Testosterone deficiency in men: an explanation

Written by: Dr Masud Haq
Published: | Updated: 10/01/2024
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

Testosterone plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of male reproductive tissues and is also important for overall health and well-being. Respected consultant endocrinologist Dr Masud Haq explains more about testosterone deficiency, including the symptoms, potential causes and treatment options.



What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men, and how is it diagnosed?


Testosterone deficiency (TD) is a condition which commonly causes erectile dysfunction and low sexual desire.


However, patients can develop the following symptoms:


  • Fatigue.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Depression.
  • Loss of muscle strength.
  • Weight gain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Hot flushes.
  • Sleep disturbance.


If left untreated, testosterone deficiency can result in long-term complications such as osteoporosis, insulin resistance, risk of developing type 2 diabetes and reduced life expectancy.


It is diagnosed on a combination of symptoms and low testosterone levels.


What are the potential causes of testosterone deficiency, and can it be prevented?


TD is an extremely prevalent condition, affecting up to 1 in 10 adult men. It is more common with age, and in men with obesity and type 2 diabetes


TD can be primary, secondary or functional in origin. Surgery or previous infections such as mumps orchitis can result in primary TD. Secondary TD is due to hypothalamic or pituitary conditions such as cysts or swellings (adenomas) of the pituitary, previous surgery or inflammatory conditions.Functional TD can be due to obesity or ageing. 


Testosterone levels naturally decline with age. However, these levels can be preserved through leading a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.



What treatment options are available for men with low testosterone levels?


Patients with suspected TD should seek specialist advice so that individuals can be carefully assessed, and have relevant blood tests and scans to verify the diagnosis. Upon confirmation of TD, it is crucial to address the underlying cause. Additionally, patients may be offered the option of transdermal testosterone gels or injections.


Are there any natural ways to boost testosterone levels, such as through diet or exercise?


Yes, testosterone can be improved through a healthy balanced diet, weight loss, regular exercise, improving sleep, and reducing alcohol intake.


What are the potential risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy for men?


The main benefits include an enhanced quality of life marked by reduced fatigue, improved mood, enhanced erectile function and libido, as well as better bone and muscle health.


Treatment is generally well received. Pain at injection sites and skin reactions with gels are relatively uncommon. Although there is a potential risk of changes in mood and an increase in blood counts (haematocrit), this risk is less common. 





If you would like to book a consultation with Mr Haq, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Masud Haq
Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism

Dr Masud Haq is a highly respected Consultant in diabetes and endocrinology based in London and Tunbridge Wells. He is renowned for his expertise in managing patients with thyroid problems, menopauseobesity and diabetes and also specialises in menstrual disorders and testosterone deficiency.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree with honours, Dr Haq completed his medical training with honours at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in 1995. After completing his specialist training in London, Dr Haq was awarded dual accreditation in diabetes and endocrinology and general medicine. During his training, Dr Haq also completed an MD in Thyroid disorders at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Institute of Cancer Research and University of London.

Dr Haq worked as a consultant at St George’s Hospital and the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust before taking up his substantive appointment as a consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospital NHS Trust in 2008. In 2010, Dr Haq was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians. In 2015, he was also awarded a Diploma from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (DRCOG). Dr Haq was clinical lead of his department between 2012 and 2020, during which time he established the West Kent Diabetes Community model.

Dr Haq prides himself on providing the best possible management strategies for his patients, with a focus on ensuring his patients are well informed about their care. He sees private patients at the Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital10 Harley Street in central London and Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast.

In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr Haq has held a number of important roles in medical education. He was the foundation training programme director for second year trainees for ten years. In addition, he regularly provides training for GPs, practice nurses, junior doctors and medical students and has delivered informative presentations for patients on his areas of expertise.

Dr Haq is passionate about improving standards of patient care and has been an active member of his local Diabetes Clinical Commissioning Group. He received first prize for a Quality Improvement project at his Trust in 2022 and also gave a winning oral presentation at the Quality Improvement Conference, King’s College in the same year.

Dr Haq was a double finalist at the prestigious HSJ Value awards in 2021 in recognition of his diabetes work. He was shortlisted for a Marie Curie prize for research and was awarded an esteemed Wellcome scholarship. He is a member of a number of key professional bodies, including the British Thyroid Association and the Society of Endocrinology.

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