Low Testosterone Health Center

Testosterone is a hormone responsible for the growth of male sex organs and the maintenance of other sex characteristics. It also helps to maintain mass and bone density.

Hormones are chemical messengers that are created by the body and carried through the bloodstream to various tissues and organs. Hormones work to regulate different processes within the body such as growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood. Having lower than normal levels of certain hormones can create problems for the body.

Testosterone deficiency, or low testosterone, can lead to a decrease in muscle mass, an increase in body fat and erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or hold an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. While erectile dysfunction usually is caused by a physical source, such as a certain illness, injury or side effect of medication, hormone imbalances can also trigger it.

Low testosterone refers to testosterone levels below normal levels in fully grown and matured men. In contrast, there are developmental conditions that can be caused by a lack of testosterone production or testosterone insensitivity (the growing cells don't respond to testosterone) in the womb and in pubescent boys that are outside the scope of this discussion.

Review Date: 
September 14, 2012
Last Updated:
June 2, 2014