Around age 30, many men’s testosterone levels will begin to decline. This can cause what is sometimes called “male menopause.” The result is a variety of health problems that could leave you feeling…well, a little less you.
Luckily, there is a way to increase testosterone using replacement testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapy replaces the lost hormones to help bring virility back into your life.
If you’re struggling with lowered testosterone levels, read this guide to learn how you can find that zest for life once again.
What Causes Low Testosterone Levels in Men?
For many men, low testosterone simply occurs as they age. Your testosterone levels naturally begin to decline starting at age 30.
However, there are other lifestyle factors that influence how dramatically you lose testosterone. These include:
- Stress levels
- General lifestyle
- Not enough exercise
- Underlying health conditions
- Weight and diet
Low testosterone levels, also called hypogonadism, can have a variety of impacts beyond just appearance. In fact, for many men, the problem goes far beyond just vanity.
Signs of Low Testosterone
There are many different symptoms associated with low testosterone levels in men. However, how these symptoms appear will vary depending on the man. Some men may notice subtle but drastic changes in mood or appearance, while others may not notice the dip until it’s time for some fun in the bedroom.
No matter how your symptoms appear, a few common signs you’ll likely begin to notice include:
- Depression or other mood changes
- Frequent headaches
- Brain fog and/or memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased libido or sexual dysfunction
- Hair quality changes or sudden hair loss
- Losing muscle mass or difficulty obtaining new muscle mass
- Reduced strength
- Feeling suddenly “out of shape”
- Looking older than you are
Low testosterone levels also have links to several other health conditions. In fact, it may increase your risk of conditions such as:
- Heart disease, stroke, or other cardiovascular issues
- Respiratory disease
- Depression or other mental health conditions
- Osteoporosis, or the thinning of bone density, and arthritis
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Some older men may not even consider that their testosterone levels are low, as they may think these symptoms are just a natural part of aging. However, low testosterone levels can age you prematurely, setting you apart from other men your age.
What Is Replacement Testosterone Therapy?
Replacement testosterone therapy is a medical treatment designed to restore testosterone levels. A medical doctor will issue testosterone boosters. These help to restore libido, strength, energy, mood, and sexual function.
Testosterone boosters can come in many forms. These include:
The first step in testosterone therapy is mentioning your symptoms to your doctor. From there, your doctor will issue a blood test to make sure you are a good candidate for the therapy.
When To Get Treatment
Testosterone Replacement Therapy, also known as TRT, is used primarily when testosterone levels fall too drastically low levels.
Men with testosterone levels on the low side of normal are usually not candidates for testosterone replacement therapy.
Because TRT can have symptoms and side effects of its own, it’s up to you and your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits in your particular case.
Benefits of TRT
Testosterone replacement therapy might make a massive difference in the lives of men who struggle with noticeable hypogonadism. Therapy can help to improve your mood, fill you with energy, and improve your sex life.
It can also cause a host of physical changes such as improved muscle mass and less abdominal fat.
However, TRT is usually not the ideal treatment when erectile dysfunction is your only symptom. In this case, your doctor will likely prescribe you a medication designed specifically for ED treatment.
Side Effects of TRT
Testosterone treatment does come with some potential risks. For example, testosterone therapy is not the ideal treatment for fertility issues. It may, in fact, actually decrease sperm production.
Treatment can also cause cosmetic changes. These include acne and increased male pattern baldness.
Changes to your penis may also occur. These include testicular shrinkage and increased prostate size.
Other potential side effects of testosterone replacement therapy include:
- Raised red blood cell count, which could potentially lead to blood clots or heart problems
- Skin irritation (if using the patch)
- Oil droplets spreading in your lungs (if using injections)
- Revealing or worsening pre-existing prostate cancer
Please note that TRT should not cause prostate cancer, but it can worsen the disease.
Who Shouldn’t Use TRT?
There are a few people who should avoid TRT. You should not use TRT if you have:
- Liver tumors
- Breast or prostate cancer (known or suspected)
- Hypercalcemia (high calcium levels)
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Obstructive sleep apnea, unless treated by your doctor
Are There Natural Ways To Treat Low Testosterone?
While testosterone therapy may be necessary in certain extreme cases, there are also ways to maintain optimal testosterone levels naturally. Lifestyle adjustments can help your body regulate your hormones and produce testosterone.
For example, keeping active with regular exercise is one way to power your body’s hormones. You should also make sure you’re getting enough sleep (minimum of 7 hours each night), keeping stress levels at bay, and watching your alcohol intake.
If you are overweight, losing weight may also help to maintain healthy levels of testosterone.
Proactive Aging with Optimal Testosterone Levels
Thanks to modern medicine, doctors can utilize replacement testosterone therapy to keep men feeling healthy, strong, and virile even as their testosterone levels start to fall. After all, maintaining your hormone levels is a key part in preventing premature aging.
To learn more about how to age gracefully and maintain your health, check out our Fitness and Lifestyle sections.