Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options For Decreased Testosterone Production


Do you often walk into a room and forget why you came there in the first place? Have you observed an unusual decrease in your muscle mass?

Several things could be responsible for this poor memory/focus and decline in muscle mass. For a man, this may not be far from his testosterone level.

Testosterone is the male sex hormone. It is produced in the testicles, the male reproductive gland. Testosterone is necessary for the production of sperm, a key indicator of male fertility.

In addition to its role in male fertility, testosterone is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics in men. When young boys reach puberty, testosterone is the hormone responsible for the growth of muscle mass, body, and facial hairs as well as the development of a deeper voice.

Symptoms of Decreased Testosterone Production

There is approximately a 1% natural decline in testosterone production every year in men aged 30 and above. This decline is natural and there's usually no cause for alarm. A man is said to have low testosterone levels when his blood concentration of the hormone is less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

Conditions such as testicular injury, chemotherapy, congenital diseases, and even drug or alcohol abuse can lead to decreased production of testosterone. This also includes dysfunctions of the pituitary gland.

The decreased production of testosterone affects the quality of life of the individual in many ways. To improve their quality of life, some of these individuals seek out solutions to meet their testosterone replacement therapy needs

In doing that, you must have experienced one or more of the symptoms of low testosterone level. Symptoms of decreased testosterone production are far-reaching but mostly include:

  • Failure to sustain erections (Erectile dysfunction)

  • Low sex drive

  • Reduced body hair growth

  • Fatigue

  • Reduced muscle mass and strength

  • Moodiness

  • Reduced focus and memory capability

  • And even, depression

To elevate the effect of these symptoms or before an individual can be said to have low testosterone levels, a diagnosis must be established. It is necessary before deciding on hormone replacement therapy.

Diagnosis for Decreased Testosterone Production

The symptoms associated with low testosterone production are not exclusive to the condition. Therefore, diagnosis cannot be established based simply on the presence of these symptoms.

Typically, a low testosterone level is diagnosed by measuring the amount of the testosterone hormone in the blood with a blood test. But before this minimally-invasive procedure, your doctor will carry out other examinations which include:

  • Taking your health history

In a process known as clerking, your doctor will ask you about your health history. Your doctor can also evaluate your health records if you have one with the healthcare facility to ascertain possible causes of the symptoms you show.

Taking your health history includes asking about your history of alcohol consumption, the incidence of head trauma, history of chemotherapy, and even family health history. It also involves assessing your use of drugs used to treat inflammation.

  • Physical examination

After clerking, your doctor will proceed to carry out a physical examination on you. This will include BMI checks, the pattern of hair growth, and even estimating testicular and prostate size to screen for abnormalities.

  • Laboratory investigations

Your doctor will order a laboratory blood test to be carried out on you. This may include testing for other hormones and parameters such as the luteinizing hormone, prolactin level, hemoglobin concentration, and of course, blood testosterone level.

Testosterone level varies with time of the day. So, it may take several measurements at different times to determine if a patient has low testosterone. However, peak levels are recorded in the morning and your doctor might request results from a test done in the morning.

Performing a test for other hormone levels can inform your doctor on why your testosterone level is low. Luteinizing hormone, for instance, controls your production of testosterone. Abnormal values of these hormones can suggest problems with the pituitary gland.

Treatment of Decreased Testosterone Production

After the diagnosis of low testosterone level has been established, treatment can commence. This can involve starting a personalized hormone replacement therapy by adopting a treatment method or route of testosterone administration that is best for you.

These routes include:

  • Transdermal, given through the skin where gels or creams are applied topically and can last for 4 days.

  • Injections can be given under the skin or in the muscle for short-acting and long-acting effects, respectively.

  • Oral/buccal therapy given by mouth lasts as long as 12 hours with fewer side effects on the liver.

  • Intranasal treatment administered through the nose is given 3 times a day.

Key Takeaway

No route of administration of testosterone therapy is more effective than the other. However, before you commence treatment, ensure you have been clinically diagnosed as having a testosterone deficiency.