Starting at age 30, testosterone levels will begin to drop, on average, about 1% per year. Roughly 5% of men between the ages of 50 and 59 years old have low levels of testosterone along with symptoms like a decrease in their libido and apparent sluggishness.
When this starts to happen, the obvious answer may be to simply increase the levels of testosterone in the body.
In men, normal levels of testosterone range from about 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter of blood. The levels of testosterone do fluctuate during the day, so to get accurate readings regular measurements need to be done at the same time of the day over a course of a few weeks.
Too much testosterone can be extremely harmful to an individual and cause unwanted side effects. We share 10 common side effects of too much testosterone.
A Brief Overview of Testosterone
Testosterone is always negatively associated with over-aggressive men pounding their chests. But it’s much more than that. Testosterone, also known as “the male hormone” is produced primarily by the testicles.
Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in the body. In men, it’s attributed to regulating sex drive, fat distribution, bone mass, muscle mass, and strength, as well as the production of sperm and red blood cells.
Low testosterone levels can cause symptoms like decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and depressed moods.
High testosterone, on the other hand, can cause behavior and mood changes among many others.
What Is Testosterone Therapy?
As early as 1937, testosterone was used as a clinical drug, although what exactly it did at the time was unclear.
Nowadays, the hormone is widely prescribed to men who product naturally low levels of testosterone. Once a male has been accurately tested and diagnosed with low levels of testosterone, he will begin treatment. This will be rigorously monitored until the point that the low-level symptoms have dissipated and general levels have improved.
10 Common Side Effects of Too Much Testosterone
A male fetus will begin to produce testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception. The testosterone levels will continue to rise during puberty and teenage years and then slowly start to level off. A male begins to produce testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception.
Now that we have a basic understanding of testosterone and what it’s supposed to do, let’s analyze the common side effects that plague those with levels that are too high.
1. Skin and Hair Issues
As a boy becomes a man from childhood to adulthood, testosterone is what is behind the growth of facial hair, armpit hair and hair around the genitals. We also know men have a lot more hair on the arms, chest, and legs.
Raised levels of testosterone may cause the skin to become inflamed, and hair to thin. Alternatively, high levels of testosterone may also cause acne and skin irritation. Pimples and aggravated could definitely be as a result of too much testosterone in your system, especially if you haven’t suffered from any of these problems previously.
Oily skin and hair are also not an uncommon side effect of too much testosterone. While these effects are not reported to occur to everyone who suffers from high testosterone levels, they are more common than reported.
If you’re going through testosterone therapy and are showing these side effects, you could always look into natural remedies that are safe to use in conjunction with your TRT.
2. Prostate Swelling
Although the link between testosterone and the prostate has been a highly debated subject in the medical industry, it does go to show that there is a misconception that too much testosterone can lead to cancer.
There is no direct link between prostate growth, prostate cancer and high levels of testosterone. However, too much testosterone can cause swelling of the prostate.
Swollen prostate goes by many names: enlarged prostate, benign prostate hyperplasia or for short, BPH. Some of the symptoms that indicate your prostate may be swollen are frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate, as well as trouble starting the stream of urine, slight leaking or dribbling.
These could mean that your testosterone levels are too high.
3. Breast Enlargement
High testosterone levels can cause men to develop larger breasts, this is called Gynecomastia and is caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone.
Although the swelling of the breast tissue in men is usually associated with lower levels of testosterone, it can definitely be caused by elevated testosterone levels as well.
The occurrence of gynecomastia peaks in men between the ages of 50 and 69 years old, and at least 1 in 4 men are affected by it.
The imbalance of estrogen and testosterone can be rectified through testosterone replacement therapy which will return the levels of these hormones in your body back to normal, thus removing the appearance of breasts.
4. Sleep Apnea
High levels of testosterone in men can increase the risk of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to stop regularly during sleep. This disorder can be potentially fatal if left untreated.
Sleep apnea can cause fragmented sleep and very low blood oxygen levels, if you’re experiencing this it may be a sign that your testosterone levels are too high.
If you’re struggling with drowsy driving or other mood and memory problems, it might be a sign that you’re suffering from sleep apnea. If you know that you’re showing signs of sleep apnea then it may be time to come to terms with having a high level of testosterone as well.
5. Fluid Retention and UTI
High levels of testosterone in men may also cause the body to retain fluid. Some men will see that their feet and ankles have begun to swell and this is because testosterone encourages the body to hold onto excess fluid.
If your body is retaining fluid in combination with the difficulty to start a urine stream, your body is likely to suffer from urinary tract infections. If you’re finding that you’re getting UTIs fairly often, it’s time to have your testosterone levels tested.
6. Decreased Testicle Size
Simply put, testosterone directly affects the size and shape of your testicles. Testicles being the place where testosterone is created means that changes in size and shape are directly linked to testosterone levels, be it high or low.
The most basic way to explain the correlation is as follows:
- Your brain senses that there are high levels of testosterone in your body.
- The brain then assumes that the testicles are overproducing testosterone.
- The brain then alters the messages it sends for the producing of testosterone, by either lowering the creation levels or increasing them.
- This then results in a change of shape and size in the testicles.
Excess testosterone in your blood can also shut down the activity, almost completely, in the testes if your body is ‘confused’ enough. Any significant changes in your testes should be noted, particular if it is to do with the size of them.
If your testicles seem to be smaller then you may be suffering from high testosterone levels.
7. Decreased Sperm Count
Higher levels of testosterone are also capable of lowering the overall production of sperm in your body, which is, of course, linked to the above effect of shrinking testicles.
When there is too much testosterone present in the body, the male reproductive system is overwhelmed and this can create reproductive problems. Because sperm is produced in the testicles, the higher the levels of testosterone, the less sperm your body is likely to create.
In some cases, the production of sperm can even be halted completely as a result of both high and low levels of testosterone.
This is because the excess testosterone in your body leads to less production of FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, which is directly involved in the production of sperm.
8. Increase in Red Blood Cells
If you’re concerned you may have high levels of testosterone then high blood cell count is one of the most obvious effects of too much testosterone. An increase in your red blood cell count can cause blood clotting, which we all know can lead to much more serious conditions.
Hemoglobin and red blood cells are very likely to increase in correlation with an increase in testosterone. Because testosterone increases bone density, the bone marrow then over manufactures red blood cells.
High blood cell count is one of the most important things to look out for during testosterone replacement therapy.
9. Myocardial Infarction
Myocardial infarction, or more bluntly put, heart attacks are prevalent in men with high testosterone levels. Although it is not a very common effect, we feel it should still be mentioned. Men with testosterone levels exceeding 500 nanograms per deciliter are double as likely to suffer from a heart attack than those who have lower levels.
If you feel you may be having issues with your chest or heart, then see a medical professional immediately, especially if you’re experiencing any of the truly common side effects on this list.
10. Mood Changes
Increased levels of testosterone can lead to increased levels of estrogen, we’ve mentioned this above. Testosterone is naturally able to convert into estrogen within the male body.
If this process happens, men will start to experience mood swings and breast sensitivity. Much as a woman would during ‘that time of the month’, the symptoms are pretty similar.
Here are a few inherent mood changes to be on the lookout for:
- Depression, this feeling lasts for longer periods of time. There are also other physical manifestations of depression such as loss of appetite, aching muscles, sleeping too much or sleeping too little and fluctuations in weight. High testosterone levels cause a disruption in hormonal balance, making the body respond negatively and thus creating a feeling of depression.
- Impulsivity, this is a tendency to do things without thinking about the consequences first. Men with high testosterone levels will have a tendency to act entirely on impulse.
- Uncontrollable anger is a long time friend of high testosterone levels, if your hormones are imbalanced then it will be harder for you to control your temper.
If you’re suffering from inexplicable mood swings, severe ups and downs in your mood, this could definitely be a side effect of high testosterone levels. You may feel really happy one minute and extremely furious or depressed the next, so make sure that you monitor your moods.
Staying in Tune with Your Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is good for you, not only that, but it’s critical within the male body for overall good health and normal fertility. In order to stay on top of your testosterone levels, make sure you get tested as regularly as you deem necessary.
If you start to show the side effects of too much testosterone, then speak to a medical professional before they worsen.
You know that your testosterone is important. It is paramount to everything, from sexual performance, moods and going to the bathroom.
As you get older, you’re more likely to face testosterone related conditions ranging from minor, temporary conditions to more severe ones. The most important part about high or low-level testosterone is to stay up to date with your symptoms, keep a short notebook if you feel you may be suffering from either one, so when you’re ready, you have a complete symptomatic history to give your healthcare provider.
The best way to prevent those prostate issues is to keep it as healthy as possible. Consult our prostate health guide for more good tips.