Low Testosterone - Office Visit

This is a condition where a man's testosterone level is below the normal range. Testosterone is a hormone important for male growth and development.

This is a condition where a man's testosterone level is below the normal range.  Testosterone is a hormone important for male growth and development.

Low testosterone is a condition in which the body's testosterone level is below the normal range. Testosterone is a hormone that is important for male growth and development, as well as the maintenance of some of the body's important tissues and functions (e.g., bone and muscle mass, the production of red blood cells and sperm, and regulation of a man's sex drive). This care path focuses on low testosterone that occurs during adulthood.

  • Primary hypogonadism (low functioning of the genital organs) usually results from conditions directly affecting the testes, such as certain infections and genetic conditions.
  • Secondary hypogonadism is a problem with the parts of the brain that send signals to the testes to make more testosterone. Secondary hypogonadism can occur because of disorders involving the pituitary gland (the so-called master gland), various inflammatory diseases, HIV/AIDS, medications and, obesity.

As men age, it is normal for their testosterone level to decrease. However, this rarely causes symptoms. How rapidly the levels go down, and the need for treatment, varies among men. Most men have minimal or no symptoms, and need no treatment at all. Also, the degree of symptoms doesn't always correlate well to the actual testosterone level. As a result, some men may have low testosterone levels but no symptoms at all. Some symptoms that can occur with a low testosterone level include:

  • erectile dysfunction and decreased interest in sexual activity
  • infertility
  • decrease in hair growth on the face and body
  • gynecomastia (enlargement of male breast tissue)
  • decrease in muscle mass
  • emotional changes
  • fatigue and difficulty concentrating
  • feeling hot (hot flashes)

A decrease in bone mass (osteopenia or osteoporosis) can also occur in men with low testosterone levels. It is also very important to note that a man may have one or more of the symptoms above and the symptoms may have nothing to do with testosterone levels.

Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the above symptoms. They will perform a physical examination and may recommend some blood tests to find out the cause. These tests can include a testosterone level, which is usually best done first thing in the morning when levels are highest. It is important to remember that not all men with low testosterone levels have symptoms and need treatment. Also, many men with symptoms that frequently occur with low testosterone levels actually have normal levels when tested. Two separate low blood testosterone levels are necessary to diagnose low testosterone.

  • Depending on your history and symptoms, other testing may be recommended.

Treatment for low testosterone in adult men is usually provided to treat symptoms and typically involves hormone replacement therapy. This can be done through an injection, a patch that is changed each night, a gel that you apply to your body (typically under the arms), a putty-like substance you place under your upper lip or inside your cheek, and pellets that are placed under the skin.

If you have symptoms of low testosterone, you should see your healthcare provider.

  • Before your appointment, make a list of your medical history, including past illnesses, surgeries and hospitalizations; your medications (including over-the-counter); and any questions or concerns you want to discuss.
  • During your appointment, ask about your overall health, what symptoms you might have, when you may start to see improvement; what the follow-up plans are, if any; and what symptoms you should report before your next appointment.
  • Ask if your symptoms can be controlled with medications? If so, are there Tier 1 or Tier 2 medications on my Prescription Drug List that I should take? How long will I need to take these medications? What are the side effects of my medications?
  • Since external testosterone treatment may involve risks to you, and to those who are close to you, ask about alternative treatment (including the alternative of not treating at all).
  • After your appointment, you should know your diagnosis, what tests you might need, the reason for those tests, and if the test results will change your treatment plan. You should also understand your treatment plan, any possible alternatives, and what medications are recommended (including possible side effects).

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Male Problems
Low Testosterone - Office Visit
Low T

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