Low testosterone, also called low T, leads to a reduced sex drive, sexual dysfunction, low muscle mass, lethargy, a decrease in bone strength, a depressed mood, and more. At ProMD Health in Annapolis, MD, we help men by administering testosterone treatment. But why do so many men experience low T? Read on to find out what causes this issue and how you can keep your testosterone levels high.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
After age 30 or 40, most men’s testosterone levels decrease by around 1% per year. By the time a man reaches his 60s or 70s, the amount of testosterone produced is significantly lower. Although this change is completely normal, men are often concerned by it because they might have trouble getting and maintaining erections, building up muscle mass, and staying slim.
There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of low T. Certain medical and genetic conditions reduce the amount of testosterone present in the body. Medications, alcohol, and drugs change a person’s hormonal balance, so they lead to low T in some men. A bad diet, a lack of exercise, and prolonged periods of stress also increase a patient’s risk of problematic testosterone levels.
There are several genetic conditions that limit a man’s testosterone production. A common one is Klinefelter Syndrome, a disorder that affects the growth of the testes. Men with Klinefelter syndrome are infertile, and they usually have a low sex drive because their body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. They are also prone to conditions like osteoporosis, and they have a harder time building up muscles than other men.
Aside from genetic issues, certain medical conditions that develop throughout a person’s lifetime also affect testosterone levels. Infections like mumps, an injury to the testes, heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease, and chronic liver or kidney disease can all lead to low T. If you have a serious medical condition, speak to your primary physician before getting testosterone treatment to make sure it won’t put your health at risk.
Medication or Treatment
Some kinds of treatments and medications affect the patient’s hormone levels. If you take long-acting opioids, your risk of developing low T is much higher than if you take short-acting opioids. Some other drugs that cause hormonal issues are beta blockers, chemotherapy, tranquilizers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and hypertension drugs.
When starting a new type of medication, speak to your doctor about potential side effects. If low T is one of them, you might need to come to the clinic for treatment. It’s important to only take medication that a qualified medical professional has prescribed. Sometimes, patients come to the clinic with hormonal issues because they have been taking drugs that aren’t right for them or they’ve been taking someone else’s medication.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Consuming too much alcohol negatively affects virtually every aspect of a person’s life. Heavy drinkers often experience problems with their sexual function and mood because alcohol interferes with all three glands that produce testosterone. In the short term, testosterone can no longer be released from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, and in the long term, cells in the testes can be damaged.
Illegal drugs also affect testosterone levels in various ways. If you regularly consume street drugs or large quantities of alcohol, low T treatment might not be effective because these substances destroy your body’s ability to produce testosterone. Reduce your consumption before coming to the clinic. If you find this challenging, or you need support and accountability, reach out to an addiction specialist.
The foods you eat have a massive impact on the way your body functions. A pro-inflammatory diet reduces the amount of testosterone in your system and increases your chances of low T by up to 30%. This is partly because you’re more likely to be obese if you eat lots of carbohydrates and sugars, and obesity is linked to low levels of testosterone. Inflammation also puts stress on your body and reduces your glands’ function.
Fortunately, this is one of the easiest issues to fix. Avoid soft drinks, sugary and fatty foods, excessive amounts of carbohydrates, and milk products. Instead, eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fish. Some patients also see good results after switching to organic foods, which contain fewer harmful chemicals. If you struggle with nutrition, consider enlisting the help of a nutritionist or dietitian.
A Lack of Exercise
Men who exercise very rarely are much more likely to experience low testosterone than those who are very active. Exercise helps the body to regulate many of its functions, including hormone production. However, some types of exercise are better at helping men regulate their testosterone levels than others. Resistance training and high-intensity interval training are the two most effective kinds of workouts.
If you’re not currently working out at least three times a week, get a gym membership or hire a personal trainer. Try to do weightlifting exercises for two to three hours every week to keep your muscles and bones strong. There are various HIIT exercises, but a simple one is to run on the treadmill for 90 seconds and then rest for 90 seconds. Studies have shown that this is much more effective at elevating testosterone levels than running for 45 minutes straight.
Stress and Anxiety
When you’re stressed, your body produces less testosterone, and when you have less testosterone in your body, you feel more anxious and stressed. It’s hard to break out of this vicious cycle on your own, and you might need medication to do so. While getting treated, make sure to keep your stress levels low by meditating, doing gentle exercises, and spending a lot of time with your loved ones.
One of the most important ways of managing stress and negative emotions is getting enough sleep. Come up with a peaceful and calming evening routine that helps your body to relax, and make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. It’s almost always best not to use any electronic devices for one or two hours before going to bed.
What Are the Symptoms of Low T?
Now you know what causes low T, you might wonder what the symptoms are. Most men who no longer produce enough testosterone experience a decrease in their sexual function. They might no longer have a high sex drive, and they often have trouble achieving or maintaining erections. This can affect the patient’s self-confidence and their intimate relationship.
The physical signs of low T include hair loss, an increase in body fat, and reduced muscle mass. In some cases, low levels of testosterone can be dangerous due to the decrease in bone mass and the risk of osteoporosis. Men with low T often experience mood disorders like anxiety, and their energy levels are lower than before.
How Is Low T Treated?
Testosterone replacement therapy is a highly effective method of treating the symptoms of low T. It is available as a gel, pellet, patch, or injection. When you come to the clinic, we will start by checking your testosterone levels to make sure you have a deficiency. The above-named symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, which need to be ruled out.
Then, we’ll discuss your treatment options and come up with a plan. We’ll also speak to you about your lifestyle choices and how they affect your ability to produce enough testosterone. If you’re not leading a healthy lifestyle, we might recommend experts like personal trainers or nutritionists who can help you to make the necessary changes.
Most men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy are extremely happy with their results. The most successful patients are those who eat a low-inflammation diet, avoid alcohol and illegal drugs, and get plenty of rest.
During your initial consultation, we’ll talk about the medications and supplements you currently take. If there are any that contribute to low T, we might suggest alternatives. We’ll also determine whether your body is under a lot of pressure. Adhering to a restrictive diet and regularly performing strenuous physical tasks might reduce the effectiveness of treatment because your body is weakened and stressed.
Regain Your Testosterone Levels with the Right Treatment
In the US, millions of men suffer from low testosterone. This condition is caused by the natural aging process, but medical conditions or treatments, alcohol and drug abuse, a bad diet, a lack of exercise, and stress can speed it up. Reach out to us at ProMD Health in Annapolis, MD to find out more about low T, its causes, and your treatment options.