Also part of the UPMC family:

Low Testosterone

To make an appointment at the Men's Health Center, call 1-877-641-4636 or fill out our form.

What is Low Testosterone?

If you have low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, it means you have a reduced amount of the hormone testosterone in your body. In men, testosterone is necessary for sexual development and for making sperm. Among other symptoms, low testosterone can affect your desire and ability to have sex.

This condition is common; nearly 40 percent of men ages 45 and older are affected.

Low Testosterone Causes

After young adulthood, men's testosterone levels start to drop. If you're over 45, you're at a higher risk of having low levels of testosterone. Testosterone levels can also change depending on what you eat, your weight, how much alcohol you consume, the medicines you take, and whether you have any chronic illnesses.

Some genetic conditions, including Klinefelter syndrome and Noonan syndrome, can also cause low testosterone. 

Low Testosterone Symptoms

If you have low testosterone, you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Low sex drive
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low muscle mass
  • Issues with memory or concentration

Low Testosterone Diagnosis

To diagnose low testosterone, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, consider your medical history and symptoms, and order a blood test to measure your testosterone levels. A blood test is one of the most definite ways to diagnose the condition.

Low Testosterone Treatment

Though some men want to start treatment for low testosterone, before confirming their testosterone levels, this isn't advised. If a blood test confirms you have low testosterone, however, there are multiple treatments that can help. The most common treatments are topical gels, creams, and patches.
Other forms of testosterone therapy include:

  • Biweekly injections into your muscle tissue
  • Slow-release oral tablets
  • Slow-release pellets that are placed under your skin

While receiving testosterone therapy, it is important to have regular appointments with your doctor so they can check your testosterone levels and help manage any negative side effects.

Potential side effects of testosterone therapy may include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Skin irritation
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne 

Learn More About Low Testosterone