Testosterone is crucial to a man’s sexual, reproductive, and overall health. As the primary male sex hormone, it plays an important role in several bodily changes and functions that occur from the fetal stage through the puberty stage and until old age.
Unfortunately, testosterone levels can decline due to different reasons. Sometimes, low testosterone is caused by an underlying health condition. In certain instances, it is because of poor lifestyle choices. And, because testosterone production by the body naturally declines with age, it is quite common in older men, especially those that are in their 60s. According to data, about 20% of senior men have low testosterone, and that number increases to 30% among men who are in their 70s and to almost 50% among men who are in their 80s.
The impact of low testosterone on a man’s sex life
Lower than normal testosterone levels can cause negative side effects that can make a man’s sex life not as fun and pleasurable. The following are some examples of what may happen to your sexual experiences if your testosterone levels are low:
Reduced sex drive or libido
Testosterone is key to a healthy sex drive or libido, so not having enough of it may result in a weaker desire for sex. If your low testosterone problem is not fixed right away, you will not be able to perform satisfactorily in bed and leave your sex partner disappointed.
Trouble getting and/or sustaining an erection
Testosterone is also necessary for achieving and maintaining erections that are firm enough and longer-lasting for top-notch sexual encounters. However, if you have low testosterone, you might end up feeling embarrassed for failing to get hard or last very long to pleasure you and your sex partner.
Low sperm count
Testosterone is involved in the production of sperm, so if your testosterone levels are low, your body may not be able to produce sufficient amounts of sperm that have good structure and motility.
Other detrimental effects of low testosterone
Low testosterone can also negatively impact other aspects of a man’s overall health and wellbeing. The following are things that may happen due to reduced testosterone levels in the body:
Loss of bone and muscle mass and strength
In order for you to grow and develop bones and muscles that are strong and healthy, your body will need testosterone. So, if your testosterone levels are lacking, it will be hard for your body to support proper bone and muscle growth and development.
Reduced energy levels
If you have low testosterone, you may find yourself not having the same amount of energy as before. You may lose interest in activities that you used to do a lot, and become less and less active as your low testosterone problem persists.
Mental health problems
Testosterone helps in regulating mood and mental health, so a shortage of testosterone in your body may make you more likely to suffer from high stress levels, and have a greater risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
One of the roles of testosterone is to facilitate fat distribution in the body, so if you have low testosterone levels, you may have increased body fat, gain weight more easily, and be more prone to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other diseases.
Underdeveloped male reproductive parts
Testosterone is key to the proper development of the penis, testicles, and prostate, so insufficient testosterone in the body may lead to smaller male genitalia and reproductive organs that may not be able to carry out their functions and duties efficiently.
During puberty, testosterone facilitates a variety of bodily changes, including an increase in height, deepening of the voice, and growth of body hair. If a boy has low testosterone, he may not experience these changes at the same time as the other boys his age.
How to diagnose low testosterone
If you experience any of the things discussed above, you should go visit a doctor right away. You need to go through a testosterone levels test to get a proper diagnosis of your condition. It is recommended that you go through a testosterone levels test is in the morning, between 7am and 10am, as that is when testosterone levels are at their highest.
In a testosterone levels test, you need to provide a sample of your blood for analysis. A medical worker will draw some from your arm, store it in a test tube or vial, and submit it to a laboratory.
In men, the normal testosterone range varies with age, but in general, it is around 270 nanograms per deciliter to 1,070 nanograms per deciliter, with an average level of about 680 nanograms per deciliter. Usually, it gradually increases from childhood to puberty, peaks once a man reaches 20 years old, and begins to slowly decline by about 1% per year after age 30.
How to treat low testosterone
There are different treatment options available for low testosterone. Depending on your situation, your doctor may advise that you make healthy lifestyle changes, take testosterone treatment therapy, or both.
Examples of lifestyle changes that you have to make to increase your testosterone levels include:
Dedicating 20 to 30 minutes of your time a day to running, brisk walking, swimming, biking, weight lifting, or some other exercise can help naturally boost your testosterone levels.
You should eat more foods that are rich in fiber, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Some good testosterone-boosting foods to include in your diet are eggs, beans, tuna, shellfish, oysters, low-fat milk, bananas, ginger, broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.
Health experts recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. This allows the body to recuperate, recharge, and recover after a long and tiring day.
On the other hand, below are examples of testosterone treatment therapy options:
Your doctor may give you one shot every 10 or 14 days.
Skin patches and gels
These are administered daily by applying directly onto the skin of your neck, back, shoulders, or arms.