Low Testosterone May Signal Serious Medical Conditions


Dennis is a middle aged man with a testosterone of 70. He suffers with weakness, muscle aches, soreness of the breast, and carries a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. He inquires if treatment with testosterone will benefit him (see his inquiry in our Comments section).

While I cannot offer medical advice on this website I can make some general comments that may be helpful. In my medical practice I see many men of this age with low testosterone. Usually the testosterone levels are in the low 200’s or slightly less. Symptoms of moodiness, fatigue, weakness, low motivation, and loss of sexual interest and function are the most common complaints. Evaluation for causes of low testosterone usually reveals a failure of the pituitary gland to make enough gonadotropins, the hormones that cause the testicle to manufacture testosterone. In almost all these cases the pituitary gland appears otherwise normal. Many of these men are started on testosterone replacement and generally have a nice improvement in their complaints.

What concerns me about Dennis is that a level of testosterone of 70 is extremely low and can suggest more unusual causes of low testosterone. Tumors of the pituitary gland, injury to the testicle, or rare genetic defects (usually discovered in childhood), cause testosterone levels as low as this. Alcoholic liver cirrhosis may also have similar effects. The fact that his breast is tender is another clue that this is a severe form of testosterone deficiency. My advice to Dennis is to have his V.A. doctors perform a full endocrine evaluation to make sure nothing else is causing the low testosterone. Giving testosterone replacement may only cover up the symptoms of a more significant medical condition.

I hope that helps. Dennis…let us know how this turns out.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, metabolism.com
The disclaimer of metabolism.com applies to this and all of my posts.

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  • my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with we leave it to you to decide.

  • Dennis

    Hello, thank you all for helping us with any and all information. It helps to know what the problems are, and knowing how to better comunicate with my V.A. doctors. This is Dennis agin, and my testosterone say 2 months ago went up from 70, to 144(140’s) after useing the 5mg./day Androderm testosterone transdermal patch since the first letter to this sight. The doctor told me that this is good, yet i don’t think it’s that good…low 140’s for a 49 year old man. Now turning 50 on June 29th 2010. this has me concerned as this all started in my left breast,had a mamogramper dr. all ok…yet my left nipple has turned lighter in color,and the breast has grown in size even though i have lost 27 lbs.the nipple is still painful to the touch but not nearly as it was before the testosterone treatments daily. My legs are now both turning numb from the knees up into just below the hips. Painful to the touch and my other dr., (shrink) seems to think i suffer from the methadone causing my painful numbness in my legs. hyper something or other. The methadone is for the pain but i want to try the marinol for pain and get off of some of these strong drugs they have me taking, such as dextro-amphetamine for the ad/hd. What can i do to convince a doctor that i’m willing to try the marinol vs the methadone, etc., etc?! And is the testosterone levels high enough yet,and may they improve. Agin thank you all,and God Bless.

  • Dennis

    i forgot to say that i don’t drink or smoke cigarettes. thank you agin. i still have not been abel to convince the V.A. doctor to have my pituitary gland checked, etc. All they do is check my blood testosterone levels with 3 blood draws….1 every half hour 3 times. thank you, Dennis.

  • Like you say here, the first step is to take the time to go and get tests on your endocrine system. Too often men simply hate going to the doctor, so they sacrifice their quality of life by just ignoring it. It’s amazing the difference when you get your hormone levels under control!

  • DavidA

    I lift about 3 times a week. I take the Testosterone Booster (from Dr Max Powers) about 1/2 hour before working out and it makes a big difference. Getting through my workout is much easier with this. I’m pushing 40 and this is like turning back the clock a dozen years. I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re still in your twenties, but mid thirties and up, looking for an extra boost in your workout, I highly recommend.