Testosterone is a hormone produced in a man’s testes. Testosterone helps in deepening a man’s voice, building his muscles, and boosting the size of his penis and testes during the puberty. In adulthood, it helps in keeping a man’s bones and muscles strong and maintains his desires and interest in sex. However, after age 30, most of the men start experiencing a gradual decline in their testosterone levels. So, the question is that is it bad to have low testosterone levels? Let us discuss some of the facts associated with testosterone.
The bottom of the normal testosterone range of a man is about 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). The upper limit is 800 ng/dL. There are a number of conditions that can lead to testosterone levels lower than the normal range. These may include—
- Hormonal disorders
- Injury to the testicles
- Testicular cancer or its treatment
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic liver and kidney disease
Health Effects of Low Testosterone
- Sexual Function: The most common effect of low testosterone or low T is low libido. There is a significant lack of sexual desire and you may also face erection issues. As men age, they start experiencing a variety of symptoms associated with sexual function due to low levels of testosterone. This may include— reduced desire for sex, fewer erections that happen spontaneously (like during the sleep) and infertility.
- Difficulty with Erection: Testosterone is not the only thing to be blamed for erection issues. However, it helps in stimulating the receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a vital role in triggering a series of chemical reactions important for a proper erection. When your testosterone levels are too low, you may face difficulty in achieving an erection before having sex. Therefore, we can say that testosterone is one of the factors responsible for erections.
- Loss of Muscle Mass: A healthy testosterone level help in putting your body in an anabolic state as it helps your body produce and assemble proteins that form the building blocks of lean mass. However, your body turns catabolic when your testosterone levels drop.
- Penis may Get Smaller: Without a steady flow of testosterone, you may end up losing the length and girth of your penis. Testosterone also plays a vital role in the semen production, a fluid that aids in the motility of sperm. Low T can decrease the quantity of semen during the time of ejaculation.
- Increased Body Fat: Low testosterone in men may increase the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that drives circulating building blocks, lipids, into visceral fat cells, making them plump up. Visceral fat is the deep abdominal fat forms around your organs, increasing the risk for heart disease and diabetes. In many cases, men sometimes develop gynecomastia or an enlarged breast tissue. This occurs due to an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone in men. It also has effects on cholesterol metabolism and you may notice a decrease in body and facial hair.
- Decreased Bone Mass: Bone is a living tissue that constantly breaks down and rebuilds. When there is a decrease in testosterone levels, the bones break down more fast than the body can build it up again. As testosterone helps in building muscle, men with low T experience muscle and bone loss. This results in an increased risk of osteoporosis, low bone density, and fractures.
- Low Testosterone can Kill You: Low levels of testosterone often link itself with increased heart problems. According to a study, men with low T had an increased risk of dying from heart disease as compared to the men having normal testosterone. Testosterone helps in opening up the blood vessels to the heart allowing a healthy blood flow.
- Sleeping Disturbances and Emotional Changes: Apart from causing lower energy levels, low T can also lead to insomnia, restlessness, and other changes in the sleeping patterns. Testosterone also affects emotional regulation. The condition may cause depression, mood swings, and a feeling of sadness. Some people may experience issues with memory and concentration.
Now when you have the answer to the question: Is it bad to have low testosterone levels?, it is important for you to know when you need a treatment. There are many pharmaceuticals that have products to treat low T. Moreover, some doctors also suggest testosterone therapy. However, men with prostate should not choose testosterone therapy as a part of their treatment as it can fuel the growth of cancer.