Low Testosterone which is commonly referred to as “Low T” affects 4 to 5 million men in the US and about 2 million men in the UK. This problem is by no means small, for the men affected it’s a BIG deal.
Low T can cause early ageing, memory issues, low libido, tiredness, problems sleeping, joint pains and problems sleeping to name just a few. Study’s are finding that there are far more connected illness relating to low T than people think.
Causes of Low T
The two basic types of hypogonadism are primary and secondary hypogonadism.
Underactive testes cause primary hypogonadism. That’s because they don’t manufacture sufficient levels of testosterone for optimal growth and health. This underactivity can be caused by an inherited trait. It can also be acquired by accident or illness.
Inherited conditions include:
Undescended testicles: When the testicles fail to descend from the abdomen before birth
Klinefelter’s syndrome: A condition in which a man is born with three sex chromosomes: X, X, and Y.
Hemochromatosis: Too much iron in the blood causes testicular failure or pituitary damage
Types of testicle damage that can lead to primary hypogonadism include:
Physical injury to the testicles: Injury must occur to both testicles to affect testosterone levels.
Mumps orchitis: A mumps infection can injure testicles.
Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy or radiation can damage testicles.
Secondary hypogonadism is caused by damage to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. These parts of the brain control hormone production by the testes.
Inherited or disease conditions in this category include:
Pituitary disorders caused by drugs, kidney failure, or small tumors
Kallmann syndrome, a condition connected to abnormal hypothalamus function
Inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, and histiocytosis, which can impact the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus
HIV/AIDS, which can affect the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and testes
Acquired circumstances that can lead to secondary hypogonadism include:
Normal aging: Aging affects production and response to hormones.
Obesity: High body fat can affect hormone production and response.
Medications: Opioid pain meds and steroids can affect function of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.
Concurrent illness: Severe emotional stress or physical stress from an illness or surgery can cause the reproductive system to temporarily shut down.
You may be affected by primary, secondary, or a mixed hypogonadism. Mixed hypogonadism is more common with increased age. People undergoing glucocorticoid therapy can develop the condition. It also can affect people with sickle-cell disease, thalassemia, or alcoholism.
Changes to Consider
Lifestyle changes can be the start of your journey to improve your testosterone levels. A step in the right direction is to increase physical activity and maintain a healthy diet to reduce body fat. Avoid medications such as glucocorticoid (prednisone” as well as opioid pain relief
If changing your diet and exercise routine doesn’t help then you may need to consider TRT – testosterone replacement therapy. Normal testosterone levels help adults maintain health and well-being. TRT does come with side effects that need to be carefully considered prior to starting. These include
2. Enlarged Prostrate
3. Sleep Apnea
4. Testicle Shrinkage
5. Breast Enlargement
6. Increased Red Blood Cells
7. Decreased Sperm Count.
Carful planning of your TRT plan should avoid many of these unwanted side effects