Common signs and symptoms of low testosterone

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on September 21, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


Have you been feeling “off” in some way—maybe your energy levels have taken a dip or your sex drive has dwindled—and suspect it could be because of low testosterone? If so, you might be interested in learning about the common signs and symptoms of low testosterone, which is what we’re covering here. Read on to find out more about low testosterone symptoms in both men and women, possible reasons for low testosterone, and some of the treatment options that exist.


Check your testosterone levels at home with the Everlywell Testosterone Test.


Let’s start by diving into low testosterone symptoms to look out for in men.

Low testosterone symptoms in men

In men, testosterone is made in the testicles and is an important part of a male’s sexual function and development. It’s what helps the development of features like facial hair, muscle strength, and a deeper voice among men. Testosterone also supports sperm production.

Also called male hypogonadism or low T, low testosterone is estimated to affect almost 40% of men aged 45 and older.

Low testosterone symptoms are a bit different in men compared to women, and they may include:

  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Hair loss throughout the body
  • Less beard growth
  • Loss of lean muscle mass
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight gain leading to obesity
  • Depression

Some men may also experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • Lower energy levels, endurance, and physical strength
  • Poor memory and focus
  • Difficulty with finding the right words to say

Reasons for low testosterone in men

As men age, the amount of total testosterone produced in the body gradually declines. If levels fall too low, symptoms may occur.

There are several other possible reasons for testosterone deficiency. These include injury that interferes with the blood supply going to the testes; dysfunction or tumors of the pituitary gland; medications; and chemotherapy for cancer. Things like kidney failure, obesity or extreme weight loss, and obstructive sleep apnea can also lead to low testosterone.

Low testosterone symptoms in women

Although low testosterone is sometimes seen as a male issue, women can also experience an imbalance in testosterone hormone levels. Low testosterone symptoms in women can vary and can range from low sex drive to loss of strength.

Here are some low testosterone symptoms to be aware of in women:

  • Thinning hair
  • Dry skin
  • Decreased libido
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Increase in body fat, contributing to overall weight gain
  • Mood changes (such as increased levels of anxiety)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Decrease in bone mass
  • Overall loss of strength

Reasons for low testosterone in women

If you’re experiencing low testosterone symptoms, there are several possible causes for your imbalance, including:

  • Long-term use of birth control (like oral pills and contraceptive patches)
  • Ovarian failure, which is where your ovaries stop functioning properly, can also lead to low testosterone levels
  • Certain medications, as well as glandular tumors, can contribute to low testosterone symptoms

Low testosterone treatment options

If you do experience low testosterone symptoms, your healthcare provider may order a blood test to measure your total testosterone level, luteinizing hormone (LH), blood prolactin level, and blood hemoglobin or HgB.

Testosterone therapy (or TT) is sometimes prescribed if an individual has a testosterone deficiency. Typically, there are five different ways this can be done:

  • Transdermal (through the skin)
  • Injection
  • Oral/buccal (by mouth)
  • Intranasal (through the nose)
  • Pellets inserted under the skin

Taking an at-home testosterone test

Low testosterone symptoms can significantly impact your day-to-day life. If you’re experiencing some of the symptoms highlighted in this article, have a conversation with your healthcare provider to find out what course of action they recommend for you.

You may also be interested in checking your testosterone level to see whether it’s normal—or too low. Taking the Everlywell at-home Testosterone Test is one easy way you can do that. The test lets you measure your free testosterone—from the comfort of home—and only requires a saliva sample. You collect your sample with the collection tube that’s included with the kit, then send your sample to the lab for testing (shipping is free). You’ll then get your easy-to-understand results on our secure, online platform—which you can download and share with your healthcare provider if you’d like.


Androgen deficiency

What is andropause?


References

1. Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you age. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

2. Male hypogonadism. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

3. Rivas AM, Mulkey Z, Lado-Abeal J, Yarbrough S. Diagnosing and managing low serum testosterone. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2014;27(4):321-324. doi:10.1080/08998280.2014.11929145

4. Testosterone Levels Test. Medline Plus. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

5. Reed BG, Bou Nemer L, Carr BR. Has testosterone passed the test in premenopausal women with low libido? A systematic review. Int J Womens Health. 2016;8:599-607. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S116212

6. Rubin RT, Poland RE, Sobel I, Tower BB, Odell WD. Effects of prolactin and prolactin plus luteinizing hormone on plasma testosterone levels in normal adult men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1978 Aug;47(2):447-52. doi: 10.1210/jcem-47-2-447. PMID: 122406.

7. Male hypogonadism - diagnosis and treatment. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed September 21, 2020.

Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More