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Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone (Low T)

<p>Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone (Low T)</p>
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

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Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 7 min read

You’re tired. You have no energy. Perhaps you feel you have a mental fog, and your libido is low. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be one of the 13 million American men with low testosterone. One out of every four men in America suffers from low testosterone or low T.

With such devastating numbers, it’s not surprising that many men wonder if they have this condition. Low testosterone or Low T is very common, but unfortunately, some men might not even be aware that they have it. 

Before we go into the signs and symptoms of low T, it is important to learn what testosterone is. Produced in the testes, testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for all aspects of a man’s health. Everything from energy levels to physical characteristics are determined by testosterone. So, when testosterone levels are low, things can get out of whack.

In addition, testosterone is responsible for sperm count and the development of lean muscle mass. But what are the signs of low testosterone? According to experts, symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection. Adequate testosterone levels ensure that a man obtains an erection. Men with low testosterone typically have a harder time getting an erection prior to sex and during sleep, according to Healthline

  • Lowered sex drive. Men with low testosterone often find that their sex drive plummets as they get older. While natural aging may be part of the problem, low sex drive can also be a consequence of low testosterone. Men with low testosterone typically find that their libido takes a nosedive.  

  •  An increase in body weight. While excess weight gain is typically the result of advancing age, it can also be the result of low testosterone. This weight gain can occur when testosterone and estrogen levels are off balance.

  • Compromised memory. Testosterone is responsible for just about everything regarding a man’s physical and mental functioning. Many factors are affected by this hormone, and memory is no exception. According to experts, low levels of testosterone can impair memory.  

  • A loss of bone mass. While osteoporosis is a condition typically associated with women, low levels of testosterone can lead to this condition in men. Testosterone is responsible for strengthening and producing bone, so a deficiency in this hormone can lead to bone density problems. 

Having sufficient bone mass is especially important for older men whose bone volume is lower. Having a low bone mass can also lead to fractures. Bones weaken as you age, which is why it is so important to replenish testosterone levels as much as possible. As bones get weaker, the potential for falls increases. 

An ongoing loss of bone mass can also result in vision changes and an increased risk of falling. You are also more susceptible to fractures when bones lose mass.

  • Smaller penis and testicle size. While it may seem that penis and testicle size is a constant throughout life, this is not always the case. Experts assert that falling levels of testosterone can also cause a man’s sex organs to decrease in size. However, some other conditions can cause a decrease in penis and testicle size as well. These include Peyronie’s disease, aging, and obesity.  

Testosterone plays a critical role in a man’s sexual development and abilities. That is why sexual functions are often affected when a man has low testosterone. A loss of libido is one of the most common signs of low testosterone, primarily because testosterone is developed in the testicles. 

Cells that reside between the seminiferous tubules secrete testosterone. These cells are also known as Leydig cells. The testes play a key role in male development and functioning. But what exactly are the testes?

Often referred to as gonads, the testes sit between the scrotum and the penis. Sperm develop and are produced in the testicles, experts say. But what happens when one’s testosterone is low? According to experts at Medical News Today, low levels of testosterone can lead to sleep problems, and many men experience a decrease in muscle mass as well. 

Falling levels of testosterone lead to decreased muscle mass, according to a study carried out in 2016. Decreased energy levels are yet another symptom of low testosterone. A man with low testosterone may feel fatigued, despite getting adequate sleep and rest. As a result of declining energy levels, a man may find that he loses interest in exercise and physical activity. 

Although you don’t hear about it as often as you hear about changes in sexual function, hair loss is a symptom of low testosterone. Many men experience hair loss, so at times, it may be hard to determine if it’s a result of low testosterone or aging. 

For men with low testosterone, hair loss isn’t limited to one’s scalp. In fact, many men experience a loss of hair on other parts of the body. Hair may thin or fall out completely. But why exactly does low testosterone cause hair loss? 

According to experts, the hormone, Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is manufactured for testosterone. DHT can be found in hair follicles, the skin, and the prostate. When this DHT becomes involved, hair follicles are significantly affected.

Roughly 30 million women and 50 million men in the United States experience hair loss. This number may be surprising, especially when most people associate hair loss with men. Of course, it helps to know what else is responsible for testosterone-related hair loss. Different types of testosterone play a key role.

Types of testosterone

Several forms of testosterone exist in your body. Your body contains “free testosterone,” a form of testosterone that does not combine with proteins in your body. Testosterone can be bonded with albumin, a protein that exists in the blood. The majority of a man’s testosterone binds to globulin, a protein that remains inactive in the body.

Men also have Dihydrotestosterone, a type of testosterone that is “made from an enzyme.” According to Healthline, DHT is four times more powerful than standard testosterone and is utilized primarily in the skin, hair follicles, and prostate.  Hair loss can also move to the chest hair.


Depression is another sign of low testosterone. Although it is not as widely discussed as hair loss and physiological side effects, low testosterone can have a significant effect on one’s mental health. However, there are possible treatments for men with low testosterone and for those who suffer from depression.

Experts agree that men with low testosterone can benefit from testosterone therapy or TT. While TT can help alleviate the symptoms of low testosterone, it also comes with some drawbacks. It can make sleep apnea worse. If you have depression, you may need to get tested to see if the depression is a result of low testosterone or another condition. To determine the cause, you may need to undergo a number of tests. 

If you are experiencing symptoms like low energy, fatigue, and decreased muscle mass, it can be easy to confuse these symptoms with natural aging. If you have any of these symptoms and suspect low testosterone, you need to get a thorough examination by a medical professional. 

Low testosterone affects your mood in many ways. Androgens and testosterone provide your body with male and female attributes, help with puberty, and facilitate reproduction in healthy males. You can experience physical, mental, and emotional changes whenever these hormones fluctuate.

The production of these hormones can decrease, increase, or stop working entirely. You may experience emotional, mental, or emotional changes when these hormones go up or down. These changes will be different, depending on the type of hormone or testosterone that’s affected. Changes you experience may be mild or severe, depending on the hormones involved.

When one hormone increases, another hormone may decrease, so your symptoms will depend on the situation and the chemicals involved. Hormone imbalances that result from fluctuating hormones can give rise to a number of other changes that can lead to other conditions. While testosterone is tied to mood changes, changes in a man’s mood aren’t always the result of testosterone levels.

Mood disorders can also be the result of stress, dietary changes, and lack of sleep. Lack of exercise and being less active can also lead to mood disorders in men. Sperm count may also be reduced in men with low testosterone. Low sperm counts can make it impossible for a man to father a child. A man needs a sufficient amount of sperm to get his partner pregnant.

Of course, it also helps to know the other causes of low testosterone. Low testosterone can also be caused by obesity, type 2 diabetes, testicular injury, and pituitary gland problems. Certain therapies can also cause low testosterone. These treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and steroidal medications. 

If you find that you are experiencing any symptoms of low testosterone, you may want to seek help to get a diagnosis. Your doctor may recommend that you get a testosterone test if you experience a reduced sex drive, a loss of height, or a reduction in the size of your muscles. These don’t always mean that you have low testosterone, but it’s a good idea to get checked out.



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