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Understanding Testosterone Levels

Understanding Testosterone Levels

June 10, 2020

Understanding Testosterone LevelsTestosterone production is controlled by the pituitary gland. Testosterone is primarily produced by the gonads – the testes in men, and the ovaries in woman. Your testosterone level is a measure of the testosterone in your bloodstream.Your testosterone levels depend on your age, sex, and general health. As you might imagine, the normal testosterone level for males is much higher than for females. However, having adequate amounts of testosterone is important for both genders.

The amount of testosterone your body makes varies as you age, in both men and women.

Testosterone Levels By Age

Testosterone levels are measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). What is considered a normal testosterone level varies by age and sex. Since doctors know that testosterone levels can vary from person to person, and still be normal, normal levels are presented as a range. The following charts indicate the normal testosterone levels for men and woman at different stages of life.

Infants and children

Age Male (in ng/dl) Female (in ng/dl)
0 to 5 months 75-400 20-80
6 months to 9 years Less than 7-20 Less than 7-20
10 to 11 years Less than 7-130 Less than 7-44


Age Male (in ng/dl) Female (in ng/dl)
12 to 13 years Less than 7-800 Less than 7-75
14 years Less than 7-1,200 Less than 7-75
15 to 16 years 100-1,200 Less than 7-75


Age Male (in ng/dl) Female (in ng/dl)
17 to 18 years 300-1,200 20-75
19 years and older 240-950 8-60

Your Testosterone Levels Can be Too High or Too Low

Having low testosterone levels is far more common than having high testosterone levels. However, both can be a problem.High testosterone levels are quite rare in adult males. Children with high testosterone levels may have a growth spurt or start puberty early. High testosterone in both sexes can cause infertility. Higher then normal testosterone is almost always linked to some kind of genetic problem or disease condition.

Trusted sourcePolycystic ovary syndromeOffice on Women`s HealthGo to sourcePolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause high testosterone in women. It occurs when the ovaries produce too much testosterone.
Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular or no periods
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Increased hair growth on the face, back, or chest

It is not clear what causes PCOS, but researchers think it is a combination of genes and environment.

In either sex, the other usual cause for high testosterone is the abuse of steroids. Male and female bodybuilders have been known to take steroids to increase muscle mass. However, if you take too many steroids, it can raise the levels of testosterone in your blood. In males, this excess of testosterone can lead to a decrease in the amount of sperm that the body makes, which may lead to infertility or loss of sex drive.

For females, steroids can cause a deeper voice, male pattern baldness, irregular periods, and may also lead to infertility.

Far more common than high testosterone levels, is low testosterone levels. Testosterone levels decrease naturally with age in both sexes. According to guidelines from the Endocrine Society, healthy ranges of testosterone in men can vary widely, but low testosterone accompanied by symptoms most likely appears when your blood testosterone level is below 250 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). For adult women, testosterone levels are considered low below 10 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL)

How Common Is Low Testosterone in Men and Women?

It has been estimated that 1 in 4 men over the age of 30 have low testosterone. Low testosterone in men is defined as 300ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter) or less of total testosterone. Based on Trusted source1 in 4 Men Over 30 Has Low TestosteroneABC NewsGo to sourcethe most recent studies , researchers predict that by 2025 there may be as many as 6.5 million American men between 30 and 79 years of age with low testosterone, an increase of nearly 40% from the year 2000 population estimates.

Though far less common then in men, women can also suffer the effects of low testosterone. In women under fifty, 25 ng/dL or below is considered low. For women older than 50, testosterone levels lower than 20 ng/dL are considered low.

Testosterone levels can be too high or too low – but low testosterone is far more common

What Are the Symptoms of Lower Than Normal Testosterone Levels?

The general signs and symptoms of low testosterone include: fatigue, weight gain, sexual health issues, and cognitive difficulties.

The only way to determine if you are suffering from lower than normal testosterone levels, is to have your blood tested. However, here are some of the specific signs and symptoms of low testosterone you should watch out for.

Problems with erections (men)

One of the most common signs of low testosterone in men is erectile dysfunction or ED. Testosterone is not directly involved in the process of getting or maintaining an erection but, testosterone is essential for the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide triggers the increased blood flow that causes an erection. Increasing the level of Nitric oxide in the blood is how ED medications such as Viagra work.

