T Nation

25yrs old, Symptoms of Low T, Results Low-Normal


#1

First time poster here. I'm 24 , going on 25 this August. Succinctness isn't my biggest strength, so forgive me if this post gets a little meandering.

Physique wise, I'm about 5'6 157-160 lbs and I guess you could say a bit on the "skinny-fat" side. Round face, skinnyish neck, skinny arms and wrists, but I carry a lot of fat in the midsection, thighs, hips, and I have sort of a manboob thing going on. I've always been pretty active (although definitely not as much now) and have done plenty of weightlifting in the past, but for as long as I remember, I've always had this type of physique.

When I was younger, I had it, just with less midsection fat, but despite dieting, cardio, the usual, I never seemed to be able to get to the point where I could see any cuts on my body. Because I couldn't seem to cut the fat out, I turned to bulking and lifting weights (regularly) to try to put on some muscle and see if that'd help. I gained a few pounds here and there, but I never seemed to gain any weight on my arms, lower or upper.

Back then, both losing and gaining weight were difficult endeavors. But now, it's almost impossible for me to lose weight, but gaining weight is almost effortless (fat, not muscle I mean). Even worse than the lack of aesthetic progress are my lack of strength gains.

When I first started weight training when I was around, I don't know, 15-16 I could probably bench 95 lbs max. I got that up to 125ish in a couple years, but mind you I was probably hitting the gym 3-5 days a week and eating a ton. Then I just plateaued. Haven't been able to break it since. And it's a pretty similar situation for all my other lifts, not just bench.

Anyway, as frustrating as the above sounds, I sort of accepted it as me not being as athletically gifted as other people. But then, maybe a year ago or so I started having problems maintaining erections. Back in the day, I was a bit of a horndog not unlike your average high school/college kid, wanting to bang every remotely attractive girl I saw. And when I could, used to be able to go all day and all night.

Now, somedays it seems that I can barely get it up, even after abstaining for a couple days in advance. And when I do get it up, it only gets about 50-75% as hard as it used to. I've gone soft mid-penetration, maybe the last 6 times I've been with a girl. I can't stay erect for blowjobs anymore. And I also started having problems with premature ejaculation.

Sometimes I'd get soft and try to jerk it back to life for her and I'd end up cumming while not even fully hard. I haven't had any traumatic sexual experiences or anything that might have caused it, so I'mnot sure it's psychological. Also, my semen looks pretty watery. God, it hurts to type this out.

I'm not sure how to describe my sex drive. I don't feel like my libido is low. Sometimes I'll be browsing reddit and come across a nude woman and I'd get caught in a porn rabit hole for a couple hours. But if I'm out at parties or bar hopping or something, I never get that urge to pursue an attractive girl like I used to. I don't have the energy or the will to compete with other dudes for a girl's attention like I used to.

I don't know, maybe I could chalk that up to anxiety. I mean, I masturbate at least once a day, sometimes twice but it seems to be more out of habit if anything. I need to do it before bed or else I wont be able to sleep, speaking of which...

Sleep has always been my biggest enemy. It seems like I've always had some form of insomnia. Just can't make the "circus" in my brain shut the fuck up. If by some miracle I happen to be able to fall asleep, I'll either wake up earlier than I'm supposed to be, or I'd still feel groggy and tired throughout the day and have to take a couple power naps.

Lately, I'm also starting to feel unmotivated, like my ambitiousness has totally disappeared. I don't feel depressed, as in sad, but depressed as in the world seems sort of grey and tasteless unless I'm high or wasted. If I'm faced with a difficult decision, "fuck it" seems to be my go-to expression. I try to avoid challenging situations at all costs.

Then there's the ADHD thing. I was diagnosed with a few years back and got prescribed Adderall IR at 10 mg twice a day. Not too high a dose. Other than taking an extra pill for help getting through some paperwork, I never abuse it. Anyway, I heard that ADHD can sometimes be confused with symptoms of low-T. Whichever it is, I definitely have the mental fogginess, inattention, inability to focus/concentrate, forgetfullness, etc. that is associated with both of them.

Lack of organization too as you can tell by this post. The physical stuff only really started becoming a problem a couple years back, but the mental issues (aside from the lack of motivation and depression) have sort of always been there, since high school anyway. I don't know if my T levels have always been low, or if they were normal and just plummeted recently for some reason.
Anyway TL;DR here's some symptoms I experience that I think might indicate low T:

skinny-fat physique (thin limbs, fat on midsection and chest)
-difficulty gaining muscle
-difficulty losing weight/fat
-striae/stretch marks everywhere, particularly on
-difficulty gaining strength
-excessive sweating (didn't mention it above, but it's really bad)
-lack of energy throughout the day (unless on adderall)
-lack of motivation
-general listlessness
-anxiety
-difficulty sleeping
-ADHD like symptoms
-difficulty concentrating
-mental fogginess (crappy memory)
-erectile dysfunction (unable to maintain an erection, sometimes unable to achieve)
-weak erection
-premature ejaculation
-thin, watery semen
etc.

