Hands up if you suspect you’re suffering from low Testosterone levels?
If your hand is up, you’re not alone.
A statistic from 2011 indicates that 13 million men in the United States had issues relating to low Testosterone levels. These days, it can be assumed this rate is even higher.
Research also shows that only a small percentage of these men seek treatment for low testosterone levels.
In order to access treatment and regain overall wellbeing, it’s important to do your research about a normal testosterone level. Keep reading to discover male testosterone levels by age, which typically peak around the early twenties.
What is Testosterone?
When talking about testosterone levels in men, it’s helpful to first understand exactly what testosterone is.
Testosterone is a hormone found in both humans and other animals. In men, testosterone is produced by the testicles. Women also produce testosterone from their ovaries but in smaller amounts.
Along with this, in both men and women, testosterone is made in a smaller amount by the adrenal glands. For both men and women, testosterone is important to sexual function.
In boys going through puberty, testosterone causes the voice to drop, muscles to form, and facial hair to grow. In addition, it enables the testes to produce sperm.
The brain and pituitary gland control testosterone levels. Once produced, the hormone travels through the blood to carry out its various critical functions.
An interesting and mostly unknown fact is that most of the testosterone in the blood is bound to a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Along with this, there’s something called “free testosterone”, which is testosterone that’s not bound.
Keep in mind that your doctor can get measures of both. A simple blood test can measure these and other health markers, like estrogen levels.
Another important fact that many people don’t know is that testosterone deficiency in the womb can seriously affect the development of a male fetus. It will, of course, also affect male puberty. in the worst cases, it can slow a person’s development and growth.
We’ve mentioned that, as people age, hormone levels change for males and females. But men experience a more gradual change in hormone levels, while women experience a dramatic change, with their levels dropping until she finally reaches menopause.
Normal Testosterone Levels in Men
Health professionals agree that being aware of the average testosterone levels for your age is very useful. Doing your research and staying informed will help increase your chances of preventing a problem before it’s too late. It also works toward your chance of accessing successful, targeted treatment.
If low testosterone levels (T-levels) aren’t managed, a frustrating experience can follow. Low energy, lack of motivation and even depression are just some negative results of badly managed T-levels. These symptoms can really affect your quality of life.
Most commonly, Testosterone is associated with sex drive, as it plays a vital role in sperm production. But it also affects the way men store fat in their body, muscle and bone mass, and even red blood cell production. It also affects mood and mood regulation.
Therefore, if treatment doesn’t occur, symptoms like this can lead to poor mental health and serious consequences in work performance and interpersonal relationships. This is why it’s essential to maintain optimal test levels.
What are Low T-Levels?
Normal testosterone levels for healthy men is within 300 – 1,110 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). It’s clearly a wide range. What this means is that many healthy men will appear at a different place along this spectrum.
It’s important to remember that, when we’re talking about testosterone levels, “healthy” means something different to each person. In order to help illustrate this, keep in mind that, for women, healthy testosterone levels are typically between 2 – 45 ng/dL.
Generally, a diagnosis of low testosterone is made if a man’s hormone level is below 300 ng/dL. Optimum male testosterone levels fall between 600-800 ng/dL.
Keep in mind that your testosterone measurement is only one part of the full picture. Your sexual hormone health doesn’t just depend of your T-levels.
What Affects T-Levels?
The discussion around T-levels has expanded in the medical community in recent years. It’s widely agreed that your testosterone levels depend largely on three key factors:
- Existing health conditions
While testosterone production naturally tapers off as a man ages, there are other factors that cause hormone levels to plummet. Chronic health conditions and stress can also reduce testosterone production. Some of these include:
- kidney disease
- cirrhosis of the liver
- type 2 diabetes
It’s clear that the causes of Low T-levels are varied. Because of this, we’ve tried to include as many as possible. Low testosterone levels can also be a sign of pituitary gland problems. The pituitary gland sends a signaling hormone to the testicles to produce more testosterone.
When an adult male gets a low Testosterone test result, it can mean the pituitary gland isn’t functioning properly. However, when a young male teen has low T-levels, it can indicate he’s experiencing delayed puberty.
Along with this, causes of low Testosterone can include:
- testicular injury, such as castration
- medications, such as opiate analgesics
- infection of the testicles
- disorders that affect the hormones, such as pituitary tumors or high prolactin levels
- genetic diseases, such as Klinefelter syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, hemochromatosis, Kallman syndrome, and myotonic dystrophy
This is another reason why staying on top of your hormone health is an important part of maintaining overall mental and physical health.
Symptoms of Low T-Levels
We’ve spoken about what constitutes low T-levels in men. If you’re wondering if you have a normal testosterone level, looking out for the following signs and symptoms will be helpful.
