T Nation

My Story and a Few Questions


Hey Guys,
I am a 24 year old male, who for as long as I remember have felt like I deal with something that others haven't, mostly mentally. For longest time I thought this incling stemmed from selfish self pity, and that most people feel as they are dealing with more than others. All and all this hasn't stopped me from doing what needed to get done as I've held jobs and finished school with good grades, excercised for good long stints, but damnit if it hasn't felt like I was always dragging myself to do things. As I look back on the last four or more years of my life allot of things make sense looking at it through the lense of having low testosterone.

I had a lack of motivation to do most things and was either motivated by stress academically, or alcohol socially. It was always weird to me that those were things I knew I wanted and could sometimes be excited for, but in the moment would almost never be excited to go out and accomplish. I came off as a pretty care free person, which is so far from the case, and most people I mentioned it too just couldn't believe I felt this way about stuff. I would open up to people about this depression I felt, but most people would reply with "excercise more", "sleep more", "party less" and I always figured that once I graduated and got into a good rhythm these symptoms would subsist. Well over the last two years I've done those things, I don't touch drugs/alcohol (save for a small handful of visits with old buddies, where a hangover would leave me feeling terrible an anxious, perhaps from lowering my Allready fragile T levels even lower), I sleep pretty well and have had multiple month stretches of high excercise (currently not doing much, as the test results have made lifting feel kind of pointless), and these mental symptoms have done nothing if become more acute, nowfree from the haze of self medicating I was likely doing in college.

While looking at videos about mental health I had seen a video by a guy who goes by the handle bignoknow on YouTube who began TRT, and his situation really resonated with mine, so I had my PCP add testosterone to a routine blood work up he asked me to do ( I hadn't mentioned the psychological symptoms, he's in a familial circle and didn't feel comfortable talking about depression/ self esteem/ etc with him). Lo and behold the test for total test comes back 184 ng/dl.
Weirdly enough I felt relieved, even vindicated. I had always told myself that it was in my head, and that these perceived problems was really just me needing to suck it up and deal with it.

Anyways, that was way too long winded but my PCP has refereed me to an endocrinologist at UCSF which has a waiting list out the door and it'll be weeks and weeks before I have any concrete answers. There is so much conflicting stuff online so I thought I might ask for your guys' personal experience and advice, as when I look at the symptoms for low T I feel like "check, check, check"...for the most part.

Symptoms I think I do have
low self esteem
low drive for sexual contact (but not companionship)
low drive for social interaction (but I yearn for it in theory)
hard to motivate myself in school, I am currently in a pre-medical program and while I know it's everything I want from a career, doing the work is like pulling teeth with myself, and I find it takes me twice as long to do assignments.
terrible trouble concentrating
trouble sleeping (I've had that for years)
a general feeling of lack of mental consistency
hard to lose weight/gain muscle
zero motivation for physical activity

hard to lose weight ( I don't eat super healthy, maybe a bit too much bread, but I don't eat candy, drink soda, not allot of fried stuff). Salads pretty often, turkey sandwiches.
-hard to gain muscle, I'm a pretty substantial guy. In my family are very sturdy, and I have a perception I should be at least average testosterone. I can't do a single pull up, even after weeks a weeks of Lat pulls, assisted pull-ups, bent over rows. Admittedly I haven't bothered to try and work towards it in quite some time as I would always find a way to get discouraged and stop after no results were seen.

excercise does yield some strength growth and trimming up, just always seems un substantial. Excercise does not give me the rush and good feeling most of the time that it seems like it does for most others.
The sexual stuff (since it seems to be so inextricably tied to low testosterone)

orgasms give little pleasure, perhaps a little relief, although I still seem motivated to self giggity a few times a week. Moderate arousal to porn, usually more "involved" porn where I used to be able to find great arousal from pretty soft core stuff (talking play boy spreads, gone wild type stuff)

However I can:
get an erection
maintain an erection during sex ( although I've found myself getting in my head and not really enjoying it)
can't really orgasm during sex very easily.
grow (some) facial hair
still am attracted to women, just no deep diving force/ will to pursue. Still inerested in companionship aspect.
A little too much emphasis on the erection stuff, but that seems to be way out of line since 99% of stuff for low t seems to be about erectile dysfunction.

So I have a few questions and
Does this mean my symptoms might not be low T related?

Another thing is that this total test was taken in late afternoon, how much can it fluctuate, is it possible I am normal with a 4pm total test of 184ng/dl.

What misconceptions have I likely gained from looking around online and reading this and that? What should I be cautious of?

I'm really optimistic that TRT could be a silver bullet for the way I've been feeling all these years, am I getting ahead of myself?

What can I expect in pursuing treatment for someone my age. I am very set on opting for treatment, ideally injectable cypionate as it seems the most realiable and cheap (assuming I can self administer).

I understand that you guys need allot more information from tests but this is all I got right now, and likely for a while until I see the endo. Still thought it might be valuable to get some input from you guys on what I should/could be doing right now and how to mentally frame what the future may hold during this journey.

Thanks for any advice you guys could give as I likely ruminate and obsess during this interval between this first test and more meaningful diagnosis.
Thanks to anyone who spent time to look at this.
Tldr: looking for advice. Felt a lack of pleasure and motivation with life for a long time, always thought it was just a me issue, 184 total test might be the answer I've been looking for. Have some questions for those who have gone down this road before me!


24 year old here, too. Glad you made it here!

I wouldn’t put too much weight on your endo appointment. The endo I saw (at a place which is supposed to be considered amazing) told me I should be on test at 100mg/2 weeks. Given the half life of T this is complete bullshit.

