What is Low Testosterone (Low T)?
The issue of low testosterone is the significant impact this has on important areas of men's health. This is a very HOT topic now as it should be. Testosterone (T), the male hormone or chemical in the bloodstream provides a lot of what makes us MEN in the physical and mental sense. (Women have testosterone too at a much lower level). A normal part of aging is a decline in Testosterone levels starting at around age 50 so it's worth discussing.
Testosterone is a vital element in men's health that is associated with the following facts:
- Contributes to normal sex drive and erectile function
- Help maintain normal muscle size and strength
- Contribute to normal bone growth and strength
- Is associated with a sense of well being and mood
- Is necessary for Sperm Production
When T levels decline, all of these areas can be affected. So how do you know if you have low T? Common symptoms of Low T are ED, decreased sex drive, fatigue, feeling unmotivated, memory changes, loss of muscle mass and increased belly fat (spare tire) and an increased risk of mortality due to heart disease.
Treating Low T:
Low T is quite treatable and correctable through treatments commonly referred to as "T Replacement Therapy". There a number of ways to accomplish this: topical medication, injections, implantable pellets. Unfortunately there are no oral Testosterone medications as they have been found to be toxic to the liver. All of these are good options and should be discussed with a doctor who is experienced in diagnosing and treating low T. The biggest mistakes I find are not interpreting the Testosterone levels correctly and not increasing the levels sufficiently with medication to correct the symptoms of Low T.
Once T levels are back in the normal range there is an obvious improvement in the way men feel. Sex drive and energy levels are increased, erections improve, muscle mass increases. There are also the benefits of improving bone health, metabolic functions (such as improved diabetic control, adiposity or fat levels), improved cardiovascular health and a reduction in the risk of Dementia.
Are there Risks of T Replacement?
T replacement has been shown to be quite safe but close monitoring by a physician is essential. While T replacement will not cause Prostate Cancer it could stimulate hidden cancer by raising PSA levels. PSA is the blood used to help detect prostate cancer in men. If this rises to an abnormal level while on T replacement a prostate biopsy should be performed. This happens to a a small number of men on T replacement. A small number of men may experience hair loss, breast enlargement, leg swelling or a rise in Red Blood Cell count, all of which are treatable and reversible.
To find out if you have low testosterone, ask your doctor to obtain a simple blood measuring your Free and Total Testosterone levels. For more information, counseling or treatment of Low T you can schedule a consultation with me by calling 215-563-1199.