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How Do I Know If My Testosterone Is Low?
Signs and Diagnosis

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 15, 2021

That’s a question that I’ve been asked every time I talk to clients about low T-levels and the impacts on their health.

The thing is that most people have a completely wrong idea about the male sex hormone.

It’s not just about maintaining an erection and bodybuilder-style muscle growth.

Low testosterone levels can impact many other parts of your mind and body, and understanding what to look out for is a key part of overcoming and avoiding many health problems.

So, to help you better understand the symptoms, we’ve listed the following advice.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Testosterone levels impact a lot more body functions than just muscle mass. 
  • Low testosterone is more common in older than younger men, and production starts to drop every year from age 30. 
  • There are several symptoms that could be early signs of hormone imbalances, and they go beyond just sexual dysfunction.

9 Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels

1. Low Sex Drive

This is possibly one of the least spoken about issues with low testosterone levels.

For some reason, men still avoid the topic, possibly out of fear of being judged.

But there is more to this issue than just having more fun in the bedroom.

Low sperm production and sperm quality go hand in hand with sex drive, and it can be a major issue for couples trying to have a baby.

2. Hair Loss

man with a patch on his head over losing hair

The same way that testosterone influences body hair in adolescents, it continues to impact head and facial hair throughout life.

While many people put balding down to natural aging, it’s actually something more likely tied to low testosterone [1].

This may especially be the case for men who notice hair loss in their 30s.

And while there are countless treatments for hair production, it’s often best to start with testosterone.

3. Fatigue

I’m not just referring to fatigue at the gym, where you seem to feel tired earlier than you used to. With low testosterone, it can become a lot more severe than that where you feel tired all the time, even first thing in the morning.

You might even notice a drastic drop in concentration early in the day where you lack motivation for any kind of work or physical activity.

4. Loss Of Muscle And Bone Mass

fat man using a tape measure on his body

Low testosterone in men also brings an increased risk of lower bone volume [2].

While other minerals and vitamins are critical for dealing with bone loss, testosterone plays a key role in sending the signals that encourage stronger bone tissue growth to avoid bone fractures.

And the same is the case for muscles.

There’s a reason some athletes turn to steroids for strength and endurance gains.

5. Sudden Weight Fluctuations

In severe cases, testosterone deficiency syndrome can be a major contributor to obesity.

But even moderate reductions in T-levels can lead to increased body fat.

That can lead to a vicious circle of low T-levels, causing more weight gain and the extra fat causing lower T-levels.

It can become impossible to maintain a healthy weight.

Related: Testosterone & Weight Loss - Are They Related?

6. Mood Swings

man covering his face out of frustration

Low testosterone in men, or even regular fluctuations, can significantly impact their mood and mental health.

In less severe cases, you might notice that you’re more irritable and reactive to others.

But it can also lead to depression and anxiety, so make sure that you look out for those early signs that your state of mind is not what it always was.

7. Lack Of Focus

Scientists have long believed that testosterone is also linked to brain function and mental focus.

And one study has shown that this link goes beyond just having higher physical and mental energy levels [3].

It’s also often something that men who treat low T-count notice as one of the first things to improve.

8. Difficulty With Memory

man with his hands on his face upset while working

In many cases, men put poor memory down to age as they get older.

But there really should be no reason not to keep your brain as powerful as possible with the right approach to low T-count.

A lot more research is required in this area of testosterone impact, but it’s something many men report once they start medical testosterone treatment.

9. Erectile Dysfunction

Along with a man's sex drive, testosterone stimulates sperm production and overall sexual function. One way that low testosterone contributes to erection difficulties is the lower your T-levels are, the less your body will produce nitric oxide.

And that impacts blood flow to the penis.

It should also explain why teenage boys who see huge spikes in testosterone tend to have spontaneous erections.

“The typical signs that your testosterone may be low are commonly overlooked or mistaken for other issues which are then dealt with individually rather than as a whole. For instance, hair loss, weight gain, and fatigue are all signs of low testosterone but are often treated as individual problems.

 

Once you and your medical provider recognize that these are all due to one medical condition, it is easier to address the root cause. Through diet and supplementation, some individuals can find an increase in their testosterone naturally.” - Lisa Richards, CNC at TheCandidaDiet.com.

Medical Tests To Determine Low Testosterone

hand view of a person showing a blood sample

If you have shown any of the above symptoms more frequently, and they are gradually getting worse with age, then some simple blood tests are the best way to determine whether you have low testosterone.

Now, in some cases, your T-count can be extremely low, and then a doctor might recommend testosterone replacement therapy.

And since we don’t provide medical advice, testosterone therapy is something you really have to talk to your doctor about.

What a blood test will reveal is two things.

Total Blood Testosterone Level

This is the total testosterone that includes both free and bound testosterone.

It’s an important value to help you understand how much testosterone your body is actually producing.

When combined with the second value of free testosterone, it may indicate that your body is producing enough, but too much of it isn’t bioavailable.

Free Testosterone Level

This is also sometimes referred to as serum testosterone, and it’s the amount of the hormone freely available to send signals to different body parts.

It is the more important one for building muscle and developing muscle strength.

It’s this value that ultimately may point to a testosterone deficiency that might be causing the above issues, including low libido and mood swings.

FAQs

Does Fasting Affect Testosterone Levels?

Yes, fasting may affect testosterone levels. Longer fasting times that last several days could lead to low testosterone. At the same time, short intermittent fasting may actually improve your low T-count.

What Time of Day Should You Do a Testosterone Blood Test?

The best time of day to do a testosterone blood test is before 10 am. The male sex organs produce most testosterone during the night, and it’s the peak value that you need to better understand if you have a low T-count.

Have You Noticed Any Of The Above Symptoms?

You don’t need to be dealing with medical conditions to end up with a low T-count.

Normal testosterone levels decline with age, and if you don’t deal with them, long-term problems may become more difficult.

So, if any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you, consider having a blood test done to get a definitive answer.

If you stick to healthy lifestyle habits and consider taking some natural testosterone boosters, you could get back to normal levels and even exceed them within a few weeks.


References:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/testosterone-prostate-cancer-and-balding-is-there-a-link-thefamilyhealth-guide
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5036835/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433758/

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