What Is Low Testosterone?

Male Hypogonadism Symptoms and Causes

Written by Robert M. Sargis MD, PhD

The straightforward, quick answer is:  testosterone is the most important male sex hormone.  It’s produced in the testes, and it’s what causes boys to go through puberty.

In men, testosterone is responsible for maintaining:

The amount of testosterone in a man’s body changes throughout the day, and it’s usually highest in the morning.  A normal range of testosterone is 300 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL.

Low Testosterone Symptoms
If you have low testosterone levels, you may begin to notice the following signs and symptoms:

In some men, low testosterone may be serious and they may experience more severe symptoms, especially the longer their testosterone levels remain low. 

Severe low testosterone may lead to signs and symptoms, including:

Low Testosterone Causes
There are several causes of low testosterone, and your doctor will work with you to figure out what’s causing your low levels.

Low testosterone is broken into 2 main types:  primary hypogonadism and secondary hypogonadism.

Primary hypogonadism is also known as primary testicular failure, and it is caused by a problem in the testicles.  These problems can include:

Secondary hypogonadism is caused by a problem with the pituitary or hypothalamus glands.  Those are glands that give a signal to the testicles to make testosterone, so if something affects them, testosterone production can be affected.  Conditions that can cause secondary hypogonadism include:

These are just some examples of what can cause male hypogonadism.  Through the diagnosis process, which you’ll learn about in the next article, your doctor should be able to figure out why you have low testosterone levels.

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Low Testosterone Diagnosis