Low levels of testosterone in men is also known as hypogonadism. Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in the testicles. Testosterone is responsible for the development of the male characteristics during puberty as well as maintaining adult bodily functions including, sexual functions, strength and energy levels and the amount of muscle and fat in the body. If the body is unable to produce enough testosterone, a man can experience a variety of unwanted symptoms. These include; depression, lack of libido and a reduction in sexual performance.
The levels of testosterone naturally begin to fall once a man is around the age of forty. On average the decrease is between 1-2% a year. If a man’s testosterone levels were not particularly high to begin with then this gradual age-related decline may make the effects seem more pronounced.
Low levels of testosterone can also be attributed to physical damage to the testicles. This damage can be the result of a viral infection, such as mumps or as a result of certain cancer treatments. Low testosterone levels can also be the result of changes in parts of the brain that are responsible for testosterone production. These changes can be the result of brain tumours, direct trauma or abuse of certain drugs, including anabolic steroids.
Another known cause of low testosterone levels is obesity. In the body fat cells naturally convert testosterone into oestrogen. If the levels of fat cells are excessive then more testosterone is being converted, resulting in lower levels.