Problems with erections men

Hair loss

Many men experience hair loss as a natural part of aging, and age-related hair loss can also affect women. However, Trusted sourceTestosterone and Hair LossNCBIGo to sourcea 2012 study found that low testosterone in both men and women could lead to hair loss. That study also found that testosterone replacement therapy led to hair regrowth.

Reduced bone mass

Low testosterone also impacts bone density and can lead to osteoporosis. Men and women with low testosterone levels have been found to have lower bone density than those with normal testosterone levels.

Reduction in testicle size (men)

Men with low testosterone may notice a reduction in the size of their testicles. The scrotum may also feel softer than usual.

Reduction in the amount of semen (men)

Testosterone is essential for the production of semen, and reduced levels of semen can be a sign of lower than normal testosterone levels. Low testosterone can also lower sperm counts, and can lead to infertility.

Difficulty sleeping

Insomnia, or otherwise disturbed sleep is a sign of low testosterone. If you are a man over 40 and having trouble sleeping, low testosterone could be part of the problem.

Difficulty Sleeping

Lowered sex drive

One of the most common, and often the first noticeable sign of low testosterone levels is a reduction in libido or sex drive. While it may be normal for libido to drop as you age, men (and women) with low testosterone will notice a significant drop in sexual desire.

Reduced muscle mass

Testosterone is necessary to build muscle. If you are having trouble building lean muscle even while working out, or otherwise losing muscle mass – low testosterone could be the cause.

Hot flashes (women)

It is now believed that hot flashes, and many of the other debilitating symptoms of menopause in women, such as night sweats, are caused by low testosterone levels.

A decrease in energy levels

A lack of stamina, or low energy levels, is a common sign of Low-T in both men and women.

An increase in body fat

Low testosterone effects your body’s ability to burn fat. Therefore, difficulty losing weight, and increased body fat – particularly belly fat — is a sign low testosterone.

Changes in mood or mood swings

Mood swings, increased feelings of depression or anxiety, and other emotional issues, can also be a sign of low testosterone.

Causes of Low Testosterone Levels

There can be several causes of low testosterone. There are certain diseases and genetic conditions that can lead to low testosterone. Conditions that can cause low testosterone include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Other hormonal conditions.

However the most common cause of low testosterone is simply getting older. In men over 30, typically testosterone levels will drop by about 1% per year. By the time a man is in his 70s, his testosterone level could be half of what it was in his 20s.

Women lose a significant amount of testosterone once they reach the menopausal years.

There can be many reasons for a low testosterone level, however, the most common cause of low testosterone is age-related decline

How Are Low Testosterone Levels Diagnosed?

If you are a man or women over 40, and you are experiencing some or all of the signs mentioned above, there is a good chance that your testosterone levels are low. However, the only way to see if you truly have low testosterone is to have your testosterone levels tested.

Understanding Testosterone Level Tests

A blood test is used to determine your testosterone levels. Testosterone is found in your blood in two ways, as “bound” testosterone and “free” testosterone. Bound testosterone is testosterone that is attached to proteins in the blood, free testosterone is not attached to any proteins. Usually doctors will test for your total testosterone as a screening test. This measures both free and attached testosterone. To diagnose certain conditions, doctors sometimes look only at free testosterone levels.

Will I Also Need a Physical Examination?

To provide you with a proper diagnosis of low testosterone, in addition to bloodwork, your doctor will take a complete medical history, and do a full physical examination. When all of that is done, and after evaluation of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend a course of testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is a way to bring your testosterone levels back into proper balance. The idea of testosterone replacement therapy is not to jack a 60 year old’s testosterone level to that of a 20 year olds, but to bring you to a level of optimal performance for you age and lifestyle.

Testosterone replacement therapy can be given as topical gels, dermal patches, or sub-dermal pellets. However, our doctors have found that testosterone injections are the safest and most effective form of testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone therapy is given over the course of several months. You will probably start with a six-month regimen of weekly injections. After the first few weeks, you can expect to see improvements week by week over the course of your therapy. The first improvement most patients notice on testosterone replacement is increased sex drive and improved sexual function.

Depending on your symptoms, your testosterone replacement therapy may be combined with other hormone replacement, such as growth hormone therapy.

Now that you know a little more about testosterone levels and low testosterone, why not contact us today, and get started on a path to improved health!