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What exactly causes low testosterone (low T) levels? In fact, what are the low testosterone symptoms? Information regarding normal testosterone levels in men is an important factor of health and wellness.
Male testosterone has more to do with male health and wellness than just libido. It is manufactured in the testes, one of the many glands of the endocrine system. It is also produced in very small amounts by female ovaries (a female hormone gland) as well as in the adrenal gland of both males and females.
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A number of factors can contribute to deficient levels of testosterone in the body.
Causes of low testosterone can range from congenital or genetic conditions to traumatic injuries.
Low T is known in medical terms as primary hypogonadism. It may be blamed on:
According to the Mayo Clinic, two basic types of low T or hypogonadism are classified as either primary or secondary. Primary hypogonadism (aka primary testicular failure) describes an issue or problem with the testicles. Secondary hypogonadism is mainly blamed on faulty pituitary or hypothalamus gland function. These two glands are located in the brain, responsible for sending messages to the testicles to synthesize or produce the hormone.
The pituitary gland is known as a master gland of the body because it controls and oversees the production and release of glandular secretions from the endocrine glands. The pituitary gland receives its instructions from the hypothalamus gland. The hypothalamus gland is responsible for the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This hormone is the one that tells the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone (LH) as well as follicle-stimulating hormone (also known as FSH).
Either primary or secondary hypogonadism can either be inherited or congenital in nature, or acquired, often caused by an illness, injury, or infection.
Primary hypogonadism may be caused by a number of factors including but not limited to:
As mentioned, secondary hypogonadism may be caused by pituitary or hypothalamus gland disorders. It may also be caused, in this category, by:
Depending on what causes lower levels in individual cases, a number of options may be available. However, hormone replacement or hormone therapies are not recommended for everyone.
Determination of methods that can be used to increase androgenic hormone levels will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The levels naturally decline with age, starting at about the mid 40s. This can be equated, in some terms, much the same way as menopause causes a decrease in estrogen in women.
Declines in certain hormones are natural to aging processes. Doctors still debate whether hormone replacement therapies may provide more benefits and risks of side effects especially in older adults.
A number of treatments and drugs are available to treat primary and secondary hypogonadism depending on its cause. If causes of low testosterone are blamed by medications, for example, a doctor may consider switching medications. Treatment may also depend on whether you’re concerned about fertility. Therapy is generally not recommended for seniors over the age of 65 because the benefits may not outweigh risks.
If you qualify, hormone therapy or TRT may be recommended to prevent bone loss, improve muscle strength, and restore a certain degree of sexual function. Therapy comes in a variety of methods including injection, gels, patches, and implantable pellets.
When talking to your doctor about lower testosterone causes and what you can do to increase hormone levels, discuss possible benefits as well as risks that come with therapy.
Some forms of therapies, depending on the situation, age, and health status, can contribute to an enlarged prostate, decreased sperm production, increased risk of prostate cancer, increased risk of blood clots, and more. Before you can treat low T levels, you need to know causes of low testosterone. Avoid self-diagnosing and self-medicating. A visit to your doctor, a complete health examination and discussions are advised before starting any low T medications.
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