My father lived with me and my family during the last two years of his life
while he sank ever deeper into Alzheimer’s disease.
His behavior was frequently bizarre. He might emerge from his bedroom with
three of my son’s baseball caps piled on top of his head but wearing no pants.
When trying to participate in a conversation, he might blurt out passionate
pronouncements that made no sense at all. “Ya see, the individualism is
something that’s not already formed,” he would bellow. “You gotta...
But low T can also cause many symptoms unrelated to sex. Low testosterone levels can:
Lower your energy levels
Cut your drive to get things done
Make you more irritable
You may also find it tougher to concentrate. And your risk of depression may rise.
Low testosterone can lead to changes in your body, too. For example, you may:
Grow less body hair
Have a decline in muscle mass
See an increase in your breast size
Low T can also cause osteoporosis, which gradually weakens your bones, leaving them brittle and at risk for breaks.
"Men should be aware of these symptoms and think about low testosterone," says endocrinologist Spyros Mezitis, MD, PhD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Physicians have to think about it as well. It remains under-diagnosed and it's not part of a routine checkup."
But these symptoms can also be related to other conditions. Make an appointment with your doctor, who can do some tests to see what's causing your symptoms.
At the Doctor's Office
When you go to the doctor with symptoms of low T, your doctor will:
Go over your medical history
Discuss medications you take (prescription and non-prescription)
Ask you about any family or relationship problems
"We want to look for other possible sources of the symptoms," says Jason Hedges, MD, PhD. Hedges is a urologist at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. "Other things can lead to these symptoms, including your job, stress, and everyday life."
You will also have a physical exam. Your doctor will examine your body hair, testicles, penis, scrotum, and breasts.
Finally, your doctor will take a blood sample to measure your testosterone level. Your doctor may want to do the blood test first thing in the morning, when most men's testosterone levels are at their highest.