Men’s health

What is low testosterone and what to do if you've been told you have it

October 11, 2022
Lizzie Hayes

Getting diagnosed with male hypogonadism can be scary. In this article, we break down the key things you need to know about male hypogonadism and what to do if you've been told you have it.

What is male hypogonadism?

Male hypogonadism refers to a hormone disorder associated with low testosterone level. You may hear people using different phrases to describe the same issue. These include ‘Andropause’, ‘Male Menopause’, ‘Testosterone Deficiency’ and ‘Late Onset Hypogonadism’.

What is male testosterone?

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It is also required for sperm production, sex drive (libido), and maintenance of muscles and bones.

What causes low testosterone?

Any damage or removal of the testicles may result in low testosterone. Surgery or radiotherapy to the brain can also affect testosterone level. As men get older, the levels of testosterone in their bodies will likely reduce. This is especially seen in men over the age of 50.

What are the symptoms of low testosterone?

Symptoms of low testosterone can often be quite broad. These include reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depressed mood, loss of muscle mass, and increased fat, especially around the waistline. Low testosterone can also cause reduced bone density in men, which can lead to osteoporosis and higher risk of fractures.

What are the benefits in detecting and treating low testosterone?

A number of studies have shown that low testosterone can be associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Testosterone treatment can help restore sexual function, improve mood and energy, increase muscle mass and bone density, and reduce body fat.

How do we know if someone needs testosterone treatment?

We will look for a combination of biochemically low testosterone level, along with the above symptoms. Looking at both will help us decide if someone needs testosterone replacement.

How to start treatment and what monitoring is needed?

A number of blood tests need to be performed before starting treatment. These include prostate-specific antigen (PSA), liver enzymes and haemoglobin.There are two treatment options. The first one involves applying testosterone gel to the skin everyday. The second one involves having an injection of testosterone into the arm or buttock (like having a flu jab) every 3 months. Most people find this treatment straightforward. straightforward. Men may start noticing an improvement in the first 3 months. Blood test monitoring will be necessary on a regular basis throughout treatment.

Who may testosterone treatment not be suitable for?

Men wishing to start a family should not start testosterone treatment until their family is complete and they’ve had all the children they want.