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How To Find Out If You're Experiencing Testosterone Deficiency

How To Find Out If You're Experiencing Testosterone Deficiency
By Rory Cassidy Updated
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We spoke to Dublin based GP Dr Emmett Byrne about testosterone deficiency and encouraging men over 40 to become more proactive about their health.

The physical impact of ageing is something all men have to come to grips with. While some men can maintain peak athletic performance throughout their 40s others may notice a decline in physical strength from our fourth decade. That decline is more pronounced in some men and can be due to decreasing testosterone levels.

Testosterone is a hugely important hormone for men. It is responsible for physical male characteristics such as strength, muscle size, bone mass, fertility, and sex drive. Testosterone also impacts men's emotional wellbeing. As men get older, particularly from 40 onwards, their testosterone levels can decline causing a loss of libido and difficulty getting or maintaining erections. Declining testosterone also contributes to other symptoms such as fatigue, low mood, and a slowing down of the metabolism, resulting in a tendency to gain weight. 

"From a psychological perspective, it has a very big impact on our mood and anxiety levels," explains Dr Emmett Byrne, former Leinster player, and specialist in cardio-metabolic health and men's health. “You may start to get more anxious, and your mood may begin to drop a little bit. Your quality of life definitely takes a hit because it is directly related to your metabolism slowing down and your energy levels going down as well." Dr Byrne adds.

Dr Byrne believes that there are three broad physical symptoms of testosterone loss in men.

“Number one would be fatigue,” he says. “A guy comes home from a day's work and falls asleep in his chair at seven o'clock. The second is loss of strength and muscle tissue.  The third is reduced libido or sex drive. The problem is many of these symptoms happen with age anyway, but with lower levels of testosterone this happens at a more significant rate. Another physical symptom is a tendency to gain weight”.

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"Low testosterone affects everyone differently and not everyone needs treatment but there are guys, who through no fault of their own, will have lower testosterone and it's going to impact their quality of life unless they get treated."

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Dr Emmett Byrne is a Dublin-based GP and qualified strength and conditioning specialist. He is currently completing an advanced fellowship in metabolic and functional medicine through the American Academy of Anti-Ageing Medicine.

Dr Byrne is eager to stress that a healthy lifestyle helps to keep testosterone levels in a normal range. He explains that physical exercise and activity, good nutrition, getting a good amount of sleep at night, and keeping stress levels low are crucial “If you're not managing that, then you're more likely to accelerate the rate of declining testosterone.  A healthy body and mind help to preserve and maintain good testosterone levels, reducing the need to start treatment," Dr Byrne explains.

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Men who have been diagnosed with other conditions for example type II diabetes or obesity are less likely to make the connection between low testosterone and the symptoms they are feeling as they are more likely to put it down to their diagnosis and so it is important if anyone is feeling a combination of the symptoms above to get checked out by their GP.  

“While the awareness of testosterone deficiency has probably never been higher there is still a long way to go and the important thing is for men who haven't been actively monitoring their health to visit their doctor if they have any concerns that low testosterone may be impacting their lives." Dr Emmett concludes.

Learn more about the importance of testosterone for physical and emotional well-being as well as the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency by visiting www.testosteronedeficiency.ie.   

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This campaign is for an Irish audience and has been funded and produced by Besins Healthcare. 

References available on request. 

BHUK/2022/334- ROI. November 2022

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