Our bodies are designed to provide us with the right balance of hormones to enjoy a healthy and happy life. However, sometimes in life, this hormonal level can get disturbed due to one reason or another.
Testosterone is a primary male sex hormone that regulates several processes in men as well as in women. As men age, their levels of testosterone start declining, contributing to low testosterone or the ‘male menopause’. This condition can bring different changes in life, such as reduction in energy levels, low bone density, and sleep disturbance.
This article explains how low testosterone disturbs your energy level and sleep. We have also talked about the best methods of boosting your testosterone levels.
What is low testosterone?
As the name indicates, low testosterone (also written as low T) is a medical condition in which your body fails to produce adequate levels of testosterone. Testosterone is a male sex hormone that is involved in processes like the development of male sex characteristics, increase in muscle mass, production of normal levels of red blood cells, improvement in mood, and reproduction functions.
Low T means that the deficiency of testosterone will disturb all of the above-mentioned processes resulting in low muscle mass, reduction in bone density, difficulty in getting an erection, and depression.
It is an age-related condition that older men experience mostly. However, certain medical conditions like testicular cancer etc. can also cause low T in younger men. If you are experiencing low T symptoms, you should discuss your condition with your doctor to get treatment on time.
What’s the percentage of people suffering from low T?
Low T is more common in older men compared to younger men because, with age, testes lose their ability to make normal levels of testosterone. It affects around 40% of men of age 45 or older worldwide. Diagnosing low D can become difficult due to the changing levels of testosterone throughout the day.
Diagnosing low testosterone
If you think you are suffering from low T, it is best to visit a doctor and share your thoughts to get a proper medical diagnosis. Talk about your medical history, sexual issues, changes you are observing in life, and medications you are taking.
Your doctor will ask you about all the symptoms. After that, he will conduct a physical examination during which he may check your breast tissues, body hair, size of testes, etc. He will then move to the blood test to check whether these symptoms are associated with low T or not.
Two or more than two early morning blood tests are used to tell if the total testosterone is low. Your doctor can investigate further by conducting a few more tests to better diagnose the underlying issue.
Is low T really a problem?
Testosterone plays many key roles in the body. When its level in the bloodstream drops, you experience certain symptoms which can disturb your life’s quality. It particularly affects sex life as you have trouble getting an erection, and your desire to have sex also declines.
If your level of testosterone is not very low, you may not have to worry about it. But if it has dropped drastically and has persistent symptoms, you should talk to your doctor to find the real issue behind it. Your doctor will suggest a suitable solution after identifying the reason behind low T.
Low testosterone and energy levels
Testosterone is involved in maintaining vitality and vigor in men. It improves your rate of metabolism as well as physical performance. When you do not have enough testosterone in your system, your level of energy may drop, and your physical performance may also decline.
You also feel fatigued even after getting rest. With this problem, performing day-to-day activities can become difficult. To get rid of this issue, you should make changes in your lifestyle and eat testosterone-boosting foods. If these methods do not work for you, consult a doctor and get a suitable treatment.
Low testosterone and sleep
The relationship between low T and sleep is a bit complicated. When you sleep at night, your testosterone levels rise in the body naturally. People who do get enough sleep or sleep in the morning and stay awake at night experience low T.
While sleep deprivation reduces the levels of testosterone, low T can also disturb your sleep pattern and contribute to insomnia. When you fail to get enough sleep, you may feel tired and exhausted in the morning. Your energy level may also decline, and you may become cranky. If you are experiencing sleep issues due to low T, you should look for effective ways to boost your testosterone levels.
How to fix low testosterone?
After diagnosing low T, your doctor will first suggest bringing a few changes to your lifestyle and eat natural testosterone-boosting foods. He will observe the effect of changing lifestyle on your testosterone levels at different periods. If your low T symptoms still persist, he will recommend an effective treatment option called testosterone replacement therapy.
Ways of boosting your testosterone levels
Below is the list of the most effective methods of increasing your testosterone levels.
Start exercising and stick to it
Exercise has several health benefits. Interestingly, it is also the best natural way of elevating your testosterone levels. Several studies prove that people who perform exercises regularly have more energy and high testosterone levels.
Overeating, as well as constant dieting, can reduce your testosterone levels. That is why you should try to maintain a balanced diet. Have all the macronutrients like proteins, healthy fats, and carbs in the right amount every day. Eat whole foods, vegetables, and fruits to get pure nutrients.
Enjoy a quality sleep
As mentioned earlier, your sleep has a direct impact on the levels of testosterone in the blood. You should try to sleep at least 8 hours every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, perform different activities before going to bed so that you can fall asleep early. You can also try relaxing exercises that may induce sleep.
Your body secretes the cortisol hormone when you are under stress. Control can reduce the production of testosterone. To avoid this issue, try to minimize stress and reduce cortisol production.
Testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a pharmaceutical treatment in which testosterone is replaced exogenously by bio-identical hormones, in this case testosterone. A variety of delivery methods, such as gels, skin patches, tablets, injections, creams, etc., are used to transfer testosterone. Preference of the patient is considered while choosing a delivery method. You can learn the process of obtaining low testosterone treatment for men and women here.
Most men notice a reduction in low T symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks of starting testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Doctors prescribe this treatment if a patient really has the deviancy of testosterone and he is experiencing several low T symptoms.
Benefits of testosterone replacement therapy
- Men having testosterone replacement therapy notice the following symptoms.
- Improvement in mood and energy level
- Less risk of osteoporosis as testosterone improves bone density
- Better libido and sex life
- Loss of fat and improvement of muscle strength
Besides these benefits, you should also keep in mind the side effects associated with this treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy may cause skin irritation, acne, breast tenderness, and smaller testicles. You should discuss the side effects with your doctor before getting testosterone replacement therapy.
Should I worry about low T?
If your testosterone levels have declined significantly and they are disturbing the quality of your life, you should better get proper treatment. Sometimes, the low T problem is short-lived and goes away on its own after some time. It can happen due to several reasons such as medications, etc.
But if your condition and its symptoms do not go away, you should visit a doctor and talk about this problem. Not getting a proper treatment may contribute to low bone density, accumulation of fat, bad sex life, and lack of energy.
Does low T last forever?
Some people experience low T temporarily due to certain conditions. But if you have a certain genetic issue, removed your testicle with cancer, or are 50 plus in age, you may experience low T for the rest of your life.
But you do not have to live with this condition. You can bring your testosterone levels back to normal by improving your way of living and getting effective treatment.
Low T can disturb your sleep and reduce energy levels. It can have a negative impact on your productivity and quality of life. People suffering from this condition should first try natural ways of boosting testosterone. If they do not work, testosterone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment option that can help them get rid of low T symptoms and enjoy their lives once again.
References / Sources / Whitepapers
Burney, B.O. and Garcia, J.M., 2012. Hypogonadism in male cancer patients. Journal of cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle, 3(3), pp.149-155.
Cohen, J., Nassau, D.E., Patel, P. and Ramasamy, R., 2020. Low testosterone in adolescents & young adults. Frontiers in endocrinology, 10, p.916.
Bassil, N., Alkaade, S. and Morley, J.E., 2009. The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 5, p.427.