Low Testosterone and Erectile Dysfunction: What’s the Connection?
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Testosterone is the male sex hormone that makes men strong, vigorous, masculine and full of energy. When testosterone slumps below normal levels, it is often referred to as low testosterone or "low T". If a man has low testosterone it can result in many different health complications like a lack of energy, heart problems and low interest or desire to have sex. Some guys may even face erection problems as a result of low testosterone. As ED can be caused by a variety of different reasons, there is a connection between Low testosterone and erectile dysfunction.
Can low testosterone cause ED?
Testosterone plays a serious role in men's health and sexual performance. According to the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, low testosterone levels is one of the reasons behind erectile dysfunction.
It is important to note that testosterone alone doesn’t cause an erection, but it's role helps stimulates receptors in the brain to produce nitric oxide. Men need nitric oxide to help trigger a serious of chemical reactions necessary for an erection to occur. When T levels are low, this can lead to one or two issues for a man:
Difficulty achieving an erection prior to sex
Having spontaneous erections throughout the day or when asleep
Now, it is still debatable about what level of testosterone can cause erectile dysfunction. Researchers are still conducting various studies to find out these levels, but other reasons can contribute to erectile dysfunction too!
For instance, reduced blood flow to the penis is one of the most common reasons for ED. A reduction of blood flow may lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
Few other conditions that also contribute to ED are spinal cord injuries, back pain, neurological conditions, and multiple sclerosis. Moreover, psychological diseases like anxiety and depression may also lead to erectile dysfunction.
As ED can be caused by any one of these factors, low testosterone levels can often co-occur with ANY of these other factors. For instance, low testosterone may contribute to weight gain, which may lead to other health related issues like obesity. As a result, this may also lead to heart disease, which hardens the arteries and reduces blood flow to important organs in a man's body.
Are you starting to see the connections now?
What are the Signs of Low Testosterone?
There are many different signs of low testosterone that you should be aware of. If you pay attention to these signs, you have a better chance at avoiding some of the health complications mentioned earlier including erectile dysfunction.
Few of the common symptoms include,
Significant reduction in bone mass as testosterone helps in maintaining bone volume.
Soft scrotum and reduced size of testicles (not because of the cold temperature).
Low semen production as testosterone is directly linked with it.
Reduced sexual desire
Poor erections (inability to achieve and maintain one)
Low muscle mass
Low energy levels
If you notice a few of these issues, you should consult your healthcare provider. They may perform lab work to check your hormones including estrogen, the female hormone that can often work against a man when it comes to performance.
What should I do if I have Low testosterone?
First of all, you must consult with your doctor to conduct some tests. I would request a full male hormone panel. This would include measuring the testosterone levels in the body, thyroid, vitamins. lipids, estradiol and other important hormones that help a man function properly . If the hormone level is normal, your ED may be caused by another underlying issue like an injury or a psychological problem. You can always consult your healthcare provider and look for these other reasons.
If your testosterone levels are lower than the normal level, you can consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) as an option to restore sex drive and improve erections. Most of the men who face ED due to low testosterone level report positive effects after they start the TRT.
Moreover, normal testosterone levels lower the risk of heart issues. However, if you are improving the hormone levels with a therapy, remember that overdoing it can increase your health issues. With restoring your sex life, TRT improves your mood levels and allows you to become more active than before. Active men are more likely to have sexual desire and engage in sexual activities.
Few side effects of TRT are erythrocytosis, interrupt normal sperm production, swelling, pain, and back pain. You should consult your doctor about any further possible side effects.
If you prefer a more natural way to boost testosterone levels, you can always try to correct bad dietary habits that may cause Low T. In addition to this, we suggest that you exercise to help boost your hormone levels regularly. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been a proven method to boost testosterone levels in men.
What are normal levels of testosterone?
Understanding testosterone levels can be tricky. According to Harvard Health, men with testosterone levels below 300 ng/dL may experience some degree of low T symptoms.
However, in general, the normal range of testosterone in guys is between 270-1070 ng/dL, with an average level of 679 ng/dL.
So what are normal levels? If you fall between that range, any doctor will probably tell you that you have "normal levels" and that you are "fine".
But, do you feel normal? Let's say for example, you had a testosterone level of 350 ng/dL, but felt fatigue or any of the "low T" signs mentioned above. Perhaps these levels are not matching with your biological make up and what your body is supposed to be producing.
Don't be fooled when a doctor tells you that your testosterone levels are "fine".
Mistakes like this may potentially put you at risk for unnecessary health complications. If you are suffering from Low T or are at the lower end of the "normal" range, we suggest seeking a medical professional that is well versed in testosterone optimization. Everyone is made differently, and there are plenty of specialists that can guide you to better testosterone levels based on your body and its needs.
Final thoughts about the connection between low testosterone and ED
Remember, treating testosterone levels does not only impact your sex life, but it can also improve your overall health. A normal or optimized level of testosterone is vital for a man to function properly. Monitoring these levels is one piece of the pie that can affect your erections. As erectile dysfunction is a common issue among men, ruling out testosterone can help put you in the right direction for treatment. And, there are plenty of treatment options available for both physical and mental ED!
And If your ED is a mental roadblock, we suggest consulting with your doctor and to stay tuned for more resources and helpful information from BDE Style. We are a group of men with similar experiences willing to share BDE with everyone. Whether it's psychological or physical, we are here to listen and to point you in the right direction for treating ED, getting bedroom confidence and more.