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    Do low testosterone levels cause ED?

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      Floppy male sign

      When it comes to men’s health – and particularly sexual health – a lot of emphasis tends to be put on testosterone. As we age, lots of men worry that their testosterone is getting too low and that this is the cause of unwanted changes to our bodies, as well as problems in the bedroom like erectile dysfunction.

      While it’s true that some conditions can cause abnormally low testosterone, most of us have completely normal and healthy amounts, even as we get into our later years. This means that any symptoms you’re experiencing are far more likely related to other factors to do with the ageing process, or underlying conditions that have gone undiagnosed.

      If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction, trying natural remedies said to “boost your testosterone” is unlikely to do anything other than put a dent in your bank account. Instead, you should visit your GP to talk through your symptoms, find out the cause, and to get some effective treatment.

      The link between testosterone and your sex life

      Testosterone is a vital hormone in males and females. In males, it enables normal sexual development. It’s also linked to sex drive and sperm production, as well as the strength and size of our bones and muscles.

      If an unborn male baby doesn’t produce enough testosterone in the womb, he might be born with underdeveloped genitals, female genitals, or genitals that are neither male nor female. If a young boy is lacking testosterone, then the normal “masculinisation” that occurs during puberty won’t happen i.e. their genitals won’t grow and their voice won’t drop.

      In adult men, testosterone remains an important hormone. Amongst other things, it’s important for maintaining a healthy sex life and staying fertile.

      Testosterone levels over time

      As we age, our testosterone levels naturally decrease – but not as much as most people think. Between the ages of 30 and 40, testosterone will begin to decline, normally at a rate of less than 2% a year.

      In short, the majority of men will have all the testosterone they need to stay healthy and enjoy a normal sex life as they age.

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      Conditions that can cause a testosterone deficiency

      As we’ve seen, most men maintain sufficient testosterone levels as they age. However, some men might develop a condition called hypogonadism.

      Hypogonadism is where the testes produce very little, or even zero, hormones, leading to a testosterone deficiency. The symptoms of low testosterone caused by hypogonadism include:

      Hypogonadism can also cause a loss of facial and body hair, a decrease in muscle mass and bone mass, and the development of breast tissue. 

      It’s also thought that men who are obese are more high-risk for late-onset hypogonadism, especially if they have type 2 diabetes. 

      Getting help for erectile dysfunction

      Hypogonadism in adult men is rare, but erectile dysfunction is not. In fact, it affects around half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70

      ED that happens every now and then is usually nothing to worry about – especially if it tends to occur when you’re very tired or you’ve had a lot to drink. However, ED that’s a recurring problem might be a sign of an underlying physical condition that needs to be addressed, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Alternatively, it might be a sign of depression or anxiety, or a problem in your relationship.

      If you’re regularly having trouble getting an erection, it’s a good idea to see your GP. They’ll be able to run some tests to work out the cause and, if appropriate, give you some medication. If they think the cause might be late-onset hypogonadism, you can be referred to a specialist for hormone replacement therapy.

      For most men, however, the standard treatment is ED tablets like Viagra and Cialis. Although these won’t cure the root cause of your impotence, they can be a safe and effective way to temporarily achieve an erection.

      You can make an order of ED tablets through Online Doctor here. Simply fill out a short, confidential questionnaire and wait for one of our in-house clinicians to check through your answers to make sure you’re suitable for treatment. Once we’ve approved your order, we’ll deliver your tablets to your home or make them available to collect in your nearest LloydsPharmacy.

      VideoGP by LloydsPharmacy

      References

      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/male-menopause/
      https://www.health.harvard.edu/drugs-and-medications/testosterone--what-it-does-and-doesnt-do
      https://patient.info/mens-health/erectile-dysfunction-impotence/testosterone-deficiency
      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/male-hypogonadism/symptoms-causes/syc-20354881
      https://www.baus.org.uk/patients/conditions/3/erectile_dysfunction_impotence/
      https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/  

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