Keep in mind that these signs and symptoms may occur in different ways for different individuals. They may occur alone or as a group:
- less energy
- weight gain
- feelings of depression
- low self-esteem
- less body hair
- thinner bones
Low testosterone levels can also cause changes in sexual function, including:
- reduced sexual desire, or low libido
- fewer spontaneous erections
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
Other signs of low testosterone levels include difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep patterns, and reduced muscle strength and bulk. Men may also notice an increase in their breast size.
Male Testosterone Levels by Age
By now we know that as men age, their testosterone levels drop.
Testosterone levels peak for most men in their early twenties (before 25). In boys, the first physical signs of increased testosterone production are apparent during puberty. Broader shoulders and differences to the facial structure are some of the first noticeable signs of heightened T-levels.
After 25, Testosterone levels will level out and will then begin to decline. After 30, T-levels decline at a rate of about 1% each year.
Of course, this decline will be quicker or slower due to a variety of factors. For example, Obesity can significantly lower testosterone levels. Obese men who lead an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle may experience a much more rapid decline each year.
However, even healthy men will produce less testosterone as they age. You may have noticed that men seem to ‘calm down’ or ‘mellow out’ as they age. This can be attributed, in part, to their declining T-levels.
This symptom is perhaps the only positive element of lowering T-levels. A more relaxed man leads to a more relaxed family and household. Of course, the problem arises when T-levels are declining at a rate that’s too rapid.
So, how do we know when T-levels are just slightly lower and when they’re too low?
Research shows that the most reliable way to diagnose low T-levels is to visit your doctor for a blood test and physical exam.
It’s your doctor’s responsibility to examine your sexual development and physical appearance in addition to a simple blood test.
Keep in mind that your testosterone levels are usually higher in the morning. Because of this, the blood test must be performed before 10:00 a.m. in younger men. In contrast, men over 45 can be tested until 2:00 p.m. and still receive accurate results.
Side-effects of the blood test aren’t common. But you may experience some pain at the site of injection.
Remember that different labs may indicate different ranges. For this reason, it’s important to have a discussion with your doctor about the results. The doctor may do immediate checks to determine the cause of low T-levels if the test indicates levels that are below 33 ng/dL.
What about High Levels?
Until now, we’ve only spoken about low T-levels. But it’s useful to also mention that moderately elevated testosterone levels in men tend to produce few noticeable symptoms.
Young boys with higher levels of testosterone can start puberty much earlier than their classmates. While women with higher than normal testosterone can develop masculine features.
Both of these situations may cause discomfort and stress for the individual. The symptoms of high T-levels can be very obvious in an individual’s appearance.
Another reason to mention this possibility is that abnormally high levels of testosterone can be the result of an adrenal gland disorder. Cancer of the testes is another serious concern that’s linked to high T-levels.
Of course, high T-levels aren’t always indicative of serious health concerns. High levels may also occur in less serious conditions. An example of this is congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This can affect both males and females and is a rare but natural cause for elevated testosterone production.
If your testosterone levels are extremely high, it’s likely your doctor will conduct other tests to determine the cause.
So, what are the treatment options?
It’s time to discuss what can be done if you have low T-levels. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is an effective method of treating symptoms related to low T.
The good news is that these days, you have options. The wide range of treatment options means you’ll easily find one to suit your unique needs. Testosterone is available as:
- an injection
- a patch
- gel applied to your skin
- gel applied up your nostrils
- pellets implanted under your skin
At this point, it’s useful to mention that many men take Viagra. Viagra is specifically prescribed for erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED may be a symptom of low T-levels, Viagra does nothing to treat the actual cause of low testosterone.
Erectile Dysfunction can be caused by a range of other issues, such as specific medication or mental illness. Keep in mind that low T is a risk factor for serious conditions, like Dementia. For this reason, it’s important to seek professional support and treatment.
The Next Steps
After reading this, it’s clear that Testosterone is a powerful hormone with the ability to control a range of bodily processes. From regulating sperm production and increasing energy levels to promoting muscle mass.
Its influence on sex drive and mood means that it’s central to the overall wellbeing of males as they age. In line with this, it even has an effect on elements of human behavior, such as aggression and competitiveness.
While slightly lower testosterone levels may be concerning, it’s a natural part of aging. Dramatically decreasingly levels can, as we’ve shown, be indicative of a much more serious health issue.
Now that you understand more about differing average male testosterone levels by age, what are the next steps?
It’s essential to seek treatment and support for declining T-levels. For more information about Testosterone Replacement Therapy, please contact us. We’re more than happy to talk you through the options until you find one that suits your unique needs best.