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.

beginning of content


7-minute read

Key facts

  • Testosterone is a hormone that regulates sex drive and bone strength, and helps make sperm.
  • Testosterone levels vary greatly depending on your sex, age and health.
  • Low testosterone levels can be due to a problem with your testes or pituitary gland, obesity, some health conditions or the normal process of ageing.
  • If your testosterone levels are low, you may notice changes in your sex drive, erections, mood, sleep, energy levels and muscle strength.
  • You may need testosterone replacement therapy to increase your testosterone levels. Living a healthy lifestyle can also help.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is a sex hormone that is important in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the penis, testes and prostate. Males and females both naturally produce testosterone, though males produce far more testosterone than females. In males, most testosterone is made by the testes. In females, testosterone is made by the ovaries and converted to female sex hormones.

Testosterone levels can vary greatly depending on your sex, age and health. In males, testosterone levels are usually highest at age 20. After this, levels gradually reduce. A pregnant woman will have more testosterone than a healthy, non-pregnant woman.

What does testosterone do?

Testosterone is important in the development of the male reproductive organs, such as the testicles and penis.

It is responsible for the changes during puberty in males, such as body hair, a deeper voice, stronger muscles and penis growth.

In adult males, testosterone carries out important body functions, such as:

  • regulating sex drive, mood and bone and muscle strength
  • making blood cells
  • helping the testes make sperm

In females, testosterone is needed for bone and muscle strength and sex drive. Some of it is converted to a form of oestrogen.

Why are my testosterone levels low?

If you have low testosterone levels, it may mean that your body is unable to make enough testosterone. This could be because your testes are not working properly, or because the pituitary gland in your brain is not telling your testes to make testosterone.

Causes of low testosterone levels include:

Some people use the term ‘andropause’ or 'male menopause' to refer to the decline in testosterone with ageing. This term is misleading. It suggests that males don’t have enough testosterone as they get older, however there is no clear evidence that this is a problem in healthy people.

You may have a greater drop in your testosterone levels if you have long-term medical conditions or if you are overweight. If low testosterone is a problem for you, you may want to speak to your doctor about whether it is simply because you are getting older or if there is another cause.

NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT? — Use the BMI Calculator to find out if your weight and waist size are in a healthy range.

What symptoms will I have if my testosterone is low?

Males with low testosterone levels can have many different symptoms. You might have:

You may notice physical changes such as:

  • increased body fat
  • reduced muscle bulk and strength
  • swollen or tender breasts
  • less facial and body hair growth

You may also find out that you have infertility or decreased bone density.

Children with low testosterone levels might have a small penis or testes. They might have late puberty, they might not grow facial or body hair or their voice might not break.

Some females with low testosterone levels might have loss of libido.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.

How can I get my testosterone levels tested?

Your doctor can check your testosterone levels with a blood test. Testosterone levels can vary, so if you have a low level on one blood test, you should have a second test to confirm it.

It’s best to have the testosterone blood test early in the morning while you are fasting. This is when your testosterone levels are usually at their highest.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

How can I treat low testosterone?

If you have low testosterone, you can take testosterone replacement therapy. This is given by injections, gels, creams or tablets.

If there is an underlying cause for your low testosterone, it should be treated. You may also need testosterone therapy.

It's unclear whether testosterone therapy has any benefit for older males who have low testosterone but no testicular or pituitary problems. Getting diabetes or other health conditions under control, and losing weight can improve testosterone levels.

The risks and side effects of testosterone therapy include:

You can also increase your testosterone levels by:

Resources and support

For more information about male reproductive and sexual health, visit Healthy Male.

You can also talk to your doctor or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 to speak to a nurse for information and advice.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2022

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Low Testosterone - Symptoms & Treatments | Healthy Male

Low testosterone is when the body can't make enough testosterone to work. Androgen deficiency is due to problems with testosterone production by the testicles.

Read more on Healthy Male website

Hypogonadism - Hormones Australia

Hypogonadism describes a condition where the testes are unable to produce enough testosterone (called androgen deficiency) and/or a normal number of sperm.

Read more on Hormones Australia website

Testosterone | Pathology Tests Explained

Testosterone is a steroid hormone (androgen) made by the testes in males. Its production is stimulated and controlled by luteinising hormone (LH), which is m

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained 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

Anabolic Steroids: What They Are, Uses, Side Effects & Risks | Healthy Male

What you need to know about anabolic steroids, whether they are legal in Australia, the side-effects and health risks of steroid misuse and abuse.

Read more on Healthy Male website

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) | Pathology Tests Explained

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is an androgen, a male sex hormone that is present in the blood of both men and women. It has a role to play in develo

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) | Pathology Tests Explained

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is an androgen, a male sex hormone that is present in the blood of both men and women. It has a role to play in develo

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Undescended testicles - Better Health Channel

Undescended testicles means that one or both testicles are missing from the scrotum.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Impotence causes -

Find out the physical and psychological causes of impotence, also called erectile dysfunction or ED.

Read more on myDr website

Prostate Cancer and Bone Health

Prostate cancer is an abnormal growth a cells in the prostate gland and is the most common cancer in Australian men.

Read more on Healthy Bones Australia 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 Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.