Dismiss Modal

Patient Information

Low Testosterone in Men

Low testosterone, otherwise known as ‘Low T,’ is a common condition that affects nearly 40 percent of men over the age of 45. Testosterone is the hormone that helps men maintain and develop muscle mass, red blood cell levels, bone density, sexual and reproductive function and a general sense of well-being. While levels start dropping at around age 30, when they get too low, men can start to notice some unpleasant symptoms.

How to Know If You Have Low Testosterone

While the WakeMed Urology team can provide a definitive answer after a thorough exam and bloodwork, some signs your testosterone might be low include:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained weakness
  • Depressed mood
  • Decreased sense of well-being
  • Irritability/moodiness
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Loss of libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of strength/muscle mass
  • Infertility
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anemia
  • Increased body fat
  • Breast development or gynecomastia

Because testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, you may need several tests to get an accurate diagnosis. Ideally, we prefer to test earlier in the day when your testosterone levels tend to be at their highest. If you’re diagnosed with low testosterone, there are a wide variety of treatment options to get you feeling back to yourself.

Treatment Options for Low Testosterone

WakeMed Physician Practices – Urology offers a wide range of treatment options for low testosterone. Treatment generally involves replacing the lost testosterone, which can be achieved in numerous ways:

  • Injections into the muscle (generally every 10-14 days)
  • Daily testosterone patches (can be applied to buttocks, arms, back and/or abdomen)
  • Daily gel application (applied to upper back and arms)
  • Implantable pellets placed under the skin (every two months)
  • Clomid, a female infertility drug, may be used (off-label)

Side effects vary and range from acne/oily skin, swelling, stimulation of the prostate, breast tenderness/enlargement, smaller testicles and skin irritation. Other problems could include increased PSA levels (linked to prostate cancer), increased red blood cell count and decrease in sperm count.  If you choose hormone replacement therapy, your WakeMed urologist will carefully explain the risks and benefits and may recommend routine labwork to check for potential liver problems or prostate cancer.