As men age, many have questions about erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is sometimes caused by low testosterone, which raises more questions: how do you know you have low testosterone, and if so can low testosterone be treated, and will boosting it solve the erectile dysfunction problem?
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Decreasing levels of testosterone are a normal part of aging. Testosterone kicks into high gear during puberty. It’s what gives a man his deep voice, muscles, and sex drive. Physically, testosterone is what makes a man a man. But after 30, most men start experiencing a decline in testosterone production. It’s a gradual change, and normal. However, about 40% of men have abnormally low testosterone levels as they reach their 40s and 50s.
Symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Mental fog
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Weight (fat) gain
- Loss of bone density
You may have some or all of these symptoms to some degree, but the only way to determine whether the culprit is low testosterone is to do a blood test. It’s not a given that ED, for example, is definitely caused by low testosterone.
Testosterone levels range from 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to 800 ng/dL. Anything lower than 300 ng/dL is abnormally low.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone can have several causes aside from aging, including genetic conditions, medicines, thyroid problems, chronic stress, obesity, infection, injury to the testicles, liver disease, kidney disease, Type II diabetes, HIV/AIDS, or hormonal disorders.
What You Can Do
If you’re concerned about low testosterone, first get tested – don’t guess. If you have low testosterone, you have a couple of options:
- Testosterone replacement
Gonadotropin injections may be indicated if you have low testosterone and trying to increase sperm count to start a family. You can also opt for implantable testosterone pellets which are surgically placed under the buttocks skin where they time-release testosterone over the course of several months. Another option is using a nasal gel.
If the symptoms are due to low testosterone, symptoms are usually alleviated quickly as a result of testosterone replacement. However, testosterone treatment isn’t without risk. It can accelerate prostate growth and enlarge his breasts – and, once you begin replacement therapy, you must stay on it for the rest of your life.
- Natural testosterone boosters
The optimal solution is to support your body in producing more testosterone naturally, on its own. Essentially, you want to restore balance in your hormones. You can do this by making good lifestyle choices including more exercise, especially high-intensity workouts and weight lifting; a better diet low in carb; and managing stress. This is a great option because it’s completely natural and does not have side effects. However, it can take several weeks to notice much improvement. This is because it takes time for the body to recalibrate and to restore normal hormonal levels.
There’s no reason to suffer the effects of low testosterone, when you have options! If a blood test determines that you do have low testosterone, you can choose several ways to manage it, depending on the severity of your symptoms.