01 – Depleted Sex Drive
“Perhaps the best-known, quickest, and most common effect of low T is low libido,” says urologist Philip Werthman, M.D., director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Vasectomy Reversal in Los Angeles.
A lot of Dr. Philip’s patients that complain about low T correlate with having a decreased sex drive, masturbating less or having less male fantasies.
“This lack of desire to have sex can cause problems with erections, though low T doesn’t directly affect the plumbing involved in getting or staying hard,”Dr. Ramin says.
02 – Muscle Shrinkage
If your body has ample testosterone it puts your body in an anabolic, or muscle-building, state. How does it do this exactly? Well, it helps your body produce and assemble proteins. These proteins form the building blocks of lean mass.
“When your testosterone levels drop, your body turns catabolic instead, breaking down muscle tissue instead of building it up,” Dr. Werthman says, he adds. “At first, you might notice that it’s tougher to push as much weight at the gym or build muscle.”
After a few weeks of low T, you can expect to lose your muscle mass.
03 – Penis Shrinkage
A man’s worst nightmare. A myth to some, but a harsh reality to many. A shrunken penis is truly something that can happen to your body if your T gets too low.
“Without a steady flow of testosterone, the tissues in your penis, scrotum, and testicles can atrophy, or shrivel.” says Dr. Ramin. He continues with “As a result, your penis might lose length and girth. You may notice your balls shrink, too—they often shrivel to half the size and turn squishy instead of firm.”
“Though testosterone replacement therapy won’t bring back your testicular volume, when it comes to your penis, the treatment “has a good chance of restoring its glory,” Dr. Ramin says.
04 – Belly Growth
“Even as you lose size where it counts, you gain it where it hurts,” Dr. Anawalt says.
An Australian study shows that men, that have suffered prostate cancer, gained 14% more body fat and 22% more visceral fat, after one year of androgen deprivation therapy. This is a treatment which turns off testosterone’s effects.
What and why is this visceral fat important? Visceral fat is the deep abdominal fat that forms around your organs and increases your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
05 – Memory Loss
True enough, losing ones’ memory is a frightening concept. And there are many things that could be at fault for such an occurrence. One very real one though, is a sign of low testosterone.
“Trouble with thinking and memory often occurs in men with low T.” Dr. Werthman says.
A study made in 2015, shows men whose testosterone levels declined over 5 years also experienced a drop in scores on tests of their mental function and memory.
Important to note that areas of the brain important for memory and attention focus also have testosterone receptors. Which is the link between memory loss and low T.
06 – Sudden Mood Shift
It has been well documented, that low T can cause a dreary mood. However, having the blues is not the only mood shift one could experience from low T.
“Empty testosterone receptors in brain areas linked to mood are likely responsible for your depressed state.” Dr. Ramin says. “What’s more,” the good doctor continues “mood disorders like depression or anxiety can kick off a vicious cycle. Depression can suppress your testicles’ ability to produce testosterone, worsening the problem.
07 – Weakened Bones
“Bone is actually living tissue, constantly broken down and rebuilt.” Dr. Ramin says.
When the body does not have the supply of testosterone it requires to function, the bone density is slowly trimmed away. It takes longer time to rebuild. All that resulting in weaker bones and a variety of possible problems.
“As a result, you’re at a higher risk of low bone density, osteoporosis, and fractures.” Dr. Anawalt says.
08 – Heart Risk
“The effect of testosterone levels on the risk of heart problems has stoked controversy among experts.” Dr. Anawalt says.
A study from the U.K. has shown that men with low T have a higher chance of dying from a heart disease than men with normal testosterone levels. This in turn is linked to the fact that testosterone helps with blood flow to-and-from the heart.
“So if you’re a candidate for testosterone therapy, make sure you talk to your doctor about the benefits and the risks.” Dr. Werthman says.
“Your doctor may test your testosterone levels after you first start therapy or change dosages—or sometimes between shots, if you’re receiving treatment by injection—to make sure your levels aren’t surging too high.” Dr. Anawalt says.