Low Testosterone in Young Men
While it is true that testosterone is absolutely crucial for your muscle mass and sex drive, there is more to this hormone than just how much you can bench and your prowess between the sheets. Because this hormone has receptors throughout your body from your blood vessels to your bones and even your brain, the effects of low testosterone in young men can have extensive health consequences that go beyond the bedroom and gym.
What Causes Low Testosterone in Young Men?
Research shows that low testosterone or “low T” as it is commonly known affects about 5 million men in the U.S alone. The thing about testosterone is that it is produced at an extremely high degree during your teenage years. It is the one hormone that is extensively responsible for all those bodily changes you see taking place during that period such as:
- Increase in muscle mass
- Hair growth
- Changes in appearance
- Increase in aggression and mood
However, as you get older, this production slows down. In fact, after 30, you begin to lose your testosterone levels at a rate of 1% each subsequent year. That is why low testosterone levels are reported as men get older. Unfortunately, low T isn’t a condition that is unique to older men. It is not uncommon to have low testosterone in young men. This is typically caused by:
- Conditions such as hypogonadism: Primary hypogonadism typically occurs when a young man has underactive testes. Testosterone is manufactured by the testicles,and when these are misfiring, the production levels will not be sufficient for optimum growth
- Hereditary conditions: These may include things like undescended testicles that fail to descend from the child’s abdomen before birth
- Klinefelter’s syndrome: This is a condition that leads to the man being born with three chromosomes: X, X, and Y
- Trauma or injury to the testicles: In the unfortunate event that injury occurs to both testicles, testosterone production will be hampered
- Some cancer treatments: Cancer treatment methods such as chemotherapy have a negative effect on testosterone levels in the body
- Obesity: Being overweight and having high body fat levels does negatively affect the production and response to this hormone
- Concurrent illnesses: When you go through a long period of physical illness, the emotional and physical stress can cause a temporary shutdown to your hormone production system body wide
- Medication: Taking steroids and opioid pain meds can negatively affect the function of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland
Anyone of these issues or even a combination of a few of them can cause extremely low T production in young men.
Signs of Low T in Young Men
While there are some telltale signs that a young man might have a lower than normal production level of testosterone, this condition is typically confirmed by blood tests.
- Loss of muscle mass: Testosterone is primarily responsible for building muscles in males. Low T levels will cause your muscles to shrink
- You may get “man-boobs”: This is a condition called “gynecomastia” which causes your breast tissue to enlarge thus giving you man-boobs. This condition is believed to come about when there is an imbalance in testosterone and estrogen levels in a man
- Increased body fat: With reduced muscle mass comes increased body fat levels
- Mood swings: There is research showing that low testosterone levels cause mood swings in men. It might even cause depression
- Hair loss: Testosterone production plays a bigrole in fostering some of the most obvious body changes that come with puberty such as hair growth. Low T levels often cause hair loss in young men who should have hair almost everywhere. It could also cause balding although this is not a definitive sign since early balding in men can be hereditary
- Low sex drive: This is the big one! Testosterone is hugely responsible for your sex drive as a man. Because testosterone fuels your libido, if enough of it is not being produced in the body, then your libido also takes a nosedive
- Genital numbness: Low T levels can lead to genital numbness. This is not to say that your penis won’t be sensitive to touch, it is just to say that it will not be as sensitive as it should be
- Early onset ED: Since testosterone has a lot to do with your sex drive, low production levels can cause early onset ED. For an erection to occur, your body needs to release a molecule called nitric oxide. However, for this nitric oxide to be released, it needs to be triggered by testosterone. Therefore, low T levels lead to dismal or no triggering of nitric oxide and thus no erection or even if you get one, it won’t be firm enough to facilitate intercourse
- General fatigue: It is logical to assume that with reduced muscle mass you will have less strength to do the things you need to do during the day. However, low T levels lead to an even deeper level of fatigue
As already mentioned, these signs are not necessarily proof that you have low testosterone in your body. You will need to take two blood tests to confirm this fact. The good news is that even if you get diagnosed with low T, there are steps that you can take to reverse or remedy that situation.
What can you do to Increase Your Testosterone Level?
To help boost your testosterone production levels, you can:
- Start exercising with weights
- Eat more proteins, carbs,and fat
- Minimize stress levels
- Get enough sleep
- Take Vitamin D and mineral supplements
Men who are severely affected by low T productions have opted to go with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that helps supplement their natural production levels.
With the right form of management, low testosterone in young men can be reversed with time. It will, however, require deliberate action on your part. While some side effects come with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) such as breast enlargement and a low sperm count, getting carefully managed therapy sessions should minimize these side effects.