Ken was 35 and he had a schedule. Five days a week, he went to the gym. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he lifted weights. On Tuesdays and Sundays, he ran on the treadmill. This had been his system for years, and it kept him looking and feeling the way he wanted. Until it didn’t.
Suddenly, Ken began struggling to get through his workouts and he was no longer reaching his fitness goals. At first he thought he was just under the weather, but fatigue and lack of energy were becoming persistent. After a few weeks of no improvement, he knew it was time to talk to his doctor and get to the root of the problem. That root turned out to be low testosterone (low T).
Like most men his age, Ken would never have guessed he had low testosterone in his 30s. But low testosterone is common in younger men, leaving them with symptoms that make them feel much older than their years. Learning about the warning signs of testosterone deficiency in younger men can help you to recognize this very treatable condition.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Most of a man’s testosterone is produced in the testes. A complex feedback loop involving the hypothalamus, pituitary, and gonads regulates the level of this key hormone. Underactive testes, injury, illness, certain medical treatments, alcoholism, and obesity can all cause low testosterone. Low testosterone can also be caused by an underactive thyroid gland.
What Low Testosterone Looks Like in Younger Men
Low testosterone affects an estimated 40% of men over 45 and 50% of men over 80. But it can affect you much earlier—and when it does, it often presents differently than it does in older men.
Older men often experience low libido and sexual dysfunction as key signs of low testosterone. These symptoms are not as prevalent in men with low testosterone in their 30s. According to a study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the most common symptoms in men under 40 are:
- Decreased energy
- Decreased strength and endurance
- Decreased ability to play sports
- Deterioration in work performance
The symptom most associated with low T in younger men is lack of energy, which is unfortunately nonspecific and may easily be attributed to other causes, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment.
Testosterone has profound influences on the male body, so it makes sense that a deficiency affects more than just your fertility and sexual functioning. It is well-known that testosterone impacts mood, cognitive performance, body composition, and many other aspects of mind and body. In fact, older men also experience a range of physical, psychological, and cognitive symptoms. However, the symptoms of low testosterone in your 30s may be particularly difficult to cope with, as you are “supposed to” be in your prime.
Beyond Uncomfortable Symptoms
In addition to the immediate symptoms of low T, the long-term lack of sufficient testosterone is associated with a range of physical changes and chronic health conditions. These include weight gain and increased waist circumference, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, increased inflammation, and cardiovascular disease, as well as the loss of muscle and bone mass.
Treatment for Low Testosterone in Your 30s
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is the first line treatment for low T at any age. Due to the complexity of hormone deficiency, however, a personalized treatment plan is essential.
Testosterone may be replaced through a variety of delivery methods. The most popular include topical preparations (creams, gels, and patches), injections, and implantable pellets. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. Finding the one that best fits your lifestyle and comfort level is important to support the best outcomes.
Once you start TRT, you can expect symptom relief to begin within weeks. According to Matthew Solan, Executive Editor of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, “Most men feel improvement in symptoms within four to six weeks of taking testosterone replacement therapy, although changes like increases in muscle mass may take from three to six months.” And observable symptoms aren’t the only benefits to treatment.
A growing body of research shows that TRT may have a protective effect against the development of serious health conditions associated with testosterone deficiency. A 2017 study by researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine found that long-term TRT lowered the risk of death due to cardiovascular (CV) disease in men with low testosterone. During the seven year follow-up period:
|2 deaths, not CV related||21 deaths, 19 due to CV disease|
|No nonfatal strokes or heart attacks||30 nonfatal strokes and 26 nonfatal heart attacks|
The researchers estimated that TRT resulted in a 66-92% reduction in mortality. Randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials and observational studies have also demonstrated that TRT improves bone mineral density, anemia, mood, and sexual function in men with low T. These benefits are particularly critical for men with low testosterone in their 30s, as you are at increased risk of long-term health complications.
Young men concerned about fertility will need a specialized treatment plan, as testosterone replacement therapy may have a negative impact on sperm production. Open and honest communication with a knowledgeable physician is essential to ensure you receive appropriate treatment.
Be Proactive to Protect Your Health
If you are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone in your 30s, the first step is to connect with a hormone health specialist. They can order appropriate lab testing to gain a comprehensive view of your hormone levels and overall health. If you do have testosterone deficiency, they can give you the guidance you need to take the next steps.
Long-term treatment success begins with finding a doctor who is responsive to your needs and up to date on the latest research. By partnering with an expert and taking a proactive approach, you can find meaningful relief and safeguard your future health.
|If you are worried about low testosterone in your 30s, the doctors of the EVEXIAS Health Solutions network can help. Find a provider to learn more about our innovative treatment approach to treating low T in younger men.|