What is Low Testosterone?

As men enter middle age, some experience low testosterone, a form of hypogonadism. Dr. Paul Knoepflmacher explains the symptoms of low testosterone.

Testosterone is the hormone that produces male characteristics in adult men. As men enter middle age, their testosterone level usually begins to decrease. If this drop is significant it can result in loss of energy, lower sex drive and difficulty with sex. In this video, Dr. Paul Knoepflmacher discusses symptoms of low testosterone and how low testosterone affects the male body. Once diagnosed, low testosterone, also called Low T, can be treated. 

Testosterone is critical for male sexual performance. During puberty, testosterone stimulates the growth of facial and pubic hair, enlarges muscles and makes a teenage boy's voice deeper. As an adult, testosterone maintains a man's libido, contributes to healthy bones and muscles and influences hair growth. As a man goes through middle age, testosterone levels drop. But men with significantly low testosterone may notice an increase in weight, decrease in libido and even fertility problems. 

Low testosterone is a form of hypogonadism, which refers to a decrease in production in testosterone, sperm counts or both. Primary hypogonadism occurs when the testes malfunction and don't produce adequate testosterone or sperm count. Secondary hypogonadism, also called central hypogonadism, originates in the brain. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus, which release hormones that control the testes, don't function properly so the testes don't produce enough testerone or sperm. 

A man with Low T may notice several changes. Symptoms of low testosterone include decreased energy and libido, infertility, erectile dysfunction, loss of pubic hair and muscle mass, brittle bones, enlarged breasts, hot flashes and shrinking of the testes. If there is a tumor in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, symptoms may include headaches, vision loss, milk discharge from the breasts, or symtpoms of other hormonal deficiencies such as hypothyroidism. 

It is important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis of low testosterone. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment for low testosterone can begin. 

Paul Knoepflmacher, MD

This video features Paul Knoepflmacher, MD. Dr. Knoepflmacher is a clinical instructor of medicine at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, where he also maintains a private practice.

Duration: 2:57. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Holly Atkinson, MD, Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: March 23, 2017
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