Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Man with facial hair.

Man with facial hair.
beginning of content

Low testosterone

2-minute read

Men and women both produce testosterone, though men produce far more testosterone than women. Your testosterone levels can vary greatly depending on your gender, age and health. Find out more about low testosterone levels, and possible causes and symptoms of low testosterone.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is the main sex hormone produced by men and is important in the development of the testicles and penis at puberty, as well as producing ‘male characteristics’ of the body, such as facial and body hair.

In men, testosterone carries out important body functions, including regulating sex drive and helping the testes make sperm. In women, testosterone is mainly converted to a form of oestrogen.

What is a normal testosterone level?

Men produce a lot more testosterone than women.

A pregnant woman will have 3-4 times more testosterone than a healthy, non-pregnant woman.

Testosterone levels are usually highest during adolescence and early adulthood. From the age of 30, they gradually reduce by about 1 per cent a year in most men.

What causes low testosterone levels?

Low testosterone levels can be caused by:

Older men can have low testosterone levels. If this is a problem, you may want to speak to your doctor about whether this is due simply to getting older, or if it’s caused by something else.

Low testosterone symptoms

Men with low testosterone levels in men might have:

  • reduced libido, fewer erections and infertility
  • changes in sleep patterns and poor sleep
  • physical changes such as:
    • increased body fat
    • reduced muscle bulk and strength
    • decreased bone density
    • swollen or tender breasts
    • body hair loss and lower energy levels
  • emotional changes, such as:
    • decreased motivation or self-confidence
    • mood swings
    • depression
    • difficulty concentrating or remembering things

Women with low testosterone levels might have:

  • osteoporosis
  • tiredness and lack of motivation
  • loss of libido

How are testosterone levels tested?

The only way to check for low testosterone levels is by having two blood tests. Testosterone levels vary over the day, so if you have a low level on one blood test, you should have a discussion with your doctor before deciding what next steps to take.

Low testosterone treatment

Testosterone therapy, given by injections, gels, lotions, creams, patches or tablets, is used to treat low testosterone. It's unclear whether testosterone therapy has any benefit for older men who are otherwise healthy, and testosterone therapy may even be harmful in some situations.

The risks of testosterone therapy include:

  • acne or other skin reactions
  • weight gain
  • non-cancerous growth of the prostate and growth of any existing prostate cancer

Last reviewed: April 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism) information | myVMC

Testosterone deficiency or male hypogonadism is a condition in which a man produces abnormally low levels of the male sex hormone testosterone.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Testosterone Deficiency, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome | myVMC

Testosterone deficiency (hypogonadism)is associated with many chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and other metabolic disorders.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Androgen (testosterone) deficiency | Andrology Australia

Testosterone is the most important androgen (male sex hormone) in men and plays a key role in reproductive and sexual function.

Read more on Andrology Australia website

Androgen Deficiency: A guide for men and their families | Andrology Australia

This guide is a comprehensive overview of the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of androgren (testosterone) deficiency.

Read more on Andrology Australia website

Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Men | myVMC

Testosterone replacement therapy refers to the administration of exogenous testosterone to increase testosterone concentration in a man's body. It is used to treat hypogonadism, a condition characterised by low levels of testosterone.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Male menopause -

Many men report symptoms in their 40s and 50s that may caused by ageing or declining testoterone. Find out about the symptoms and how to help.

Read more on myDr website

Testosterone (male sex hormone) information | myVMC

Testosterone is the male sex hormone and one of a group of hormones known as androgens. It can be supplemented with testosterone replacement therapy.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Diabetes and sexual and reproductive health | Andrology Australia

Estimates suggest that up to four in every five men with diabetes will experience erectile problems and they are twice as likely to have erectile problems as

Read more on Andrology Australia website

Real men build their strength from within

Appearances can be deceiving. Men who look strong on the outside, may actually be weak on the inside and don’t realise it. Worldwide approximately one in five men over the age of 50 years will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Most are neither identified nor treated for this ‘silent’ disease, even after they’ve had a fracture. Osteoporosis is a disease which gradually weakens bones, leading to painful and debilitating fragility fractures (broken bones). These can occur after a minor fall from standing height, as a result of a bump, sneeze or even from bending over to tie a shoelace. Any bone can break due to osteoporosis, but some of the most serious and common fractures are those of the spine and hip.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Testosterone Test | myVMC

A testosterone test is a test which measures the amount of testosterone in a person's blood or saliva. The conditions for which a testosterone test may be used as a diagnostic tool differ between men and women.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo