Formerly neglected, the deficiency of the male sex hormone (testosterone) has been justly attracting more attention, especially during the last 5 years. Testosterone deficiency is defined as the combination of disease symptoms and low testosterone levels in the blood. The following medical terms have been defined specifically to designate hormone deficiency that occurs more often with increasing age and is comparable to the menopause in women: “late-onset hypogonadism” and “partial androgen deficiency in aging male” (PADAM).
Testosterone deficiency is not always easy to diagnose, because the symptoms may be unspecific and vary greatly. This means that the symptoms are not only indicative of testosterone deficiency, but are also common with other diseases.
Testosterone deficiency should be considered if the following symptoms are present:
- Reduced sexual appetite (libido)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced hair growth (shaving is less often necessary)
- Reduced physical fitness and motivation
The causes may vary greatly: A very slow decrease of the testosterone level in the blood with increasing age is normal. Additional interventions in the hormonal axis between the pituitary gland as the hormone level regulator as well as the testicles and the adrenal gland as the sites of testosterone production may cause a deficiency. For example, various metabolic diseases, in particular in combination with overweight, as well as surgeries involving impairments of the testicles, the adrenal gland or the pituitary gland may be responsible for a deficiency. In many cases, however, the cause remains unclear.