15 More Signs & Symptoms Of Low-T
Yup. 1 in 4.
That is the percentage of men over 30 who have a T-level less than 300 ng/dl.(1)
If you’ve ever asked questions like:
What happens when a man’s testosterone is low?
How do you know if your levels are low?
Then this all-new guide is for you.
Below is the complete list of the signs and symptoms of hypogonadism (aka Low-T).
Let’s dive in deep and see what PubMed has to say.
- No Morning Wood
- Low Seman Volume
- No Sex Drive
- Brain Fog
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Decreased Bone Mass
- Increased Body Fat
- Mood Swings
- Memory Loss
- Irregular Sleeping Patterns
- Erectile Dysfunction
15 Signs And Symptoms Of Low T
How does it feel to have low T?
There was a famous study from the 19th century done on frogs.
Researchers found that when they put frogs in a pot of water and very slowly started turning up the temperature, none of the frogs ever jumped out.
They stayed in the water until they boiled to death. 😲
Much in the same way, men who experience drops in testosterone over the course of their lifetime, don’t realize it.
The thing about hypogonadism is that it’s an insidious disease. The signs and symptoms creep in so slowly that you often don’t even know it’s become a problem.
Luckily, there are a handful of red flags you can watch for …
… If you know what they are.
Many of them are not so obvious.
The good news is that this guide covers them all.
You might suspect low testosterone levels if you go through the list below and identify with one or more of these signs and symptoms.
As you read through this list, remember that these are just signs and symptoms.
They are not diagnostic.
Always consider the whole picture and seek professional medical counseling if you think you have Low-T.
Let’s get started.
1. No Morning Wood
Clinically, we call this Penile Tumescence.
Which is just fancy medical terminology that simply means spontaneous (and random) erection.
Waking up with a boner 🍆 is nothing to be ashamed of - quite the opposite actually.
Morning wood is your best day-to-day gauge of the testosterone levels in your blood.
Did you know?
Men with high testosterone levels typically have 3 to 5 erections every single night.
Testosterone in men peaks in the morning around 5-8AM. Thus, a loss of morning wood can be an indicator of reduced testosterone (T).— Chett Binning, MSc (@BrainIgnition_) June 23, 2020
Quality sleep is likely the most important factor for testosterone. Young men in… https://t.co/lOl64PPHAk
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have an orgasm. All we are talking about here is random nightly erections.
Keep in mind:
You might have several episodes of nocturnal penile tumescence without even realizing it.
Pay attention when you wake up.
Keep a journal.
Not experiencing morning wood is the second-best way to keep tabs on your testosterone levels over the course of your life.
When T levels drop, you become irritable and easily agitated by otherwise insignificant events. You may even experience other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
There’s even a secondary clinical diagnosis for low-T called irritable man syndrome (IMS).
Check out the research:
“The irritable male syndrome (IMS) is a behavioral state of nervousness, irritability, lethargy, and depression that occurs in adult male mammals following the withdrawal of testosterone (T).”
“the rapid decrease in T secretion provokes the symptoms of IMS.”
A friend of mine, Jed Diamond, has written an entire book on this topic.
He’s been an expert in men’s health for longer than I’ve been alive. He provides men with a free quiz you can take to test if you have IMS.
3. Low Semen Volume
Just to be clear:
Semen is not sperm. Semen the fluid that sperm swim around in.
Semen volume depends on many different factors, and one of them is testosterone levels.
The Wolffian structures (epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory ducts) and the prostate are dependent on testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, respectively, for development and maintenance of function. Conditions leading to low levels of testosterone (primary or secondary hypogonadism) can lead to decreased secretions from these organs and, consequently, low-volume ejaculate.source
Testosterone and DHT stimulate the glands in the male reproductive system to produce semen. When androgen levels are low, so is semen volume.
Semen volume could almost be considered an indirect measurement of T levels, but this can sometimes be inaccurate. That’s because semen volume depends on several variables besides just testosterone:
- Frequency of your sexual activity
- The integrity of your prostate
- Sample collection method
- A diagnosis of psychogenic anorgasmia
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Ejaculatory duct obstruction
- Idiopathic reasons (fancy medical speak for they don’t know what the heck is going on)
4. No Sex Drive
This is a big one. 🍆🍌
If you’re a man, you should be wanting sex ALL THE DAMN TIME. No questions asked.
It’s a distinctive characteristic that sets men apart from women. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of women who are horn dogs as well, but it has been scientifically validated that on average men think about sex more.2
The reason is simple. Men have higher testosterone levels.
If you’re a man and you don’t have any sexual desire or interest, you should be concerned.
I'm sure being a eunuch has advantages, for example, no sex drive, less testosterone - so less aggressiveness, and riding a bike would be easier without testicles in the way.— John Schutz (@johnshoots) June 28, 2019
Low libido is often one of the first signs and symptoms of Low-T. It can lead to major relationship conflicts with your partner. Entire marriages have been ruined over a lack of sexual drive.
