What Causes Low Testosterone Levels?

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Although up to 4 to 5 million men experience low testosterone, low testosterone is a topic that certainly many adults don’t want to talk about. But having low testosterone is not something to be ashamed of, and the best thing is that there are plenty of treatment options such as testosterone therapy for men that can address it.

While testosterone in men often begins to decline after the age of 30, younger men, teenagers, and even children may suffer the symptoms of low testosterone. So, what causes it? Let’s find out as we discuss common causes of low testosterone.

Low testosterone levels, also known as hypogonadism, can be caused by several factors. These factors can be categorized into primary and secondary causes.

  1. Primary hypogonadism

This occurs when the testes are not producing adequate testosterone as a result of a direct problem with the testes. Causes may include

Genetic conditions, including Klinefelter Syndrome which is a genetic condition where males have an extra X chromosome affecting testicular development and function.

Undescended testicles, which happen when testicles fail to descend properly during fetal development, can also affect the production of testosterone.

Injury or infection to the testicles or severe infections can impair their function.

  1. Secondary hypogonadism

Secondary hypogonadism is a result of problems in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which controls the testicles. Causes include:

Pituitary disorders, such as surgeries, tumors, or radiation affect the pituitary gland.

Kallmann Syndrome is a genetic condition where the hypothalamus does not develop properly.

Inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis, and sarcoidosis, can affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

Medications, particularly long-term use of opioids, corticosteroids, or hormones such as estrogen can interfere with testosterone production.

  1. Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors can also contribute to low level of testosterone levels. These factors include obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, alcohol and drug use, etc. All of these factors can affect or suppress testosterone production.

  1. Environmental factors

Environmental factors can also affect testosterone levels. For instance, exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol A and other pollutants can interfere with hormone production. Additionally, the use of anabolic steroids for athletic or bodybuilding can suppress natural testosterone production.

Diagnosis and evaluation

If you suspect you could be having low testosterone levels, you need to book an appointment with a healthcare provider to evaluate your symptoms and medical history. The doctor will perform a blood test to measure your testosterone levels. The test is often done in the morning when levels are highest. They will perform a physical examination to check for signs of hormonal imbalance and any underlying health issues. If any additional test is required, such as semen analysis, genetic testing, or MRI of the pituitary gland, the doctor will perform it depending on the suspected cause.

Treatment options

As already stated, there are various treatments for low testosterone, depending on the underlying cause. The treatment options include changing your lifestyle by improving your diet, exercising more, and reducing stress to boost testosterone levels naturally.

Hormone replacement therapy or medications are also safe and effective ways to address and treat low testosterone. It can help improve the quality of life of men who are suffering from age-related hormonal decline.