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This website is provided for patients in the UK by Besins Healthcare (UK) Ltd.

Testosterone deficiency

What is testosterone deficiency?

Your body and mind need various things to stay healthy – good food, exercise, enough sleep. You might be surprised to find out that your body also relies on testosterone to stay healthy.

As you age, your testosterone levels naturally decline. However, in men with testosterone deficiency, testosterone levels drop too low, which can have a negative impact on your overall health.

There are many different causes of testosterone deficiency. Quite often, it is related to another illness or health issue(s) that you might have, such as:1

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Long-term use of some medications (for example opioids, antipsychotics or anticonvulsants)

It is not fully understood how or why testosterone deficiency is related to these health issues, as the relationship is very complex and research is ongoing.

What is testosterone deficiency?

The symptoms of testosterone deficiency and how levels of the hormone can be increased naturally.

1:04

Testosterone deficiency is more common than you might think. What percentage of men aged 40-79 do you think have testosterone deficiency?2

Not quite, roughly 2% of men of this age will experience problems with their health due to testosterone deficiency. That’s 1 in 50, making it a common problem.

Correct! Roughly 2% of men of this age will experience problems with their health due to testosterone deficiency. That’s 1 in 50, making it a common problem.

Not quite, roughly 2% of men of this age will experience problems with their health due to testosterone deficiency. That’s 1 in 50, making it a common problem.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Testosterone deficiency can affect you in a lot of different ways. Many of these effects will also change over time as you continue to use Testogel® 16.2 mg/g gel, so it is a good idea to track your symptoms during your treatment. Be sure to tell your doctor if any of the below symptoms change significantly during your treatment:

Rollover man

Physical1

  • Compromised bone strength, which may lead to increased fractures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Obesity
  • High body mass index (BMI)

Sexual function1

  • Low libido/sex drive
  • Less (than usual) or a lack of morning erections
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Delayed ejaculation

Emotional and mental health1

  • Depression or a decreased sense of well-being
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Impaired concentration
  • Irritability
  • Sleep problems

Heart1

  • Risk of heart disease and stroke

Metabolism1

  • Insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes if left uncontrolled)
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

Stay informed

A clinically approved symptom checker (AMS questionnaire) can help track how you are feeling now and how you feel throughout your treatment with Testogel® 16.2 mg/g gel. This will help you track how the treatment is working for you and whether your dose needs to be adjusted based on the improvement in your symptoms, which are often gradual.

Causes

There are two main types of testosterone deficiency in men, known as primary and secondary hypogonadism. Sometimes testosterone deficiency can be due to a combination of both primary and secondary hypogonadism.1

Testosterone deficiency is sometimes referred to as male hypogonadism by healthcare professionals

Primary hypogonadism

This is when testosterone deficiency is caused by a problem with your testicles.1

Secondary hypogonadism

This is when testosterone deficiency is caused by a signalling problem in your brain.1

Risk factors for testosterone deficiency

Long-term illness and health issues

Many long-term illnesses are associated with testosterone deficiency. These include:1

  • Type 2 diabetes
    • A condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high. It is caused when the body either does not react to or does not produce enough of a hormone known as insulin, and can cause many other health problems.3
  • Metabolic syndrome
    • A medical term for the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the blood vessels.4
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • A condition that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints.5
  • COPD
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term condition that makes breathing increasingly difficult and can also cause a persistent chesty cough, chest infections and wheezing.6
  • Anaemia
    • A condition that means your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to all areas of your body. There are many different types of anaemia, with different causes, but it will often cause a feeling of extreme tiredness.7
  • Liver and kidney disease
    • A group of conditions that damage your liver and kidneys, and decrease their ability to keep you healthy.

It’s not fully understood whether testosterone deficiency is a cause or consequence of these long-term illnesses.

Cancer and cancer treatments

Treatment for testicular cancer (for example, removal of one or both testicles) and tumours of the pituitary gland (part of the brain responsible for controlling hormone levels) can cause testosterone deficiency.1

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can also affect testosterone production.1

Ageing

As you age, you will naturally experience a decline in testosterone. This is caused by reduced functioning of your testicles and hormonal system. It’s only when testosterone levels fall too low, that you will start to experience the symptoms of testosterone deficiency.1

Obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome

Having a lot of weight around your middle is a risk factor for testosterone deficiency. Although it’s not fully understood, changes in your metabolism that are linked to poor health (like obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome) are also all related to testosterone deficiency.1

Naturally increase your testosterone levels

Just like your overall health and well-being, your testosterone levels are naturally affected by life choices. Testosterone can be boosted naturally by making positive lifestyle changes.1 This is a good thing, as generally most of us could benefit from a healthier diet and a little more exercise.

Get enough sleep

A hectic lifestyle where you are not getting enough sleep can result in reduced testosterone levels. Aim for 7–8 hours of sleep a night. Making good rest a priority can be more important for your health than you might realise.

Reduce stress

Stress can directly affect the way your body releases testosterone. If you work long hours, try to take regular breaks where possible, and make sure you spend time doing activities that help you relax and wind down.

Eat well

A healthy diet gives your body everything it needs to look after itself. It’s important to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and only have sugar, red or processed meat and alcohol in moderation. Eating a healthy diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and can naturally boost testosterone levels.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being very overweight or underweight can naturally reduce your testosterone levels. Having too much fat around the waist is also closely related to testosterone deficiency.1 Keeping your weight stable and healthy can really help keep testosterone levels up. Use the BMI calculator to see how you are doing.

Stay active

Exercise is nature’s best testosterone booster. Testosterone levels are higher in physically active men. Regular activity helps your brain to send out signals to your body to boost testosterone production. Find out more about how much exercise you should be doing each week.

References

  1. Hackett G, Kirby M, Edwards D, et al. British Society for Sexual Medicine Guidelines on Adult Testosterone Deficiency, With Statements for UK Practice. J Sex Med. 2017;14(12):1504–1523.
  2. Wu FCW, Tajar A, Beynon JM, et al. Identification of Late-Onset Hypogonadism in Middle-Aged and Elderly Men. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(2):123–135.
  3. NHS. Diabetes. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/. Accessed April 2021.
  4. NHS. Metabolic syndrome. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/metabolic-syndrome/. Accessed April 2020.
  5. NHS. Arthritis. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/. Accessed April 2021.
  6. NHS. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd/. Accessed April 2021.
  7. NHS. Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamin-b12-or-folate-deficiency-anaemia/. Accessed April 2021.


BHUK/2020/025. April 2021.

Adverse event reporting

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this packaged leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store. By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.