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