Does Low Testosterone Cause Fatigue?

Does Low Testosterone Cause Fatigue?

Physical tiredness and a lack of energy are regular issues for many people. The causes are various and diverse, and it is frequently a symptom of a poor diet, insufficient sleep, or high stress. 

However, for certain people, exhaustion and lethargy may be associated with hormonal abnormalities, notably low testosterone levels.

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a sex hormone that is largely generated in men’s testes and women’s ovaries and adrenals. It is essential for the development and maintenance of male physical traits as well as reproductive tissue.

Some key functions of testosterone include:

  • Development of male reproductive tissues like the testes and prostate gland
  • Stimulating sperm production
  • Development of male secondary sex characteristics like facial hair, deep voice, and muscle growth
  • Regulating libido or sex drive
  • Building bone density and strength
  • Production of red blood cells
  • Regulating the distribution of fat

When the body is maturing, testosterone levels are at their highest. It begins to decline naturally after the age of 30 at a rate of around 1% every year. Testosterone is an important hormone that affects men’s physical and mental health.

What are Normal Testosterone Levels?

Individual testosterone levels vary significantly. Adult boys’ normal total testosterone levels vary from 240 to 950 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Levels peak in the teen years and early twenties. After the age of 30, they begin a slow drop of approximately 1% every year.

By age 40, testosterone levels had dropped by 10% on average. The reduction continues with age, reaching 20% by age 60 and 50% by age 80 when compared to peak levels. Although testosterone diminishes normally, levels below 300 ng/dL might cause symptoms of low testosterone.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone can cause several symptoms in men. The most common symptoms of low testosterone include:

Decreased libido

Low libido or reduced sex drive is a common symptom of low testosterone. Men with low T levels often experience a lack of interest in sex or have difficulty getting aroused.

Erectile dysfunction

The inability to achieve or maintain an erection adequate for sexual activity is another symptom frequently associated with low testosterone. Many men with erectile dysfunction are found to have low testosterone.

Reduced muscle mass and strength

Normal levels of testosterone are important for building and maintaining muscle mass and strength. Low testosterone leads to reductions in muscle mass, decreases in strength, and poorer exercise performance.

Increased body fat

Testosterone helps regulate metabolism and body composition. Low levels can increase body fat, especially around the midsection and chest. Loss of muscle mass also leads to higher body fat percentages.

Fatigue and low energy

Deficient testosterone is a common cause of persistent, unexplained fatigue and low energy levels in men. Many men with chronically low energy levels are diagnosed with low T.

Does Low Testosterone Cause Fatigue?

Research studies indicate a strong association between low testosterone and fatigue. Testosterone is crucial for red blood cell synthesis, energy maintenance, and mood regulation, all of which are directly related to our energy levels and tiredness predisposition.

When testosterone levels drop, people may experience a significant decrease in overall energy levels, independent of food or sleep. Thus, prolonged, unexplained tiredness may indicate low testosterone levels. 

However, it is critical to remember that exhaustion is a frequent symptom linked with a variety of diseases, so check with a healthcare expert for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Other Causes of Fatigue

Other Causes of Fatigue

Fatigue is a frequent symptom with several possible explanations other than low testosterone. When analyzing symptoms, it is crucial to consider various variables that may contribute to exhaustion.

Sleep Deprivation

One of the leading reasons for fatigue is a lack of enough sleep. Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain good health and wellness. 

Getting less sleep than necessary can lead to persistent fatigue, a lack of energy, and difficulties concentrating during the day. Establishing excellent sleep habits, such as sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, minimizing screen time before bed, and establishing a relaxing sleep environment, will help ensure enough sleep.

Poor Diet

Diet and nutrition affect energy levels. Fatigue might result from consuming insufficient amounts of nutritious calories and nutrients. A diet deficient in iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and other vital vitamins and minerals might result in low energy. 

Staying adequately hydrated is also important. Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet and drinking enough of water can help combat weariness.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Fatigue can be caused by a variety of medical illnesses, including anemia, thyroid issues, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep apnea, cancer, or autoimmune diseases. Inflammatory diseases, infections, dietary intolerances, hormonal abnormalities, and obesity might all have a role.

Diagnosing and treating any underlying medical conditions is critical to addressing unexplained persistent tiredness. Discussing symptoms with a doctor might help discover any underlying health issues.

How to Treat Low Testosterone Level

There are several treatment options available for low testosterone that may help reduce fatigue:

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

  • Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) involves taking manufactured testosterone directly to raise levels. It is available in different forms like gels, patches, injections, pellets, etc.
  • TRT can help relieve fatigue and other symptoms by restoring normal testosterone levels. However, it has some side effects and long-term safety is still being researched.
  • It’s important to work closely with a doctor to determine if TRT is suitable and to monitor hormone levels and health on an ongoing basis if using it.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Making certain lifestyle changes can potentially help raise testosterone levels naturally and reduce fatigue:
  • Getting regular exercise and staying active helps stimulate testosterone production and reduce fatigue. Both cardio and strength training are beneficial.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and weight supports healthy testosterone levels. Limit sugar, processed foods, and alcohol which can deplete testosterone.
  • Getting adequate restorative sleep allows the body to replenish testosterone. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.
  • Reducing stress through relaxation techniques helps normalize testosterone levels impacted by high cortisol.
  • Limiting exposure to endocrine disruptors that may interfere with testosterone production.

Treating Underlying Conditions

  • Identifying and addressing any underlying health conditions causing low testosterone can alleviate fatigue.
  • Treating illnesses, infections, injuries, sleep apnea or nutritional deficiencies may resolve low testosterone.
  • Discontinuing any medications that can lower testosterone, in consultation with a doctor, may also help restore levels.
  • In some cases, testosterone levels can be restored to normal by treating primary conditions without the need for lifelong TRT.

Conclusion

Fatigue may have a big impact on your emotions, physical performance, and general well-being, thus the link between low testosterone and fatigue is important to investigate.

While low testosterone is a possible cause of persistent fatigue, there are various other factors to consider. As a result, diagnosis and therapy must be approached holistically and comprehensively.

Remember to always seek expert advice when dealing with hormone abnormalities.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article How Can Low Testosterone Cause Dizziness?

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK526128/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16670164/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2917954/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8823386/

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-langdon-m-d-41847610/
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.

Publications

-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being