Why do some people suffer from low testosterone levels?

At the age of about 30, testosterone levels begin to drop in most men. This often leads to a lack of libido, softening muscles, a lower sperm count and decline in bone density.

 

This has created a huge market for testosterone boosters, supplements, treatments and therapy.

Low testosterone levels are common in older men

The global testosterone replacement therapy market is predicted to be worth around $1.3 billion by 2026. Testosterone boosters are easily available online and in shops and many men turn to them to help improve their lowering levels of the hormone.

 

Here’s a closer look at what testosterone actually does to and for the body. Along with oestrogen, testosterone is the main sex hormone present in the body. Men and women produce both, but men generally produce more testosterone while women favour higher levels of oestrogen.

 

As males develop through puberty, testosterone is responsible for the growth of the sex organs. It also drives the development of other male physical attributes, such as denser muscles, broader shoulders and beard growth.

 

While testosterone levels contribute towards the libido, it’s important to remember that many other factors affect this. From natural fluctuations in testosterone throughout the day to various illnesses and conditions that affect it, sex drive is a complex thing. Usually men feel a stronger sexual urge when their testosterone levels are raised, which is often first thing in the morning.

Reasons for falling testosterone levels

Aging is the main reason for testosterone levels to drop. This is a natural part of the aging process and is the reason why older men tend to have less interest in sex. Some may be interested but struggle to perform as they would like, while others may find it becomes more difficult to maintain muscle tone.

 

But there are plenty of other causes of what is clinically termed hypogonadism. This is when the sex gland fails to produce enough of the sex hormone. Sex glands in both me and women are called gonads. It refers to ovaries in women and testes in men, and hypogonadism itself is also known as andropause or low serum testosterone.

 

Hypogonadism is split into two main categories:

 

  1. Primary hypogonadism

This is when the gonads fail to produce enough sex hormone.

 

  1. Secondary hypogonadism

Also known as central hypogonadism, this is a problem in the brain itself. The hypothalamus and pituitary control other glands throughout the body, including gonads.

 

What causes hypogonadism or low testosterone?

There are many factors that can cause lower testosterone levels, ranging from illnesses to psychological factors.

 

  1. Main causes of primary hypogonadism include

 

  • Exposure to radiation.
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as hypoparathyroidism.
  • Genetic conditions, such as Turner syndrome.
  • Diseases affecting the kidney or liver.
  • Severe infections, such as mumps affecting the testicles.
  • Testes that remain undescended.
  • Hemochromatosis (iron levels are too high).
  • Surgery on the sex organs.

 

  1. Main causes of secondary (or central) hypogonadism include

 

  • Infections, such as HIV or AIDs.
  • Disorders of the pituitary in the brain.
  • Inflammatory diseases, including TB and histiocytosis.
  • Being obese.
  • Losing weight too fast.
  • Genetic disorders causing abnormal development of the hypothalamus.

How to increase testosterone levels

Testosterone boosters and supplements are designed to raise levels of the hormone. It’s always advisable to visit a doctor before embarking on any testosterone boosting therapy. A test will show exactly where the problem lies. In general, testosterone boosters and supplements are helpful for improving stamina, libido, energy levels and mood.

 

Some men find they may have side effects, but this can be the case with all supplements. Always check the label and ensure that there are no obvious side effects from the supplement, before ensuring it’s part of a healthy lifestyle.

Testosterone therapy works best in conjunction with natural ways to raise levels and improve sex drive. Getting more potassium and zinc in the diet, sleeping well, exercising more, eating less sugar and managing stress levels all contribute to improving libido and testosterone levels.