A decrease in testosterone levels in men is a natural and, unfortunately, irreversible aging process. In addition to natural aging, the state of general health, the lifestyle of an individual, the presence of bad habits and much more plays an important role in reducing the level of androgens. Thus, the presence of certain chronic diseases leads to a reduced level of hormones. Knowledge of the main symptoms of low testosterone helps to respond to the problem earlier and begin its treatment.
Figure 1 - Reducing the synthesis of testosterone with age.
Symptoms of androgen deficiency
Decreased libido and potency. As a rule, this symptom is the first sign of hormonal imbalance in the male body. A decrease in libido implies a decrease or complete lack of desire for sexual contact, a decrease in erotic fantasies, etc. Violation of erectile function is manifested as partial or complete inability to perform sexual intercourse for various reasons. Separately, impaired erectile function may be a symptom of various pathologies not related to hormones. However, together with a simultaneous decrease in libido, the weakening of potency most often indicates a disturbance in the hormonal balance.
Depressed mood, depressed. Testosterone influences the behavioral function of a man, is responsible for mental stability in stressful situations, the thirst for life and ambition. The duration and stability of the depressed state, as well as dramatic mood swings, may indicate a change in the level of the main male hormone in the direction of its decrease. With this state is associated with so-called. midlife crisis .
Decreased muscle mass, strength and endurance. Testosterone has an anabolic effect on the body, i.e. promotes muscle growth, development of strength and endurance. Many sports are completely dependent on the effects of testosterone, for example, bodybuilding, powerlifting, etc. Androgens prevent destructive processes (catabolism) in muscles. Therefore, loss of muscle mass is a direct sign of androgen deficiency.
Increased adipose tissue deposits. Testosterone accelerates the body's metabolism. Due to this, men are less susceptible to obesity than women. With a sufficient level of androgens, the man is protected from excess adipose tissue. Problems begin when testosterone levels fall and its protective functions weaken. It is noteworthy that as a low level of sex hormones can cause the deposition of excess adipose tissue, so and obesity provokes androgen deficiency. Those. it turns out a vicious circle, which leads to an even greater aggravation of the state. That is why the normalization of hormonal balance is used, including in the treatment of male obesity.
Reduced vitality. One of the effects of testosterone is to maintain the body’s energy function. The feeling of constant fatigue, apathy to previously favorite activities, a long recovery from physical exertion - all this indicates a lack of vital energy.
Reducing the secondary sexual characteristics of men . Is bristles growing not as fast as before? Body hair began to thin? Muscle mass suddenly disappeared somewhere (if it was of course)? The picture looks like this when a man loses testosterone. Remember, it was this hormone that made you so hairy in all accessible and inaccessible places, powerful and ferocious protector of your property. All this will disappear along with testosterone.
If hormonal imbalance is observed in boys before and during puberty, then secondary sexual characteristics may not manifest at all. For example, there will be no coarsening of the voice, a protrusion of the Adam's apple, the formation of a male-type figure (in the shape of a triangle, when the shoulders are wider than the waist), body hair and face growth, normal development of the external genital organs and more.
Breast augmentation (gynecomastia). This condition is associated with a violation of the hormonal background of the man. A decrease in sex hormones may be due to an increase in the hormones of testosterone antagonists. For example, in gynecomastia, men are characterized by an increase in the level of estrogen - female sex hormones. Against the background of a decrease in androgens and an increase in estrogens, a shift of male sexual characteristics towards women is observed. Along with gynecomastia, there may be obesity of the female type in men , female type of hair distribution of pubis, etc.
Decreased bone mass (osteoporosis). Testosterone builds bone tissue, helps absorb calcium from food and distributes this element to those parts of the human body that need it, strengthening the skeleton. The highest bone strength is observed at 30 years, and after this period begins to decline. It is known that the rate of decrease in bone density corresponds to a decrease in the level of free testosterone , which makes it possible to consider androgenic insufficiency as one of the main reasons underlying the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Decreased cognitive abilities. According to the latest data, a decrease in cognitive abilities correlates with a decrease in the biologically active form of testosterone. In addition to the deterioration of the mental abilities of the individual, on the part of the central nervous system, sleep disturbance, mood variability, deterioration in creative productivity, and rapid fatigue can be observed.
Impaired urination Manifested as frequent urination, or nightly urge. You should make sure that urination disorders are not associated with prostate adenoma.
Anemia. A deficiency of testosterone can lead to the development of anemia - a decrease in hemoglobin in the blood. In turn, the presence of anemia in a man can provoke androgen deficiency.
Laboratory indicators of low testosterone
Low testosterone in men is considered an indicator of total testosterone less than 12 nmol / l. However, this indicator does not always reflect the essence of the problem, because takes into account the active and inactive fractions of the hormone. It is much more effective to find out, together with the level of total testosterone, the indices of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and the albumin index (optional). Then, using a special calculator, you can calculate the free and biologically available testosterone ( calculate ).
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