Low Testosterone (Male Hypogonadism)

Almost 40% of men aged 45 and older have Low Testosterone (Low T), a condition where the testes don’t produce enough of the male sex hormone testosterone.

Symptoms of Low T include:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased sense of well-being
  • Depression
  • Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
  • Difficult with concentration/memory
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Decrease in body hair
  • Increase in body fat
  • Infertility
  • Irritability/moodiness
  • Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)
  • Muscle loss or weakness

After age 30, the amount of testosterone in a man’s body gradually begins dropping naturally but that doesn’t mean you just have to accept the consequences. Ochsner is home to a compassionate, caring team dedicated to quickly diagnosing your condition and getting you the treatment you need.

Make An Appointment

If you think you have low testosterone, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. To make an appointment, give us a call.

  • Ochsner Medical Center - Jefferson Hwy.: 504-842-4083
  • Baptist: 504-894-2887
  • Kenner & River Parish: 504-464-8588
  • North Shore: Slidell, St. Tammany & Covington: 985-639-3789, ext: 52761
  • West Bank: 504-842-8780
  • Baton Rouge: 225-761-5200

Types of Hypogonadism

With male hypogonadism, the testicles don't produce enough of the male sex hormone testosterone. This condition can begin during fetal development, before puberty or during adulthood.

In primary hypogonadism, also known as primary testicular failure, the condition is caused by a problem in the testicles.

In secondary hypogonadism, there is a problem in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, the parts of the brain that signal the testicles to produce testosterone.

Causes of Low T

Aside from aging, Low T can be caused by:

  • A congenital defect
  • A head injury
  • A testicle injury
  • Acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) illness
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Estrogen excess
  • Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the body)
  • High levels of prolactin (a milk-producing hormone)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hormones used to treat prostate cancer
  • Kallmann syndrome (abnormal development of the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain that controls many hormones)
  • Klinefelter syndrome (when a male is born with an extra copy of the X chromosome)
  • Mumps
  • Obesity or extreme weight loss
  • Opioid use
  • Pubertal delay
  • Radiation exposure or prior surgery of the brain
  • Radiation therapy
  • Sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation of organs including the lungs)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Steroids (such as prednisone)
  • Testicular or pituitary tumors
  • Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes
  • Undescended testicles as an infant

Diagnosis

Low testosterone is diagnosed with a blood test. Since levels normally fluctuate throughout the day, doctors prefer to measure testosterone levels in the early morning when levels are at their highest.

Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Your Ochsner urologist may suggest one of the following testosterone delivery methods:

Testosterone Injections: Giving yourself injections in the muscle at home is an effective and safe treatment method. A new medicine, testosterone undecanoate, is also available. It can be injected less frequently but must be administered by a health care provider.

Testosterone Patches: A patch containing testosterone is applied each night to your back, abdomen, upper arm or thigh (you rotate locations to avoid skin irritation).

Testosterone Gels: Depending on the brand, you can either rub testosterone gel into your upper arm or shoulder, apply it under each armpit, or pump on your front and inner thigh. (Note: these gels require special care in making sure that the hormone is not accidentally transferred to another person)

Gum and Cheek Testosterone Replacement: This treatment delivers testosterone through the natural depression above your top teeth.

Nasal Gel: Testosterone can be pumped into the nostrils as a gel, reducing the risk that it will be transferred to another person through skin contact.

Implantable pellets. Testosterone-containing pellets are surgically implanted under the skin every three or so months.

Testosterone therapy is not without risks.

It may:

  • Cause oily skin/acne
  • Cause fluid retention
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Cause smaller testicles
  • Contribute to sleep apnea
  • Enlarge breasts or cause tenderness
  • Increase your risk of a heart attack
  • Limit sperm production
  • Stimulate noncancerous growth of the prostate, causing urination difficulties
  • Stimulate growth of existing prostate cancer and blood clots
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