Urology Low Testosterone

Low Testosterone

Understanding Low Testosterone

Having low testosterone can affect your daily life. You may have less energy and endurance for the activities you enjoy most. Over time, it can impact your physical and mental well-being.

The expert urologists at Emory Healthcare can work with you to find the right treatment. They will choose a therapy based on your unique symptoms and needs. We’re ready to partner with you and help you get back to the moments that matter most.

What is Low Testosterone?

Low testosterone is also called male hypogonadism. It is a condition where your testicles don’t produce enough of the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone plays a role in the development of male features. These include muscular strength, facial hair and a deeper voice. Testosterone also contributes to sex drive and the growth of male sex organs.

Testosterone naturally decreases with age. But, low testosterone can impact males at any point. This condition can also impact males who have:

  • Chronic medical conditions
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Poorly managed Type 2 diabetes

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone affects everyone differently. Specific symptoms linked to this condition include:

  • Decreased endurance/energy
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of body hair
  • Loss of lean muscle mass
  • Low sperm count
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Poor erection quality
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Shrinking testicles
  • Thinning beard hair

Causes of Low Testosterone

Many conditions can cause low testosterone. Most fall into two categories—primary hypogonadism and secondary hypogonadism.

Primary hypogonadism causes include:

  • Testicular injury: Damage to the testicles can reduce testosterone production.
  • Undescended testicles: One or both testicles do not move into the scrotum (the external sac that holds the testicles) at birth.
  • Cancer treatment: Chemotherapy or radiation can interfere with testosterone production.
  • Hemochromatosis: Too much iron in the blood causes the testicles to malfunction.
  • Klinefelter syndrome: A genetic condition that leads to abnormal development of the testicles.
  • Mumps orchitis: Mumps infection damages the testicles.

Secondary hypogonadism causes include:

  • Aging: Testosterone production naturally declines over time.
  • Medications: Certain medications can decrease testosterone production. This can include some hormones and opioid pain relievers.
  • Pituitary disorders: A tumor or other problem with your pituitary gland can reduce testosterone production. The pituitary gland controls growth and development.
  • HIV/AIDS: Infection affects the testes and lowers testosterone production.
  • Inflammatory disease: Certain inflammatory conditions like tuberculosis can limit testosterone production.

Diagnosing Low Testosterone

Low testosterone produces many symptoms. Our urologists rely on blood tests to give you the most accurate diagnosis. To determine if you have low testosterone, your doctor may recommend:

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) blood test: This test reveals if a problem with your pituitary gland is causing your low testosterone.
  • Prolactin blood test: This test shows if you have high prolactin levels. Too much prolactin can lead to low testosterone and erectile dysfunction.
  • Total testosterone blood test: This test measures the complete level of testosterone in your blood. This test must be completed by 10 a.m. before testosterone levels begin to drop for the day.

Treatments for Low Testosterone

  • Testosterone gels/patches
  • Testosterone pills
  • Intramuscular testosterone injections
  • Testosterone pellets

Why Choose Emory Healthcare 

At Emory Urology, we are known for our compassionate, patient-centered approach to delivering high-quality care for difficult-to-discuss problems. Our award-winning fellowship-trained specialists in men’s health provide the most innovative treatments and leading-edge procedures. And we are dedicated to developing the next generation of research-based therapies that will improve the quality of life for our patients.

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