Young Men and Low T
Low testosterone, or low T, most commonly affects older men. Testosterone levels in men generally peak around age 30, gradually beginning to decline at a rate of about 1% each year. While not as common among those under 40, Low T can greatly influence a man’s quality of life by leading to weight gain, decreased energy and even infertility.
What Causes Low T?
A number of factors may contribute to low T in young men, including testicular injuries, family history of low T, medication use and certain health conditions. Some conditions that may contribute to lowering testosterone levels in young men include:
- Medications, including narcotic pain medications and anabolic steroids
- Tumors in the pituitary gland
- Inflammation of the testicles after mumps in puberty
- Radiation treatment or chemotherapy
- HIV infection
Certain genetic disorders may also cause low T in young men:
- Hemorchromatosis, a genetic condition in which too much iron is deposited in the body’s tissues, including the pituitary gland
- Myotonic dystrophy, also known as adult muscular dystrophy
- Klinefelter’s syndrome, a condition that occurs when a man has an extra X chromosome
- Prader-Willi syndrome, where the genitals under-develop and testes may not fully descend
The Role of Testosterone
Testosterone plays a vital role in male health and fertility. While many people may understand its link to male physical development during puberty and to sex drive throughout adulthood, testosterone contributes to a man’s physical health throughout his life in a variety of other ways, as well.
Testosterone also helps a man maintain:
- Muscle strength and mass
- Bone density
- Fat distribution
- Sperm production
- Red blood cell production
When natural testosterone levels decline too rapidly, or drop lower than is appropriate for the individual, significant health problems may occur.
Regardless of age, when testosterone levels drop, certain symptoms will often develop. These symptoms include:
- Increased weight
- Decreased sex drive
- Sleep changes, including insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
Some of these symptoms overlap with other serious health conditions, so young men are advised to consult a wellness professional if they are having these symptoms.
Low T Treatments for Young Men
The normal range for testosterone is between 250-1100 ng/dL. Since the range is so wide, accurately assessing a man’s ideal testosterone level may present a challenge, regardless of his age.
Testosterone levels are evaluated through a blood test. When low T is confirmed, treatment options include:
- Testosterone replacement therapy
- hCG therapy
While testosterone replacement therapy is the primary mode of treatment for older men with Low T, younger men often benefit from hCG therapy. Rather than delivering testosterone into the body from an external source, hCG injections encourage the testes to produce testosterone on their own.
In some circumstances, combination therapy that includes both TRT and hCG may provide the best outcomes for a young man.