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Testosterone is a hormone primarily produced in males, in the testicles. Testosterone is necessary for sexual development and for making sperm.
If you have low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, it means you have a reduced amount of the hormone testosterone in your body. 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.
Potential causes of low testosterone include:
After young adulthood, men's testosterone levels start to drop. If you're over 45, you may be at a higher risk of having low levels of testosterone. Risk factors of low testosterone include:
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.
Your doctor may ask you questions regarding:
A physical exam for low testosterone levels is essential. Your doctor will look at:
In addition to a physical exam, your doctor may order the following tests:
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:
Potential side effects of testosterone therapy may include: