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Low Testosterone - Overview

Testosterone is a hormone. It's what puts hair on a man's chest. It's the force behind his sex drive.

During puberty, testosterone helps build a man's muscles, deepens his voice, and boosts the size of his penis and testes. In adulthood, it keeps a man's muscles and bones strong and maintains his interest in sex. In short, it's what makes a man a man – at least physically.

After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone of about one percent per year. A decrease in sex drive sometimes accompanies the drop in testosterone, leading many men to mistakenly believe that their loss of interest in sex is simply due to getting older.

The bottom of a man's normal total testosterone range is about 300 nanograms per deciliter. The upper limit is about 800 nanograms per deciliter. Testosterone levels can be determined by a simple blood test.

Some medicines and genetic conditions can also lower a man's testosterone score, but aging is the most common factor.

The effects of low testosterone can have a significant effect on quality of life. And those effects aren’t limited to a reduced interest in sex.

Research has shown that low testosterone can also cause fatigue, a loss of bone density, a reduction in muscle mass, an increase in body fat, depression, and insomnia.