Testosterone Deficiency: Symptoms & Replacement Therapy
November is Movember, Men's Health Awareness Month
Men - are you fatigued, noticing sexual and/or mood changes, gaining weight, not sleeping well? Have you noticed a loss of strength and muscle mass? You may have a testosterone deficiency, which can be the root cause of all of these symptoms (and more). (Photo: Jake Barford)
Testosterone - What is it Good For?
Testosterone is a hormone produced in primarily in the testicles. The Mayo Clinic says testosterone helps men to maintain:
- bone density
- fat distribution
- muscle strength and mass
- facial and body hair
- red blood cell production
- sex drive
- sperm production
Testosterone Deficiency Symptoms
Although it's natural for men's testosterone levels to drop with aging, The Canadian Medical Association Journal and Canadian Men's Health Foundation (CMHF) explain that Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (also known as late-onset hypogonadism) is diagnosed when the clinical manifestations of testosterone and low biochemical testosterone levels (serum levels determined by blood tests) for the normal range for that age, are both present.
Sexual symptoms and fatigue are the earliest and most common symptoms of testosterone deficiency. However, the absence or presence of these symptoms by themselves, is insufficient to either diagnose or rule out, testosterone deficiency. (Infographic: Men's Health Foundation | Dr. David Greenberg)
Sexual Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
- decreased libido
- erectile dysfunction
- decreased frequency of morning erections
- decreased sexual performance
Somatic Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
- obesity/increased body fat
- decreased lean muscle mass
- decreased strength
- fatigue/loss of energy
- decreased physical activity/vitality
- loss of facial, axillary and pubic hair; slow beard growth
- decline in general feeling of well-being
Psychological Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency
- mood changes
- difficulty concentrating
- insomnia/sleep disturbances
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
According to the CMAJ, a recent study indicated that 1 in 90 older Canadian men over the age of 65 are being treated for testosterone deficiency with testosterone replacement therapy, although many have not been clinically diagnosed with a deficiency.
The Canadian Men's Health foundation has created a new, quick reference guide to help doctors properly diagnose and treat testosterone deficiency.
Choices of treatment for men with testosterone deficiency syndrome will vary depending on the individual. Some men may be candidates for testosterone replacement therapy. As with any therapeutic treatment, there are risks with testosterone replacement therapy that must be balanced against the health benefits.
Consult your family doctor for more information about testosterone deficiency and your own testosterone levels, and to see if you are a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.