Of testosterone’s many roles in human function and development (for men and women), most of us know it as the hormone that turns boys into men.
Testosterone is responsible for several key functions in your body, from the development of your voice, hair and genitals to maintaining your sexual function and fertility.
It also plays a significant role in your mental wellbeing, helping to manage everything from your mood to your level of interest in sex.
The male body produces testosterone at a rate specific to each individual. But what happens when your body doesn’t produce enough?
Below, we’ve listed several signs that you may experience if your testosterone levels are on the lower side of normal, from changes in the way you think and feel to physical changes that might affect your muscles, bones and even your sexual performance.
We’ve also explained what you can do if you think you may have low testosterone and want to take action and treat it.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It belongs to a class of hormones referred to as androgens.
Although testosterone is present in both men and women, it’s produced in far higher amounts in men.
In men, testosterone is produced in the testes, where what’s called leydig cells work to convert cholesterol into testosterone.
Testosterone levels can vary significantly between individuals. In men, the standard range for testosterone is between 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood (ng/dL), or 10 and 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L).
It’s also common for testosterone levels to fluctuate over the course of the day. Most men experience their highest testosterone production in the morning, with the testes producing less testosterone at night.
Most men have healthy, optimal testosterone levels when they’re young. However, it’s common to experience a gradual decline in testosterone production once you hit your 40s.
Although the decrease in testosterone is normal, it can occur at an abnormally fast pace for some men.
When testosterone levels drop below the healthy range, it’s often referred to as low testosterone, “low-T” or hypogonadism.
Low testosterone is a relatively common men’s health issue. Research published in Frontiers in Endocrinology notes that approximately 40 percent of men over age 45 have clinically low testosterone levels.
This change in testosterone production can lead to problems with sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass, fat distribution, bone density and even red blood cell production.
Total Testosterone vs. Free Testosterone vs. Bioavailable Testosterone
If You Have Low Testosterone, Options are Available
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.