Testosterone is the hormone that controls your sex drive, moods, and overall sense of well-being. When levels are low, you might experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- A decreased sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
If you suspect a drop in your testosterone levels, you need to understand what might be causing this condition. Here are some of the most common causes of low testosterone and the available treatment options.
Chemotherapy can damage the testosterone-producing cells, including the Leydig cells in the testicles. The reduced testosterone production could lead to a condition called hypogonadism.
If you undergo chemotherapy and your doctor suspects a decrease in your testosterone levels, they may order a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. If the test shows reduced testosterone levels, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and regular exercise.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest testosterone replacement therapy, which can help to improve your symptoms and quality of life.
Congenital defects can cause low testosterone levels. Some men are born with testicles that cannot produce enough testosterone. This condition can be due to various factors, including abnormal development of the reproductive organs.
Another potential cause of low testosterone is Klinefelter syndrome, which affects males born with an extra copy of the X chromosome. Males with this condition often have small testicles, which causes a drop in lower testosterone production. In addition, certain genetic defects can impair the body's ability to convert cholesterol into testosterone.
In some cases, congenital defects can be corrected in the early stages of life with surgery or hormone replacement therapy. Oftentimes, this early intervention can help to prevent long-term health problems.
Traumatic Injury to the Testicles
The testicles are responsible for testosterone production. If they are damaged, they may not be able to produce as much of the hormone.
Additionally, trauma to the testicles can damage the blood vessels and nerves that send signals to the brain, telling it to release testosterone. The breakdown in nerve transmission can result in lower levels of the hormone in the body.
Trauma to the testicles can also cause inflammation, leading to lower testosterone levels. When the testicles are injured, the body responds by sending inflammatory cells to flood the affected area. However, some of the cells that produce testosterone may be damaged or destroyed in the process. This disruption can lead to a significant drop in testosterone levels.
In mild cases, the swelling may subside after applying ice to the injured area. But in serious cases, you may need to see a licensed low testosterone doctor.