What Causes Low Testosterone in Men?

What Causes Low Testosterone in Men?

Testosterone is often referred to as the hormone that makes a man a man. This is because it is responsible for carrying out a lot of functions in a man’s body. These features include the production of sperm, stimulating sex drive, the building of bone and muscle mass, and a lot of other features.

Typically, the production rate of testosterone decreases as a man gets older, and research has shown that every 2 out of 10 men aged 60 and above have low testosterone. A man is diagnosed with low testosterone if his testosterone levels drop below the average, which is 300 nanograms per deciliter. There are a lot of symptoms that accompany this decline in testosterone levels. Some of these symptoms include;

Low Sex Drive

Low testosterone levels can impact the sex drive of a man negatively. As testosterone is vital for libido, if levels drop below average, then there might be a decline in sex drive.

It is also natural for some men to notice a decrease in their desire for sex as they age. But men who have low testosterone levels are more susceptible to having a significant decline in their sex drive.

Challenges with erection

In addition to stimulating the sex drive of a man, testosterone is also vital for men to get and maintain an erection. Testosterone triggers some receptors in the brain to secrete nitric oxide, which will then set off a chain of chemical reactions to achieve an erection.

So, when a man’s testosterone levels drop below average, it could prove difficult for him to get an erection before having sex or getting spontaneous erections. Several other health conditions could cause erectile problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heavy alcohol intake, stress, and thyroid problems.

Small-sized testicle

Testosterone plays a vital role in the size of a man’s testicles. So, a man with low levels of testosterone will see that he has a smaller than normal sized testicle. The body needs testosterone for the development of the testicles and penis, which is why a man with low levels with have a smaller penis or testicles than a man with high levels.

You cannot just diagnose low testosterone based on small testicle size as there are a lot of other symptoms that could contribute to a small penis size.

Hair loss

thinning hairIt is without a doubt that testosterone is responsible for a lot of bodily functions in men, and this includes the production of hair. It is a natural process for men to lose hair as they age; balding is sometimes inherited.

But men with low testosterone levels will experience hair loss faster than men who have normal testosterone levels. They would lose hair on their face and body.

Increased body fat

Men who have low testosterone levels will begin to have a fat increase in different parts of their body.

In some cases, they might develop gynecomastia, which is a condition where the breast tissue gets enlarged. This condition is found to occur when there is an imbalance in the estrogen and testosterone levels in men.

Causes of low testosterone in men

A drop in testosterone levels in men is often referred to as male hypogonadism. Typically there are two types of hypogonadism which are the primary and secondary.

Primary hypogonadism occurs as a result of a problem with the testicles, while secondary hypogonadism signifies that there is a problem in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. So the causes of low testosterone in men include;

Primary Hypogonadism

Undescended testicles

The testicles grow inside the abdomen before birth and typically move down into their right position in the scrotum. In some cases, one or two of the testicles don’t drop to their normal place at birth.

This condition resolves itself in the first stages of life. But if it is not corrected at an early stage, it could impact the testicles, thereby reducing the production rate of testosterone.


This is a condition where there is too much iron in the body. When there are high amounts of iron in the body, it could lead to testicular failure, which will affect testosterone production.

Injury to the testicles

The testicles are located outside the abdomen, which means that they are more susceptible to injury. If adequately developed testicles are damaged, it could lead to low testosterone levels. However, if just one testicle is damaged, it won’t affect total testosterone production.

Cancer treatment

Treatment for cancer like radiation therapy or chemotherapy could affect the production rate of testosterone and sperm. The effects of these treatments are usually temporary, but it could lead to permanent infertility.

In some rare cases, men tend to regain their fertility after a few months, which is why men should preserve sperm before starting cancer therapy.

Mumps orchitis

This is a mumps infection that occurs during adolescence or adulthood and could be detrimental to the testicles. This could make the testicles malfunction and lead to low testosterone levels.

Secondary Hypogonadism

Kallmann’s syndrome

This is an irregular development of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is responsible for the secretion of pituitary hormones, and it also plays a role in the production of testosterone. This abnormal development of the hypothalamus could affect a person’s sense of smell.

Pituitary disorders

If there is a problem with the pituitary gland, it could prevent the release of certain hormones to the testicles, which would impact testosterone production. If a man has a pituitary tumor, it could lead to testosterone deficiency.

In addition, treatment for brain tumors like radiation therapy or surgery can affect the pituitary gland and lead to low testosterone levels.

Inflammatory disease

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland can be impacted negatively by inflammatory diseases like histiocytosis, sarcoidosis, and tuberculosis. This, in turn, would lead to lowered testosterone production.


Certain drugs can impact testosterone levels in men. Drugs like opiate pain medications are not to be consumed regularly as it could lead to low T.

How to boost testosterone levels

Men actively seek out ways to boost their testosterone levels to keep their body in optimal shape. The following are some of the ways to boost testosterone levels;

Frequently exercise

exercisingExercise is one of the best ways to lead a healthy life and avoid a lot of health complications. It has also been proven to boost testosterone levels.

Research has shown that people who exercise regularly tend to have higher testosterone levels and also have better reaction time and fitness. You could also opt to lift weights as it is best for boosting testosterone levels.

Reduce stress

Frequently being in situations that cause stress could lead to low testosterone levels as stressful situations can increase the levels of cortisol in the body. An abnormal increase in the levels of cortisol in the body could rapidly drop testosterone levels.

This is because the more cortisol level increases, the more testosterone levels drop. High cortisol levels and stress could lead to rapid weight gain as food intake would rise. When the body stores harmful fat, it could negatively affect testosterone levels.

If you want to remain in optimal health and have normal testosterone levels, you have to avoid stressful events.

Get some Vitamin D

Vitamin D comes with a lot of health benefits, and surprisingly it has been found to boost testosterone levels in men. A lot of people have been found to be vitamin D deficient despite all its benefits.

Research has shown that getting the required daily value of vitamin D, which is about 3000 IU will significantly boost your testosterone levels.

Why you should boost your testosterone levels

In men, there are a lot of benefits to having normal testosterone levels. Boosting testosterone levels may not provide you with extra benefits if you already have normal levels. The following are some of the benefits of boosting testosterone levels.

Healthy blood and heart

It is important to have a healthy heart as it is responsible for pumping blood to all parts of the body, which is why low testosterone levels have been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Testosterone also plays a role in red blood cell production by the bone marrow. Studies have shown that men who take measures to boost their testosterone levels are less susceptible to having a heart attack or stroke.

Increased sex drive

Since testosterone is a vital sex hormone in men, it has been found to affect sex drive. Men who have high testosterone levels have better libido and sexual activity. As men grow older, they would require more testosterone for better erectile functions and proper regulation of sex drive.

However, erectile dysfunction is not always as a result of low testosterone levels. So, opting to boost your testosterone levels would be beneficial to your sexual health.


Men who have low testosterone levels have their lives impacted in a lot of ways. There are a lot of factors that contribute to men having low testosterone levels with age being the most natural factor.

So you should try to avoid things that could be detrimental to your testosterone levels, and also try boosting your testosterone naturally.