Low testosterone in men, also called hypogonadism, is a common condition in aging men. Testosterone is responsible for male sexual characteristics and development during puberty. Symptoms of low testosterone depend on when the condition develops. If testosterone is low during fetal development, there may be impaired growth of internal sex organs. If it develops at puberty it may lead to decreased muscle mass, failure to deepen the voice, impaired growth of the penis and testicles. If low testosterone develops in adulthood it may lead to erectile dysfunction, infertility, decrease in muscle mass, loss of bone mass, fatigue, decreased sexual drive, difficulty concentrating.
Low testosterone may be due to a problem originating in the testicles, or in the brain. Both the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland are involved in making signals to the testicles to create testosterone. There are many medical conditions that can affect the production of testosterone at either the level of the brain or the testicle. Common causes include injury to the testicles, cancer treatments, undescended testes, HIV, opiate pain medications, obesity, and normal aging.
Treatment for low testosterone depends upon if you are concerned about your fertility (ability to have more children). Pituitary hormones may be used to stimulate testicular growth if you are considering having more children as giving testosterone alone decreases sperm production. In those not interested in fertility, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be a good option. This may be given in a variety of ways including injections, a patch, gels, nasal gel, and implantable pellets. Implantable pellets can be placed in the office in five minutes and last for 3-6 months.
Interested in testosterone therapy? Call to schedule an appointment to discuss the risks and benefits today at 360-733-7687.