Low testosterone symptoms and treatment
Testosterone is one of over 70 hormones in the human body that regulates critical bodily functions. To make testosterone in the body, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone is secreted and sent to the pituitary gland, signaling to the brain that it’s time to create more testosterone. Testosterone is produced in the testicles, and enters the bloodstream. From there it travels throughout the body to testosterone receptor cells for binding (1).
How much does hCH increase testosterone
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a sex hormone that exists in both men and women. In men hCG stimulates the testicles, causing them to produce testosterone and sperm. While hCG does occur naturally, some men choose to use exogenous hCG via injectable solution. This extra hCG can further stimulate the testicles, increasing their size, and cause greater production of testosterone. Men taking testosterone replacement therapy often use injectable hCG to keep their testiscles active, when the TRT would have previously caused their testicles to become dormant (2).
Though hCG is safe, as it’s naturally occurring in humans, some people do have side effects with increasing their natural hCG levels.
- Sleep issues - Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Gynecomastia -The growth of male breast tissue under the nipples
- Stomach pain -Trouble digesting food
- Redness or swelling at injection site -Could just be irritation, not an infection
Like all important medical decisions, talk to your doctor to decide if hCG, testosterone, or other hormone related treatments are right for you.
Does low testosterone cause weight gain
Fat cells in the human body behave like organs, in that they secrete chemicals, send signals, and influence other parts of your body. Fat cells produce an enzyme called aromatase that converts testosterone to estrogen. An imbalance in testosterone and estrogen levels has the potential to increase body fat. The low testosterone caused by excess body fat can cause a cycle of low testosterone. Increased body fat percent interferes with the body’s ability to produce and effectively utilize testosterone, further lowering your already decreased and ineffective levels of testosterone (3).
There are some methods to combat the effects of high body fat and low testosterone.
- Weight lifting and resistance training -Gaining muscle mass increases metabolism, causing food to be more efficiently digested and converted to useful nutrients, build muscle, and energy.
- Sleep after training -Sleep is the time that muscle building actually takes place. With just weight lifting alone, muscle is being broken down. Without quality sleep your body doesn’t have the time to rebuild those broken down muscles.
- Testosterone replacement therapy -As men age their testosterone levels will naturally decrease. TRT can combat these negative effects, as the body’s natural testosterone production is replaced with exogenous testosterone injections.
Low testosterone headaches
A known but lesser talked about symptom of low testosterone is headaches. One main culprit of low testosterone related headaches is constricted blood vessels in the brain. Increasing testosterone levels can improve blood flow (everywhere, not just the brain) causing the blood vessels in the brain to widen, making it less likely to have headaches (4).
Some other potential positive effects are:
- An increased level of serotonin in the brain - Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for information communications across the brain. Improving this system would result in a lesser chance of headaches.
- Cortical Spreading Depression - CSD is an interference in communication and electrical activity in the brain. Reducing CSD can limit the frequency and severity of headaches.
- Better sleep - A more natural level of free testosterone, versus low levels, allows people to get better sleep, which helps muscles, brain, and the rest of the body to more effectively recover. A better rested body and mind means a lower likelihood of headaches.
Low testosterone beard growth
Testosterone levels are known to be related to the ability for a man to grow facial hair, and how much facial hair he grows. There have been very few studies on the effects of testosterone and how it relates to facial hair growth, but the studies that exists showed a positive correlation between higher testosterone levels, and facial hair growth.
One study in 2007 had young men use testosterone gel (which is becoming less common with advancements made in injectable testosterone) applied directly to their beard region. The results showed increased hair growth in the regions applied in the testosterone group vs the control group that used a placebo (5).
Low testosterone during puberty
During puberty, boys experience a thirty-times increase in testosterone production levels. This increase is often linked to changes in mood and behavior in adolescence such as aggression, an increase in risk taking, depression, other mood issues, and more prominent acne. These changes are common, and though normal, need to be monitored. A boy with low testosterone will experience symptoms that seem to be the opposite of what was listed above (6). A low testosterone boy may see:
- Growth issues - Testosterone and other hormones play a role in muscle growth, so if a boy isn’t growing like his peers he may be experiencing low testosterone.
- Lower interest in sports - The desire for physical activity is partially driven by testosterone. Boys not interested in physical activity, sports, or other active energy outlets could have a testosterone issue.
- Reduced sex drive - Testosterone, among other hormones, are a key factor in sex drive. A boy going through puberty is expected to have interest in sexual partners. If this isn’t the case they may need to have a blood test for low testosterone, or other hormonal issues.