What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men over 40 and 50? In fact, lower level of this hormone is more likely to occur in older adults, because it naturally and gradually declines as the age. This is the major reason of why the symptoms that occur often associated with aging and why you need to take a testosterone test to find the clearly answer whether or not your hormone testosterone is low.
You might also like to read the previous article about the link between low testosterone and diabetes, before continuing!
Though hormone testosterone also can be found in women (produced in ovaries), but it is a much higher in men than in women. In other words, low testosterone also can occur in women and cause some health problems (such as hot flashes, mood changes, decreased sexual desire, etc) – but in many cases it is often thought of as a male health problem.
This hormone is needed by the body to create and maintain the sex organs of male and promote secondary sex characteristics in both men & women (such as for the development of hair grow patterns and voice deepening). Moreover, it is also crucial for the growth of muscle and bones. Therefore, if there is lack of testosterone, this can cause decreased density of bones and poor strength of muscle.
Normal testosterone levels in men by age
As mentioned before, to measure the level of this hormone, you need to take a lab test (blood test is usually the common choice). And for the range of normal testosterone levels may be slightly different from lab to lab. Here is one of reference ranges (credit /source: WebMD):
The table explains that the normal levels of testosterone in adult men are about from 270 to 1070 nanograms /deciliter. But again, your lab may use slightly different range for what is normal. Some labs may have ‘300 ng/dL’ for the bottom line of the normal level and ‘1,000 to 1,200 ng/dL’ for the upper limit.
In general, the result of your testosterone test usually also publishes the range your lab uses. After the test, your doctor will analyze the result based on other factors associated with your health before making a decision whether or not your testosterone level is normal.
The levels of this hormone are pretty low in boys before puberty, and this is perfectly normal. Then during puberty, it increases drastically to help create a deeper voice, sperms, bigger muscles, body hair, etc.
Typically, it reaches the highest level at around the age of 30 to 40 – then it will decrease gradually. The percentage of the decline varies from men to men. But generally, it will decline for about 1 percent to 1.5 percent per year after the age of 40.
Low testosterone symptoms and signs in men over 40 and 50
After the age of 40 and 50, it is perfectly normal to have the naturally declining testosterone. Then, does it cause certain signs and symptoms? The answer varies from man to man, but generally there is no specific symptom of low testosterone.
Some people also have opinion that the naturally declining of this hormone may cause signs of aging. But again, experts often answer this issue with uncertainty. You can experience many symptoms as you get older and some of them may occur due to low levels of your testosterone – some of these symptoms may include:
- Decreased level of fertility. This can be top leading issue if you still have a plan for a pregnancy with your partner – though in fact there are also some men over 40 and 50 who still have good sperms and sexual function to result a conception of pregnancy. Read also about does low testosterone cause and affect low sperm count?!
- Decreased sexual desire and sexual function, such as poor spontaneous erection (or even erectile dysfunction).
- Changes in patterns of your sleep. If you now often experience difficulty sleeping (such as insomnia), it may also signal that you have low testosterone – particularly true if you never or rarely have problems associated with your sleep patterns before.
- Changes associated with the way on how you control your emotion. Low levels of this hormone are also often associated with emotional changes. For instances, if you are an individual with good self-confidence and motivation before – you may have a decrease in self-confidence & motivation, and you will notice these signs more clearly as you get older. Moreover, you may be easier to have depression (sad feeling).
- Poor concentration and decreased memory. Though the link between these problems and low testosterone is still debatable, but in fact these symptoms are also pretty common in men with low testosterone.
- Decreased density of bone, which then can put you at higher risk of osteoporosis.
- Decreased bulk and strength of muscles – and on the other hand you are easier to have body fat.
- Hair loss.
- Gynecomastia (tender /swollen breasts).
- Hot flashes.
- And easier to get fatigue (lack of energy).
However, you need to clearly understand that most of these signs are a normal part of aging. In other words, some of them also may occur without any correlation with low testosterone or even due to other certain health conditions & medication side effects.
In essence, the symptoms that you have are not enough to make a diagnosis of whether or not you have low testosterone. Therefore don’t make a conclusion on your own – a testosterone blood test is one of clearly ways to get to know and measure the level of your testosterone.
What else you should know?
There is protein familiar called SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) that often associated with testosterone. This protein is crucial to bond testosterone in the blood, and most of male hormone testosterone is bound by SHBG. So there is also a few amount of testosterone that is free or ‘not-bound’. If a man or woman have a sexual problem, sometime doctor may need to check the level of this free testosterone in order to help determine the underline problem.
Below is a helpful table (source: WebMD) about the normal range of free testosterone:
Furthermore, to control and maintain the level of testosterone, the body needs to produce another hormone called ‘LH’ or luteinizing hormone. It is produced by pituitary gland. If there is less amount of testosterone in the body, the pituitary gland then will produce luteinizing hormone to tell the testicles to create more testosterone.
So, for abnormal declining testosterone, doctor usually also often check the performance of the pituitary gland (particularly if the previous tests found that there is no problem with testicles (in men) and ovaries (in women)).