In recent years, there has been a growing need for low testosterone treatment in younger men. In fact, a recent study reported in Urology Times showed that about 20% of men aged 15-39 were deficient in the hormone.
Testosterone, the hormone primarily associated with masculinity, plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, ranging from muscle development and bone density to mood regulation and sexual health. While the decline in testosterone levels is a natural part of aging, a growing concern is the occurrence of low testosterone in young men — a demographic that traditionally should not be experiencing such issues.
We will explore the intricacies of this topic, including defining what counts as a “low” level of testosterone, the multitude of reasons for low testosterone in younger men, how the symptoms of low testosterone differ between younger and older men and what steps can be taken to address this issue.
Redefining the Threshold for Low Testosterone Treatment in Young Men
Traditionally, the threshold for diagnosing low testosterone was based on levels found in older men. The standard cutoff considers a blood test showing anything less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (300 ng/dL) as a low testosterone level in a man. However, recent studies have challenged this approach. A study published in the Journal of Urology highlights that the standard threshold for low testosterone may not apply to young men.
In the 2022 study, researchers measured the hormone levels of 1,500 healthy men aged 20-44 years. As expected, the testosterone levels decreased in older subjects. However, under normal circumstances, testosterone levels never reach zero (as estrogen levels do in women during menopause).
The cutoff for low testosterone below each age group’s middle third ranged from 409 ng/dL at age 20-24 years to 350 ng/dL at age 40-44 years. All the measurements for younger men were substantially higher than the standard cutoff point. This finding underscores that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach as experts work to redefine what constitutes low testosterone.
Unfortunately, although many younger men experience symptoms of low T, the cutoff for low testosterone treatment means their practitioners often deny them supplementation. This could mean years of experiencing low libido, low energy, brain fog and difficulty gaining muscle or taking off fat.
Establishing age-specific reference ranges is essential for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing that young men have different physiological needs than older men can lead to more targeted interventions and improved health outcomes.
Signs and Symptoms in Younger Men
Identifying low testosterone in young men can be challenging due to the misconception that only older individuals are susceptible to such issues. Everyday Health emphasizes that younger men can indeed experience low testosterone levels. Some of the telltale signs and symptoms include the following:
- Low Libido: A diminished interest in sex and reduced sexual desire are common indicators of low testosterone in young men. This can lead to relationship strains and personal frustration.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulties in achieving and maintaining an erection may result from inadequate testosterone levels. This can adversely affect self-esteem and intimate relationships.
- Fatigue and Decreased Energy: Young men with low testosterone may experience unexplained fatigue, reduced energy levels and an overall lack of motivation.
- Depression and Mood Swings: Hormones play a significant role in regulating mood. Low testosterone levels can contribute to mood swings, irritability and even depression.
- Reduced Muscle Mass and Strength: Testosterone is crucial for muscle development. Young men with low testosterone might notice a decrease in muscle mass and physical strength.
- Loss of Body Hair: Insufficient testosterone levels might decrease body hair growth, which can be distressing for some men.
- Osteoporosis Risk: Although more common in older individuals, low testosterone can impact bone density even in young men, potentially increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Unexplained Weight Gain: Testosterone contributes to metabolism regulation. Low levels can lead to weight gain and difficulty maintaining healthy body composition.
It is important to note that the way younger men experience symptoms of low testosterone may differ from that of older men. For example, older men typically experience a gradual decline in testosterone levels with age, resulting in a more subtle onset of symptoms. In contrast, younger men may experience a more abrupt onset of symptoms, potentially impacting their quality of life and overall well-being.
Understanding Causes and Contributing Factors
Now that we understand the symptoms, what are some reasons that younger men may have low T? Low testosterone in young men can stem from a variety of factors — both physiological and lifestyle-related. These factors can include one or more of the following:
- Obesity: The prevalence of obesity in younger men has increased. Excess body weight, particularly abdominal fat, can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels.
- Stress and Poor Sleep: Chronic stress and inadequate sleep patterns can disrupt hormone production, including testosterone.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as zinc and vitamin D, can contribute to low testosterone levels.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity and exercise can negatively impact testosterone levels.
- Environmental Endocrine Disruptors: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as chemicals found in plastics and pesticides, can interfere with hormonal balance.
- Use of Illegal Drugs, Anabolic Steroids or Medications Including Opioids in Excess: These substances can lead to lowered testosterone levels in men due to disruptions in hormonal balance and suppression of natural hormone production.
- Other medical conditions: Many medical issues may cause low testosterone, including cancers and cancer treatments, hypothalamic or pituitary disease or tumors, injuries to the testicles and congenital or acquired conditions such as Kallman’s syndrome, Down syndrome, diabetes, liver disease or HIV/AIDS.
Low Testosterone Treatment in Younger Men
Recognizing the signs of low testosterone in young men is just the first step. If you suspect that you may have low testosterone, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, like those at KC Wellness, who can provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate low testosterone treatment. Healthline offers insights into potential treatments and interventions:
Clinical Evaluation: When you visit KC Wellness, we will set aside time to talk to you about your overall health, including your health history and the changes you’ve experienced. Then, we will give you a comprehensive medical exam and blood tests that will help us determine your customized plan designed just for your body. After your treatment begins, we will ask you to return to our center for weekly, bi-weekly or monthly follow-up appointments.
Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve testosterone levels. This includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress reduction techniques and adequate sleep.
Hormone Replacement Therapy: In some cases, hormone replacement therapy may be recommended to restore testosterone levels. This involves the use of testosterone medications, such as gels, patches or injections, under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, or BHRT, helps men regain and maintain their natural, optimal testosterone level. The testosterone that we give you contains the same chemical structure as the hormones that are already in your body. Now, we can re-introduce them into your body, where they will immediately begin to improve your health and energy. Since these testosterone supplements are identical to the hormones you already have, they have fewer side effects.
Weight Management: Addressing obesity or excess body weight through diet and exercise can help improve testosterone levels.
Addressing Underlying Medical Conditions: If low testosterone is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, treating the underlying condition may help improve testosterone levels.
Low testosterone in younger men is a growing concern that can significantly impact overall health and well-being. Understanding the multitude of reasons it may occur, the symptoms specific to younger men and the recommended approaches for low testosterone treatment is crucial. If you suspect you may have low testosterone, seeking proper medical evaluation and guidance is essential. Remember, there are treatment options available that can help restore testosterone levels and improve your quality of life.
As we continue to delve deeper into this complex issue, it becomes clear that personalized approaches, encompassing lifestyle changes, hormonal therapies and holistic interventions, are crucial for effectively addressing this matter and ensuring the well-being of young men facing these challenges.
Consult KC Wellness
When it comes to complete wellness, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is a personal matter requiring an individualized plan to fit your needs and lifestyle. But for many people, without guidance and support from outside resources, successfully meeting your wellness and weight-loss goals can be a challenging process. At KC Wellness, we have a holistic approach. We help you stay on course to follow a realistic and consistent eating pattern, take any vitamins in which you may be deficient and get regular physical activity. We focus on lifestyle changes that encourage safe and sustainable results.
If you are ready to see how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) can improve your health and well-being, then KC Wellness may be precisely what you are looking for. Our doctors and staff are always available to answer any questions and provide guidance along the way to help you succeed. Reach out to our team today to see how we can help you in your health and wellness journey. Call us at 816-214-5276 or contact us here. There’s no reason to wait — let us help you feel your very best every day.