Testosterone therapy is prescribed for many reasons, but many men are reluctant to talk about their biggest fears and anxieties— even to their doctor.
When David (not his real name) met with his Miami doctor, he seemed uncertain how to respond to the doctor’s questions. « How am I doing? » he repeated. « Well, I don’t seem to have much energy. I have trouble sleeping at night. I feel flabby but I don’t have the time or energy to go to the gym . . . . »
The doctor cut him short. « How’s the sex life? »
Only then did David open up. « Lousy, » he said.
David had been having problems in the bedroom for over a year, but it took a few visits before the doctor was told about his most pressing complaint, the one that prompted him to seek medical advice. After he was prescribed testosterone therapy, David wondered why in the world it had taken him so long.
As many as 13 million men are believed to be affected by low T, as it’s called— including 2.4 million men in their 40s. The decline in hormone production is a natural result of aging, but it can be exacerbated by stress, lack of physical activity, insomnia or poor diet. Doctors call this phase of a man’s life, when he begins to notice his manhood ebbing away, andropause.
The so-called male hormones (in truth, both genders have varying amounts of male and female hormones) are necessary for bodily strength, energy and sexual vitality. The bad news is that andropause is inevitable. The good news is that it can be treated with testosterone therapy.
Restoring Vitality with Testosterone Therapy
Hormones have a profound effect on many bodily functions, as well as mood and memory. Some of the symptoms of low T (testosterone deficiency) include:
- decreased muscle mass
- lack of energy
- low sperm count
- weak orgasms
- difficulty maintaining an erection
- loss of body hair
- reduced sexual desire
In addition, a number of diseases and conditions are linked with low T (also called hypogonadism): obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia (high concentration of fats in the blood), osteoporosis, and COPD (lung obstruction). Doctors are not sure whether low T is a consequence of these diseases or a cause of them, but in any case the symptoms can be managed with testosterone therapy.
Beating Andropause with Testosterone Therapy
Medical science has come a long way since a German zookeeper noticed, more than 100 years ago, that castrated roosters lost interest in fighting, crowing and breeding. Today’s testosterone therapy begins with a physical exam. A sample of blood is drawn and sent to the lab, where it is analyzed for various hormones. If the patient is found to have low T, the doctor may prescribe testosterone therapy.
In David’s case, he had a total testosterone level of 350ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre)— well below the 600 average for a man between the ages of 45 and 55. His doctor started him on a testosterone therapy regimen. A few weeks later, David strolled into the Miami clinic with a big smile on his face. Even the receptionist noticed the difference.
Because testosterone levels fluctuate (released in about six spurts over the course of a typical daily cycle), it’s good to consult with a medical professional before embracing testosterone therapy. The doctor will take into account an individual’s general health— diabetics, for instance, tend to have lower testosterone than healthy men— and prescribe the dosage that’s appropriate to a man’s age and condition.
The story of David is far from unique. Low T is common and it’s treatable with testosterone therapy. These days, it’s a wonder that so many men are walking around feeling like they are over the hill, when they could just be approaching the summit.