Testosterone deficiency is a low testosterone level in the blood. The testosterone decreases with the aging of the man. Sufficient testosterone is essential for vitality and quality of life.
In about 10% of the 50+ men, the testosterone is so low that this gives rise to complaints.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a male hormone that influences the development of sexual characteristics in growing boys. In adulthood, this hormone is indispensable for the muscles, skin, bones, brain and prostate.
The function of testosterone
Testosterone regulates fat and fat storage, blood sugar and blood pressure, stimulates bone marrow production and has an influence on bone strength (bone density) and muscle growth. Furthermore, the hormone has a clear influence on the quality of the erection, the functioning of the prostate and the production of sperm. Testosterone is essential for the libido (sex drive). Finally, it plays a role in (the prevention of) depression.
Cause of Testosterone Deficiency
The amount of testosterone in the blood decreases with age, from 25 years. At the age of 75 the testosterone level in men is on average 65% of the value in young adult men. In some men, the drop in testosterone is stronger, and the level eventually becomes so low that complaints occur. This is called late hypogonadism or late-onset hypogonadism.
Testosterone Deficiency Symptoms
The following complaints can arise due to a (natural) decrease in testosterone levels with aging:
- Low physical energy
- Less desire to make love
- Less good erections
- Low muscle strength as a result of decrease in muscle mass
- Appearance of belly fat
- Low bone density
- Body hair reduces significantly
- Feeling of depression and anxiety
Referral Criteria for Testosterone Deficiency (Low Testosterone Levels)
If your GP finds that normal treatment for erectile dysfunction does not work or does not work sufficiently, he may think of testosterone deficiency (late hypogonadism). This diagnosis is made when testosterone deficiency is accompanied by the following symptoms: fatigue, irritability, memory impairment, mood changes, lack of energy and motivation, muscle weakness, decreased sexual desire (“loss of libido”), decreased sexual activity and ED, and a physical examination showing becomes: a small volume of the testes, little body hair, little muscle mass and especially an increase in visceral fat.
The GP will then determine the testosterone level twice (before 10 am). If it appears that the testosterone value is below 12 nmol/l in both measurements, he can refer to the urologist for further investigation and a testosterone supplementation treatment with extensive follow-up.
Andros can only see patients with testosterone deficiency due to aging. The age limit has therefore been set at 40 years.
Testosterone Deficiency Research
As a basis, the urologist will do a physical examination of the volume of the testes, body hair, muscle mass and increase in visceral fat.
The dosage of the total testosterone level in the blood is a good basic test if the SHBG (the molecule that transports testosterone) is also measured. A dose of the “bioavailable testosterone” (which circulates in the blood and is not bound to SHBG) perfectly reflects the hormonal potential. This test is only requested after a measurement of a decrease in the total testosterone level.
Testosterone Deficiency Treatment
While some doctors may recommend supplements like testogen, treating testosterone deficiency is another. A testosterone deficiency can be easily treated by administering testosterone. This can be done in various forms, for example with testosterone gel. It is important that the correct amount is prescribed, otherwise the treatment may have adverse effects. So caution is advised! The goal of testosterone treatment is to ensure that the man has as much testosterone as he would have made himself.