Feeling Tired, No Libido Overall Sense of Fatigue? Don't Assume Your Symptoms Are a Normal Part of Aging
Posted By: Dr. Gary Bellman on March 23, 2018
Distinguishing symptoms of low testosterone from symptoms of some chronic illnesses can be difficult. Feeling tired, loss of interest in sex, difficulty maintaining an erection, lack of energy, and mood changes all may be signs of many different issues. That is why it is important to see a specialist.
Research suggests that 1 in 4 men over 30 have low testosterone. Some of this is a result of natural aging, but much of it may be due to other causes as well. Signs of testosterone deficiency such as anemia, osteoporosis, and changes in body composition are also associated with aging. Often low testosterone is overlooked as a cause of these signs or symptoms when patients present with other medical conditions.
Aging: Normal decreases in testosterone levels are seen in the aging male and may or may not be associated with symptoms. It’s normal for men to have less interest in sex as they get older and to have fewer spontaneous erections, but it’s not normal for older men to have no interest in sex. Low testosterone is considered a level of less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL); however, levels vary with age. If you are an older man with symptoms of low testosterone due to aging, asking about the risks and benefits of testosterone treatment may be beneficial.
Depression: Low testosterone and depression share many of the same symptoms. Both low testosterone and depression can cause decreased sex drive, sadness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, lack of energy, and loss of interest in normal activities. Low testosterone can be a cause of depression in some men. Thyroid disease: Thyroid disease is more common in women than men, but men with thyroid disease may have many symptoms that are similar to low testosterone, including difficulty maintaining an erection, fatigue, irritability, and muscle weakness.
Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes and low testosterone commonly occur together in men over the age of 45. It is not clear if one causes the other, but symptoms can often overlap. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should be aware of the increased risk for low testosterone, especially if you have symptoms of decreased sex drive.
Damage to the testicles: Testicular torsion, trauma, infections of the testicles, and treatment of testicular cancer can also be causes of low testosterone.
Drugs: Some studies have shown that long-term use of marijuana can cause decreased interest in sex and may lower testosterone levels. Additionally, chronic opiate use frequently causes low testosterone.
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis
Finding the cause of your particular symptoms, whether it’s low testosterone or something else, can be difficult. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis from a specialist who treats low testosterone.
At Southern California Urology Institute, a blood test is ordered for an accurate & reliable source to measure levels. If your testosterone level is normal, Dr. Bellman will look for other causes of your symptoms.