Low testosterone is also known as hypogonadism in men, which means that there isn’t enough testosterone being produced. There are two types of hypogonadism, which are called primary and then secondary. Primary usually happens as a problem with the testicles and secondary shows that there is an issue with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Either may be caused by an inherited trait or something that happens later in your life. There are times when primary and secondary hypogonadism may happen together.
Causes of primary hypogonadism:
Cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy can cause your testosterone to lower. The effects of the treatments are temporary, but permanent infertility can happen.
Testicle injury can often cause hypogonadism. Damage to one testicle may not impair testosterone production.
Hemochromatosis means that there is too much iron in the blood which can cause testosterone production to come to halt.
Mumps is an infection that involves the testicles as well as salivary glands. This could cause an issue with testosterone production.
Undescended testicles happen when the testicles develop in the abdomen and do not move into the scrotum. Sometimes one or both testicles may not descend during birth. This normally corrects itself without any treatment, but if it’s not corrected during early childhood, it could cause there to be an issue with the testicles and testosterone production.
Klinefelter syndrome is a condition that is cause by the abnormality of sex chromosomes.
In secondary hypogonadism, the testicles are normal, but will function improperly due to the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. There are plenty of conditions that cause this such as:
Kallmann Syndrome is the abnormal development of the hypothalamus.
Pituitary issues is the abnormality within the pituitary gland that impairs the release of hormones from the pituitary gland, which will affect the production of testosterone for men.
Inflammatory disease such as tuberculosis, histiocytosis, and sarcoidosis all involve the hypothalamus and pituitary gland which affects the production of testosterone.
HIV-AIDS can cause low levels of testosterone by affecting the testicles, pituitary gland, and the hypothalamus.
Medications such as opiate pain medications and even some hormones can affect the production of testosterone.
Normal aging. Older men will have lower testosterone levels when compared to a younger man. When men age, there is a decrease of the testosterone production.
Obesity has been linked to hypogonadism. So being overweight will definitely lower your testosterone.
Concurrent illnesses. The reproductive system will temporarily shut itself down due to physical stress of surgery or an illness as well as during times of emotional stress. This is often the result of diminished signals from the hypothalamus and will normally resolve itself with the help or successful treatment of the underlying condition that is causing the low testosterone.
The rate that testosterone declines will really vary depending on the particular man. 30% of men who are older than 75 will have a testosterone level that is below the normal level for those who are younger than 75, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Another consideration is that you might have too much estrogen and require an estrogen blocker.