Testosterone is a sex hormone in males, that is generated in the testicles and helps in the development of their physical features. Testosterone is the key hormone that provides men with muscle and bone strength, facial and body hair, and a heavy voice. Testosterone is an influencing factor boosts men’s sex drive, their mood, erections and their capacity to generate sperms.
What does low testosterone mean?
This is a medical condition known as hypogonadism or low-T, that refers to a condition in which the production of the testosterone hormone is not normal (there is a lack of fabrication of this sex hormone). Once a man attains 30 years of age, the testosterone levels start decreasing by about 1% every year. This decrease in testosterone levels is normal and is considered as a part of the aging process. However, there are various other reasons that can lead to decrease in testosterone levels. Low-T can be of two types, primary and secondary, and each of these types has its own causes.
Common causes of low testosterone
This is a medical condition in which the cause of low testosterone levels originates due to problems in the testicles. This can be acquired through time, or even can be genetic.
The main causes of primary hypogonadism include:
Undescended testicles: When the baby is still not born, the testicles develop within the abdomen, and acquire their permanent position in the scrotum. In some rare cases, the testicles may not acquire its position before birth. This condition gets normal on its own within the initial years after birth, but if the situation remains the same, it may lead to failure of testicles and lesser production of the testosterone hormone.
Hemochromatosis: In case the blood running through the veins contains too much iron, testicular failure, or even problems in pituitary gland can occur. This leads to low levels of testosterone production.
Klinefelter Syndrome: This is a medical condition that is the result of an innate deformity of the sex chromosomes, X and Y. In normal situations one X and Y chromosome are present, but in abnormal conditions, there can be a probability of more than one X chromosome and only one Y chromosome.
The additional X chromosome may lead to deformity of the testicles, which further leads to low-T.
Injury: In case of any injury to the testicles, the damage can lead to low production of testosterone. Although, injury in one of the testicles, does not bar the production of the testosterone completely.
Cancer treatment: In case a person is suffering from cancer and is going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the testosterone levels often diminish. This can be temporary, but sometimes permanent infertility may occur.
Mumps Orchitis: If a mumps virus occurs, it leads to damaged testicles, and so low levels of testosterone are produced, due to inflammation in the testicles.
This is a type of hypogonadism that occurs due to a problem with the pituitary gland, which is the area of the brain that sends signals to the testicles, that involves the production of testosterone. This can be acquired through time or even can be genetic. The main causes of secondary Hypogonadism include:
Obesity: This is the common problem that is affecting most of the people today. If the body mass index of a normal person is more than 30 kg/m2, he/she is said to be obese. High-fat accumulation is one of the causes of low testosterone level.
Kallmann Syndrome: Hypothalamus is the fraction of the brain, that drives the discharge of hormones from the pituitary gland, and an abnormality in the working of Hypothalamus, can cause low levels of testosterone.
HIV/AIDS: This syndrome is one of the causes of low testosterone levels as this disease affects the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands.
Pituitary disorders: If there happens to be a problem in the pituitary gland, the release of pituitary hormones gets affected, which in turn causes low levels of testosterone. This problem may occur due to a brain tumor, or even pituitary tumor.
Inflammatory Disease: There exist certain inflammatory diseases like—tuberculosis, sarcoidosis or histiocytosis, that can be directly or indirectly related to the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. And this may lead to low production of testosterone.
Illness: Sometimes due to emotional or physical stress that a person goes through because of a certain kind of illness, reduction in signals that come from the hypothalamus occurs, which in turn causes low testosterone.
Keep in mind the above information and consult a doctor if you feel any abnormalities.