drinks per day can greatly increase a man’s estrogen levels.

12. Natural Testosterone Levels Vary Wildly

Of course it is obvious that low testosterone just means testosterone levels that are lower than average, but many people do not realize just how much testosterone levels fluctuate naturally among men. In women, blood testosterone levels should be somewhere between 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter. Men should have somewhere between 300 to 1,000 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood.

Technically, a hormone blood test of below 300 nanograms per deciliter is required to count as having low testosterone. Therefore, it is possible for one man to have far less testosterone naturally than another man without actually having low testosterone.

Burlingham /

Burlingham /

13. Having Low Testosterone Harms the Bones

Though low levels of the hormone estrogen are the hormonal imbalance most likely to cause osteoporosis, testosterone also plays an important part.

The bones are a constantly changing structure that is always removing old bone cells and producing new bone cells. However, as people age, the rate of new bone cell is reduced until the rate of bone cell removal overtakes it. This results in a lowered bone density that can cause severe fractures if a person just trips, falls a few inches, or bumps up against a countertop.

Testosterone helps to improve bone thickness, so without it, the bones are already at a disadvantage. Extended levels of low testosterone can result in dangerously weakened and brittle bones.

14. It Can Only Be Diagnosed by a Doctor

Unfortunately, the growing awareness about the effects of testosterone has encouraged some people to self-diagnose themselves, and it is possible to get testosterone supplements without a prescription through the internet. In a concerning survey by the FDA, it was discovered that 25 percent of people taking testosterone supplements had not actually gotten their testosterone levels tested before getting supplements.

Many men mistakenly think that there are no negative side effects to taking testosterone supplements, just in case their levels might be low. However, excessive testosterone has been linked to an increased risk of heart problems and prostate cancer. Therefore, you should always talk to a doctor about having your testosterone levels tested before you immediately jump into self-medicating.

15. Long Term Supplementation May Be Harmful

Now that more and more men are starting to take testosterone supplements in their early 40s and 50s, there is some growing concern about the long term effects of supplementation. No medical studies have examined patients who take testosterone supplements for more than thirty years. Though there are not many men who have taken supplements for a long period of time, there is a small yet worrying amount of evidence that it increases risks of heart attacks, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

For men with very low testosterone, the benefits of supplementation may outweigh the advantages. However, as more information about long term testosterone supplements is discovered, the frequency with which doctors are prescribing them may change.

Monkey Business Images /

Monkey Business Images /

16. It Can Sometimes Be Caused by Serious Health Conditions

After being diagnosed with low testosterone, just taking supplements and trying to improve testosterone levels is not enough. Sometimes low T just happens with age or due to under producing gonads, but at other times, the reason for changes in testosterone is much more concerning.

Since the production of hormones is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, any issues with these glands can halt testosterone production. A tumor pressing against the pituitary and hypothalamus can prevent them from working properly, and if left untreated, it could spread to harm other areas by the brain. If you suspect that you have low testosterone, getting it treated promptly is very important.

17. New Treatments Are Being Developed

The issue with a lot of testosterone supplements is that they do not produce testosterone at a naturally steady rate. Instead, a lot of creams or pills cause a sudden spike in testosterone that reduces rather rapidly. Though it is better than having excessively low testosterone levels, it still causes some imbalances. Intramuscular injections are typically released at a lower rate, but they can be inconvenient and uncomfortable.

A possible new option are the implants a few pharmaceutical companies are creating that would release a low, steady stream of testosterone. Though gonadotropin supplementation is not as reliable as straight testosterone supplementation, injections with this hormone can sometimes help to stimulate the production of testosterone. However, gonadotropin is only an option if the gonads are otherwise working fine.

18. Your Diet Makes a Difference

Since testosterone cannot be built without the right nutrients, what you eat does impact testosterone production. Though diet changes will not be helpful if your low testosterone is due to damaged organs, it can be helpful if you just have generally reduced testosterone levels.

To even get started on producing testosterone, our glands need adequate amounts of zinc and magnesium. Zinc and magnesium are mostly found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Testosterone is then synthesized from cholesterol, so a person needs a decent amount of fat and cholesterol in their diet. Nuts, eggs, and avocados are all great sources of healthy fats and cholesterols. Since obesity just further decreases testosterone, it is important to eat the correct number of calories while increasing fat uptake.

Rachata Teyparsit /

Rachata Teyparsit /

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