So fast-forward a few GP visits, my GP makes me get some bloodwork done and my results was 418 ng/dl. She makes me go see an endo to get a second opinion and, well, and here are the results of my blood work:

imgur.com/a/kqtBy

The free testosterone results didn't go through for some reason, but doc made me retake it for just the and it came in the second time at 13.30 pg/ml but my Total Test came in at 480 ng/dl

The endo says I'm low-normal, but there's "nothing wrong" with any of the numbers, which I kind of expected after all the stories I've read about low T. But my total test numbers on the pics I posted above are kind of concerning, no? The LH, FSH, TSH numbers are somewhat on the low range too. What do you guys think? Your help would be greatly appreciated.


#2

What is the interfering substance?

TSH and T4 are lower than expected. A very odd combination. Low thyroid function [or hypo], can take away your energy, slow you down and make you feel depressed. Frequently this is from not using iodized salt and been iodine deficient.

Check your overall thyroid function:
Check oral body temperature when you first wake up, before you get up. Good if 97.7-97.8F, perhaps higher. If 97.3 or less, that is a real problem. Also see if you hit 98.6 mid-afternoon.

More on thyroid: read the 'thyroid basics sticky.

Many here have low T and low thyroid function. If thyroid function is low, Adderall might have been compensation.

For good background on hormones: Read the advice for new guys sticky.

SHBG is low, so TT is not been exaggerated by an unusual fraction of SHBG+T

LH/FSH are low, so you have a degree of secondary hypogonadism. E2 is not driving that. Prolactin is not high, but definitely at an interesting level.

Read the advice for new guys sticky and see if anything there suggests something to you. Also note the sticky that discusses things that damage your hormones.

So you were how old when your libido tanked?

Edit: About your FT number. FT is released in pulses and has a rather short half life before much of it becomes SHBG+T. Because FT levels change a lot, TT is a better indicator of your status than FT. FT lab ranges vary vastly with different lab companies, so you really do need to know the labs specific ranges. Example: -range for Quest is about 5 times higher than Labcorp.


#3

Just in regard to your sexual function: Your paragraphs 6-10 have several hallmarks of porn-induced erectile dysfunction. In figuring out what would help you, I think you also should go to YourBrainOnPorn.com and see if the hundreds of stories there resonate with you.


#4

Your story sounds very similar to mine.

You should get your vitamin D levels checked. If low, you might see a dramatic boost after beginning supplementation as I did.

If you are getting another test done, I’m also curious to see where your free T3 level is.

I just started TRT, hoping that it would change some of the same symptoms that you are experiencing. Don’t have any positive feedback to share with you so far.

Anhedonia is a nice word to describe some of what you are experiencing.

If you can break out of whatever pattern you are in, by going to a new place for awhile where you are engaged in new activities, that could possibly make a big difference in bringing back some zest into your life, and breaking you out of your harmful sexual habits as well.

Check Vit-D.


#5

Your problem is definitely porn.

Take 90 days off and enjoy the improvements.


#6

@KSman First, I’d like to say thanks for writing out those stickies. Very informative reads. The endo didn’t know what the “interfering substance” could have been, so he just had me take the test using a different method. I hadn’t taken any substances that morning, but the doctor did say the test might have failed because of high triglyceride levels? Probably should have included these numbers but I was only recently able to access them:
-total cholesterol: 199 mg/dL (normal range 100-189)
-triglycerides: 134 mg/dL (normal range 0-114)
-HDL cholesterol: 48 mg/dL (normal range >39)
-LDL cholesterol: 124 mg/dL (normal range 0-119)

According to mayo clinic it seems like elevated cholesterol levels might be a symptom of hypothyroidism.

The iodine deficiency thing is new to me, I will definitely look into it. I’ll also check my oral body temperature tomorrow and post as soon as I can.

Also, from my GP’s bloodwork I talked about above (where my TT was at 418 ng/dl), my TSH levels at the time were .945 uIU/mL (Normal Range at 0.450-4.500). So still low, but low-normal.

The possibility of a thyroid issue was sort of what caused me to start looking into the endocrine system/hormones and what not, but it seems like my numbers are all over the place and unfortunately all within the low-normal range. Seems like I could either be hypothyroid, hypopituitary, hypogonadism, or all three. I’d even wager my adrenal glands aren’t doing so hot either.

My libido tanked I’d say, maybe a year or two ago? But then again, that was around the same time I started having ED problems, so maybe the anxiety of that caused my libido to tank. If that makes sense.

In regards to the Free Test, I had my blood drawn from lab corp. Talked to the endo over the phone, and forgot to ask for the reference range but I googled lab corp’s range for 20-29 yo: 9.3-26.5 pg/ML, mine was 13.30.

Forgot to mention, I had my RMR tested at a facility at my school (had me hooked up to a V02 machine or whatever it’s called) it turned out to be very slow: 100kcal slower than normal (normal range is 1544-2047, I was at 1465). I’ve adjusted my diet accordingly, count calories, but not any more or less meticulously than others. I am not, however, very meticulous as to macronutrient or vitamin levels,etc.