Many men have lowered testosterone levels as they age and these low levels can start to cause a variety of symptoms. Although many people think of testosterone as a “sex hormone”, it is a more complicated molecule than that. Besides sex drive and assisting erections, normal testosterone helps preserve muscle mass, energy levels, strong bones, heart health, brain/mental health, normal mood, and so on.
Low testosterone is typically diagnosed through a combination of symptoms and laboratory tests.
A good first screening test is the ADAM questionnaire. [link]
If there is a suspicion of low testosterone, you will have a blood test. This may need to be repeated.
Many treatments are available to get testosterone back to normal levels. It is important to monitor your levels as well as some related blood tests, as it can be dangerous to have testosterone levels that are too high.
Treatments include intramuscular injections, patches, absorbable tablets, creams, and gels.
Testosterone and Prostate Cancer
There has been a fear that taking extra testosterone may cause prostate cancer. A number of studies have shown that having low testosterone may be related to having more aggressive prostate cancer. Normal testosterone levels do not cause prostate cancer, although it is important to look for evidence of prostate cancer when starting testosterone treatment. Even if a man has been treated for prostate cancer with surgery, it is safe (and even beneficial) to treat low testosterone.