The good news is that you are now armed with the knowledge of what might be causing this issue. Increasing your T levels, no matter how you do it, should result in an increased sex drive.
Fatigue is different from simply being tired. It is a continuous sensation of exhaustion that is not linked to any obvious direct cause (i.e. ‘just worked out’ or ‘long day at work’). 😴
Patients with fatigue feel tired even after a good nights rest. It is a symptom that is common in many other health conditions.
Low testosterone is one of those health conditions.
Fatigue is an undisputed sign of low testosterone, but the pathophysiology is somewhat of a mystery.
We do know there is a direct correlation between the two. Here’s an example of a study showing this relationship:
If you have never heard of it before, androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a practice where men receive medication to purposefully lower their testosterone levels in an attempt to slow the progression of prostate cancer.
In this study, researchers established an inverse relationship between fatigue and testosterone in men receiving ADT.
Put another way, as testosterone levels dropped, the incidence of fatigue went up.
“Prostate cancer patients receiving ADT demonstrate a trajectory of worsened fatigue during the first 12 months following treatment initiation relative to controls.”
I’d personally rather live an optimized high-quality life and take my chances with notoriously slow-progressing prostate cancer, but I digress.
6. Brain Fog
This is the first Low-T symptom on the list that looks specifically at the neuroendocrinology of testosterone.
We know that testosterone directly influences how certain parts of your brain work.3 That said, ‘brain fog’ is something of an ambiguous term.
Let’s get more specific.
Here is a quick list of SOME of the brain issues someone with Low-T might have:
- Feeling of disorientation
- Trouble finding words
- Difficulty concentrating
- Subpar spatial awareness
- Decreased visual acuity
- Difficulty solving problems
- Trouble processing information
- Feelings of confusion
- Simple math can be difficult
We know that when testosterone levels are appropriate, they stimulate certain areas of the male brain like the corpus callosum and the hippocampus. When activated, these areas give us the experience of boosted memory and increased spatial abilities.
The opposite is also true. When we don’t have normal levels of testosterone, these areas lack stimulation, and we may feel mentally exhausted or experience recurrent episodes of brain fog.
7. Loss Of Muscle Mass
Testosterone stimulates the growth of muscle tissue and contributes to hypertrophy.(4)
In cases of Low-T, you will see a visible decline of muscle mass.
Sometimes this becomes a concerning problem in older adults who suffer from frailty and experience a syndrome called sarcopenia. Their muscle mass is lost to the point that it is difficult to stand up.
Crazy as it sounds, victims of hypogonadism become more susceptible to falling.
Which leads us to…
8. Decreased Bone Mass
You may think about osteoporosis as something that only happens to females in menopause, but it happens in men, too(5)
Both “male” and “female” sex hormones help to maintain our bone mass.
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are more common in women…
… but men with low-T often experience these as well.
Men are not commonly checked for decreased bone mineralization. It’s just not common enough.
Unfortunately, if you have low testosterone levels, the probability of this reality is quite high.
If you have recurrent fractures or get diagnosed with osteoporosis as a male, low t might be something that you should consider.
9. Increased Body Fat
Are you unsure why fat loss needs to be your first priority for optimizing testosterone?— Nate Stone (@Nate_D_Stone) June 23, 2020
To simplify it, the more body fat you have, the more testosterone is converted to estrogen
You need the excess body fat to go!#Testosterone #Fatloss #Menshealth #Menshealthmonth pic.twitter.com/UkaACDRGUr
Fatty tissue is the bane of testosterone’s existence. They are mortal enemies and always work against each other.
Testosterone regulates the production of fat and high levels will prevent fat from sticking around.
Our bodies are designed to turn excess calories into fat and save it for later.
Evolutionarily speaking, excess fat was something that used to be desired. It was valuable as an energy source in long periods of hunting for your next meal.
Times have changed.
Unfortunately, the more adipose tissue (aka fat) we have, the more aromatase is released into our body.
Why is this bad?
Well, aromatase is the enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen.
The chubbier you are, the less testosterone you have…
…The chubbier you are, the more estrogen you have as well.
Ouch, a double whammy.
Being overweight is arguably the number one sign that your T levels are low.
If your body fat is over 15% and you have any of the other signs on this list, then I can almost guarantee that your testosterone levels are lower than ideal.
10. Mood Swings
Females are stigmatized for age-related hormonal changes (aka menopause).
We call them “hormonal”.
Here’s the thing:
Men have the same problem.
Andropause is a term that gets thrown around to describe the age-related drop in testosterone that men experience. Some people call it “male menopause”.
If you’re becoming moody and irritable all of a sudden, there may be a hormonal explanation to it.
