As men get older, their natural testosterone levels begin to fall.
This leads to a host of low testosterone symptoms which include changes in libido, fatigue, development of body fat, and more.
Because bodybuilders suppress their bodies’ natural ability to produce testosterone, these symptoms can become much more pronounced. Here is some information about the top signs of low testosterone.
Irritability occurs in both men and women alike when testosterone levels are too low (yes, women also need testosterone to thrive).
Your brain is filled with receptors, and when too many of these receptors are empty, it leaves you feeling grouchy and irritable.
In fact, many athletes and bodybuilders claim that this is the very first of the low testosterone symptoms to appear.
For many men, one of the very first low testosterone symptoms is chronic fatigue. Some men chalk it up to aging, and still others will blame a stress-ridden, busy lifestyle without ever putting two and two together.
Of all the low testosterone symptoms in men, this is the most frequently overlooked, but also the most common. Testosterone plays a vital part in your body’s production of energy, and without it, you may feel tired all the time – no matter how much rest you get or how little you do during the day.
If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, or unexplained fatigue that persists long-term despite your best efforts to regain energy, you might have low testosterone.
Another of the most unnerving low testosterone symptoms is muscle weakness, and for most men, it gradually gets worse over time.
You may find that lifting heavy objects or simply carrying groceries into your house is becoming more physically exhausting, or you may find that you can no longer lift things you once could.
Testosterone and muscle development and preservation go hand-in-hand, so when your testosterone levels are on the decline, your strength declines, too.
If you notice that you are not quite as strong as you once were, even if your diet and exercise routine hasn’t changed, low testosterone could be to blame.
Testosterone is also responsible for the growth of body hair in men, and it is why men naturally have more and thicker hair than their female counterparts. When hormone levels drop, hair loss is one of the most noticeable low testosterone symptoms.
At first, this may present as a slow thinning of chest, arm, and/or leg hair, but over time, the thinning progresses and men may notice far less hair on all parts of their bodies. It can affect male pattern baldness, as well, but this is typically worse in men who are genetically predisposed, meaning that their fathers or grandfathers had it.
Lack of Sex Drive and Performance Issues
For the same reasons that low testosterone can leave you feeling grumpy, it can also affect your sex drive. You may not think about sex as often as you once did, and even when you do, you may find that your performance is not what it once was. Of all of the low testosterone symptoms, issues in the bedroom are the most embarrassing. Too little of the hormone results in occasional impotence and inability to maintain an erection.
Increases in Body Fat
Body fat is a bodybuilder’s worst nightmare. These athletes spend countless weeks on cutting cycles to shave off just 1% of body fat and get that lean, vascular look that is so important on the stage. Unfortunately, testosterone levels start to fall, your body no longer metabolizes the food you consume in the same way. Rather than converting carbs to energy, your body will instead convert them to storage (fat deposits) for later use. This is one of the low testosterone symptoms that can truly wreak havoc on a bodybuilder’s way of life.
Gynecomastia is not the first of the low testosterone symptoms to appear, but if it does, it is a clear indicator of a significant hormone imbalance. Often, “gyno” is the result of the aromatization of anabolic steroids and exogenous testosterone.
However, even if you do not use anabolic steroids, you can experience gynecomastia. When there is not enough testosterone hormone, the natural estrogen in your body tends to take over. Not only does this lead to mood swings and sometimes depression, but it can also cause you to develop female breast tissue. Fortunately, supplementing with exogenous testosterone and using an aromatase inhibitor can reverse and prevent gynecomastia in most men.
Finally, testicular atrophy is perhaps the mother of all low testosterone symptoms. When you introduce steroids or exogenous testosterone into your body over a long period of time (21 days according to research) your body stops making its own testosterone.
Think of testes like muscles. If you do not continue to use your muscles, they will waste away. The same can be said for your testes; if they no longer need to produce testosterone, they begin to atrophy.
Testicular atrophy takes a long time to develop as one of the symptoms of low testosterone, so if you’re experiencing it, there’s a chance you’ve been testosterone-deficient for quite some time.
Low Testosterone Treatment Options
The good news is that there are several different testosterone forms that can help relieve the symptoms of low testosterone. You will need to visit your doctor and have some bloodwork to determine your levels, then figure out which dose schedule is right for you. The different forms of testosterone used for hormone replacement include the following.
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Your doctor will likely give you each of these options, so it’s up to you to do your research and decide which best suits your lifestyle. If you choose injections, find out whether you can administer your own injections at home or if you will need to visit a clinic or office to get them, too.
The good news is that you can prevent all of these low testosterone symptoms. Men who have low T for medical reasons should see their physicians, and those who use anabolic steroids or exogenous testosterone should plan for post-cycle therapy to jumpstart their bodies into producing adequate amounts of testosterone after the cycle. Anyone still thinking of doing an anabolic cycle should remember that it’s always a good idea to run Testosterone boosters as a base.