I recommend naturopaths with open minds where you can present your well-reasoned case and get the treatment you need (protocol for injections thread).


  • more energy
  • more focus
  • more dopamine
  • all your sexual stuff will improve
  • your motivation will (probably) improve
  • your self-confidence and sociability will improve
  • you’ll feel a lot better than you do now


  • if you have the balding gene prepare to lose lots of hair (this was a big negative for me)
  • TRT is expensive unless you can get everything covered by insurance (I was able to get HCG covered but my fridge killed a couple vials and I had to buy new vials out of pocket which where $75).
  • you have to inject yourself pretty frequently (not as bad as what I first thought. Also protip: you can order #29 1/2 cc 1/2" insulin syringes online - much better than asking at pharmacies where you’ll get treated weird because you’re young)
  • HCG has to be kept in a fridge so you’ll have to figure out how to hide it from your roommates (minifridge - but get a fridge thermometer to ensure it’s between 36-43 degrees). And if you travel be prepared to face difficulties of your syringes and your medication and your HCG (again, needing to be kept cool [it dies really easily!!]).
  • You may not be able to get off it when you’re on it. TRT shuts down the pituitary signaling the testes to make sperm/testosterone. This HPTA axis may wake up once you’ve put it to sleep. SO THINK ABOUT GETTING ON TRT BEFORE YOU DO.

KSMan is the resident expert. He will ask you about thyroid and body temperatures and you may wonder why some guy would ask you about your thyroid when you’re on a testosterone forum but I’d listen to him. Maybe you can correct your thyroid problem before getting on TRT.

You’re big and if you snore you may have sleep apnea. Even if you don’t snore. Maybe look into it.

But overall sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with these symptoms for so long. You may just be getting your silver bullet :slight_smile:


Thanks for reading and for the good information! I have come to the understanding that I should be wary of what endos May advise. It’s really great to get some feedback, I’ve let all of this bounce back in forth in my head for the last month and it’s nice to put it out there.

I also got my thyroid checked during this first blood test. The thyroid came back perfectly fine, my PCP just said they look great, I don’t have the numbers. Also I do not have sleep apnea, dont snore much. ( at least my last long term girlfriend nor any one else has ever mentioned it).


Nice write up!

So we know that T is low. Now we need to find out why and consider low T a symptom, not the disease. So we need diagnosis.

Need these labs:
LH/FSH - very important
prolactin [now or followup to low LH/FSH], if prolactin elevated use MRI to screen for pituitary adinoma
hematocrit [probably part of CBC]
fasting glucose
fasting cholesterol [can be too low]
AM cortisol
fT4 [please not T3, T4]

Please read these stickies:

  • advice for new guys — need more info about you — note first paragraph

Many here also have low thyroid function and they have low body temperatures. This problem can be caused by not using iodized salt. Sea salt and pink/Celtic salts do not have iodine.
Check oral body temperatures:

  • when you first wake up, should be 97.7-97.8, higher OK, 97.3 is a problem
  • also check for 98.6 mid-afternoon

If not using iodized salt or body temperatures are low, read the thyroid basics sticky


Hey thanks for the response!

I just today got a call from my doc, saying there were a few things he wanted to test before j went to see the endo. I am expecting a call back from him and I’ll ask him do give always these levels. Thank you so much! I’ve seen allot of your posts, and the amount of time and effort you put in to help others is simply awesome. Going above and beyond is an understatement. Hopefully I’ll get back the results soon and I’ll post them here in the next week. This whole forum is such a great resource, I wish I had stumbled upon it earlier.


Hey guys. So I have a mini update but no detailedlab work yet. My tests came into my GP and he left a message saying myranges looked good with a low normal test. I called back and the nurse read me my test as 428 ng/dl with a lab range of 350ng/dl - 1197ng/dl (LAB CORE). I tried to be as well rested as possible and healthy the week before the test, and it was done first thing in the morning after 8 hours of sleep, something that I usually dont manage due to life and school. He sounded satisfied with the number, I am not sure what he’s going to say when I talk to him, but inflection implied that I don’t need to pursue this issue anymore. FSH, E2, LSH

So my question is, is a low normal level evidence that testosterone is not my issue. I started down this road because the symptoms just made too much sense to me and a level of 184ng/dl coincided with what I had expected. As I have looked through forums, it seems to me that it is common for people to pursue this path because they are looking for a quick fix to something. I am wondering whether I might be the same, but I am not sure I am satisfied with accepting that I am at proper ranges given this round of results. I have read in several places that people with androgen deficiency sometimes test normal. I distinctly remember feeling pretty good the day I got these tests, while I remember feeling pretty bad the day I got the 184 level. ( low energy/ hazy/depressed/ trouble concentration). Again the 184 test was in the late afternoon, while this was in the morning, so it’s likely it was much higher in the morning.

I have read that it is common for men with test deficiency to occasionally have low normal ranges, but that that should not imply they are all around normal. At age 24 being barely above normal of all men ever seems like something I shouldn’t just be satisfied with, especially given I had a strikingly low test. This seems indicative of a hormone imbalance. It has occurred to me that I had gotten it in my head that this would be a quick fix, and evidence to support that my (perceived) problem is not related to this is frustrating. It’s like I had become attached to the this being my probably got ahead of myself. I was hoping you guys could give me a clear perspective.

I have read forums of people purposely lowering their test to be eligible for treatment and stuff, but I wanted an honest baseline. This is as honest as a baseline I think I will have, and honestly I have a feeling this is about as high as my levels are, but in the end that’s all I’m working with. Feeling.

Should I be happy with this? What should I tell me Doctor? Where should I go from here. I’ll post the full tests in a few days. Thanks again guys!


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