Little Known Signs of a Testosterone Deficiency

Feb 08, 2024
misc image
Reduced muscle mass and low sex drive may be well-known signs of testosterone deficiency, but “Low T” can also cause lesser-known symptoms like depression, irritability, fatigue, and diminished endurance. Learn more here.

Just as declining estrogen levels can leave middle-aged women dealing with hot flashes, low energy, and easy weight gain, low testosterone — also known as “Low T” — can cause aging men to experience a variety of disruptive symptoms and health concerns, too. 

As a family medicine expert who offers a full scope of men’s health services at Comprehensive Care Clinic in Spring, Texas, Tyneza Mitchell, FNP, wants you to know that sometimes, those “normal age-related changes” may actually be a sign of a highly treatable hormonal deficiency.   

Here, we explain the ins and outs of Low T — including its most common symptoms as well as its lesser-known warning signs — and what you can do about it.   

Testosterone: The main male reproductive hormone

Testosterone is an all-important male reproductive hormone that plays a key role in normal sexual development and function as well as the development and maintenance of secondary male sex characteristics. Made and released by your testes, it: 

  • Initiates male puberty (i.e., deepening voice, increased facial/body hair growth)
  • Sustains normal male muscle mass, bone density, and sperm count in adulthood 
  • Supports healthy male libido and normal erectile function from puberty onward 

Red blood cell production, healthy metabolism, balanced mood, and sharp mental focus are other aspects of male health and well-being that depend on normal testosterone levels.

It’s normal for testosterone levels to decline with age

Your testosterone levels peak in your early twenties, remain steady until about the age of 30, and then begin to decline very gradually — usually at a rate of 1-2% per year.  

While slowly diminishing testosterone levels may be a normal part of male aging, losing too much of this key hormone can affect your health and well-being. Testosterone deficiency, also known as male hypogonadism or Low T, affects about 2% of all men in the United States. 

Testosterone deficiency statistics look very different among specific groups of men, however. Research indicates that about one in two older men (50%), up to one in three overweight men (30%), and one in four men with diabetes (25%) live with the effects of Low T. 

Possible warning signs of a testosterone deficiency

To check for a testosterone deficiency, we take a blood sample and ask you detailed questions about any symptoms you may be experiencing. We may diagnose Low T if you have less than 300 nanograms of testosterone per deciliter of blood (ng/dL), along with certain indicators. 

Specific, well-known signs of a testosterone deficiency include:

  • Unusually reduced sex drive; low libido
  • Erection problems; erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Decreased muscle mass; increased body fat
  • Thinning body hair; less facial hair growth 
  • Shrinking testicles
  • Low sperm count 

 Non-specific symptoms or little-known signs of Low T include:   

  • Depressed mood; decreased motivation
  • Poor memory and difficulty concentrating 
  • Persistent fatigue and low energy levels
  • Reduced physical endurance and strength
  • Enlarged male breasts (gynecomastia)

Some men with Low T also experience uncharacteristic irritability, hot flashes, and declining bone density. While non-specific symptoms may — or may not — be linked to Low T, it’s a good idea to see our team for a testosterone deficiency evaluation if you notice any combination of these warning signs (specific or non-specific). 

Is it normal aging, a health issue, or low testosterone? 

To determine if your weight gain, depressed mood, fatigue, and low libido are the product of low testosterone, we conduct a comprehensive physical exam, measure your circulating (total blood) testosterone levels, and review your symptoms in detail.  

If we find that you have Low T, we may prescribe a custom hormone therapy protocol to help restore normal testosterone levels and ease disruptive symptoms. With testosterone therapy, you can expect an increased sex drive and libido, restored erectile function, healthier muscle-to-fat ratio, improved mood and energy, and a better quality of life. 

Worried you may be living with Low T? We’re here to help. Call or click online to schedule an appointment at Comprehensive Care Clinic in Spring, Texas, today.