Testosterone has an anti-anxiolytic effect and it also decreases the prevalence of depression. If you have enough of this hormone, there’s a high chance you won’t experience violent mood swings.
Check out this testimonial from Reddit*:
“I used to be so quick to anxiety—my heart always on edge—like a paranoid squirrel, ready to go from zero to a hundred. The smallest little thing would send my inner world into a complete panic. A memory of an awkward moment, a strange glance from a stranger, or some paranoid fear about the future would trigger my fight or flight response to feel like a pack of wolves was chasing me.”
Now I’m zen AF. My heart is so calm. I feel like everything is going to be okay. I don’t sweat the little things anymore, and I’m not bogged down by unhelpful fears all the time. I can relax and enjoy the moment. If this is how everyone normally feels then I was at a serious disadvantage.
This inner calm is the best (and most unexpected) benefit I’ve achieved so far. I can see how it immediately translates to a better mood and more confidence. I’m not afraid of my body’s response to stressful situations as much. As a result, I’m happier, more confident, and sleeping much better.”
*Edited for profanity
11. Memory Loss
We have touched on memory loss some already, but let’s dig a little bit deeper.
The ability to recall information is one of the most complex functions of the brain.
Many parts of the brain are involved in memory. This includes the cerebral cortex and the internal pathways of the brain (especially in the hippocampus).
Testosterone stimulates brain connections and metabolism in these areas of the brain, activating and perpetuating our memory.
Low T-levels can cause forgetfulness, poor attention spans, and human error.
12. Irregular Sleeping Patterns
You probably already know that crappy sleep is a classic cause of low T…
Testosterone Boosting Thread:— Josh “EAT SPINACH” Newton (@TheJoshNewtonJr) June 20, 2020
*Getting sun for 30 minutes a day
*Drinking coffee pre-workout
*Getting sleep (less than 5 hours per night may reduce t by 15%)
*Lifting heavy weights
*Not stressing out about the little things
*Onions if you want to be a recluse pic.twitter.com/BQfkcz8Wml
Many men don’t realize that it is also a classic sign/symptom:
Your T levels experience a significant increase when you’re asleep, and sleep deprivation has been proven to cause hypogonadism.(6)
It’s a vicious cycle.
Low testosterone causes crappy sleep and crappy sleep causes Low-T.
Include disrupted sleep on your list of signs and symptoms.
This is another major problem caused by testosterone deficiency. If you’ve been trying to have kids for more than 6 months, you need to look into getting your levels tested.
Historically, females have always been blamed for fertility issues. The truth is that it’s commonly the man’s fault.
Male infertility is actually more common than you think, and if you have low sperm count, low sperm motility, or a very low semen volume, you should talk to your doctor.
14. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
This is the one symptom that often prompts a man to take action. It’s one of the most concerning signs.
Most men have had at least one episode. You’re ready to go, but nothing happens down there.
A one-time occurrence could be chalked up to performance anxiety, but when it happens over and over, red flags should be popping up.
Low testosterone is definitely a consideration as the cause of erectile dysfunction.
If the problem becomes recurrent, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
Our bodies produce both testosterone and estrogen. Usually, estrogen levels are relatively low in men.
The problem is that when T is low, the ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is out of wack. Our ratios start looking more and more like that of a female.
What happens when our hormone profile starts looking like a woman?
You guessed it.
Men start taking on characteristics traditionally attributed to that of a female:
- More emotional
- Less muscle mass
- More fatty tissue, and
- Breast Tissue
I hope this sign isn’t one that you have.
The only way to fix gyno is surgery. 😬
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of low-T, don’t get too excited…
You need to make sure that testosterone is actually the problem before you jump on TRT or start making all sorts of lifestyle changes.
Always remember that signs and symptoms are not enough to diagnose low T levels.
You need to get your T levels tested to make sure there’s something wrong with you.
GO TO YOUR DOCTOR
If your doctor doesn’t want to test your results, there is an alternative.
Check it out here:
I don’t want you to waste your money on one of those home testosterone test kits that measure your levels from saliva.
They are not accurate.
If you want to have a consistent and reliable measure, blood tests are your way to go. And if you really want a complete testosterone test, you need to have your free, total testosterone, and SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin) levels checked.
When all else fails, consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
If you apply some lifestyle modifications and still get low T readings, you might need pharmacological intervention.
Having a high testosterone level (whether natural or from TRT) is one of the best things a man can do for his health. Research is consistently showing a list of benefits that grows larger every single day.
By the way:
You’re not alone on this journey.
If you are interested in learning more about the unique T-boosting framework used here at AndrogenHacker, it takes less than 30 seconds to fill out the form below.
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The EXACT steps I used to increase my T from 412ng/dl To 923ng/dl - Without TRT
Thanks for reading.
David, RN, CCRN