What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a vital hormone in males that impacts a variety of bodily functions, including strength, muscle mass, body fat, body hair, sex drive, and sperm count. All of these can be impacted when testosterone drops below an optimal level.
Unfortunately for men, the risk of low testosterone increases with age. David Paolone, MD, an urologist at UW Health’s Men’s Health Clinic estimates that 12% of men in their 50’s, 19% of of men in their 60’s, 28% of men in their 70’s, and 49% of men in their 80’s are suffering from Low Testosterone.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone (typically referred to as Low-T) include decreased labido, decreased erection quality, loss of body hair, low bone density, and poor muscle retention with adequate workouts. This in turn leads to mood changes, depression, fatigue, skin changes, decreased bone density, and an increased risk of late-onset hypogonadism.
Why Does a Proper Testosterone Level Matter for Male Health?
Low testosterone levels could be a sign of pituitary gland problems*. The pituitary gland sends a signaling hormone to the testicles to produce more testosterone.
Abnormally high levels of testosterone could be the result of an adrenal gland disorder, or even cancer of the testes.
High testosterone levels may also occur in less serious conditions. For example, congenital adrenal hyperplasia*, which can affect males and females, is a rare but natural cause for elevated testosterone production.
Why does testosterone health matter to female health?
Having an optimal testosterone level in females helps with labido, energy levels, and metabolism.
What are the common signs that you could be suffering from low-t?
Low levels of testosterone, can produce a variety of symptoms in men, including:
- decreased sex drive
- less energy
- weight gain
- feelings of depression
- low self-esteem
- less body hair
- thinner bones
Testosterone levels decline steadily in adult women, however, low T levels can also produce a variety of symptoms, including:
- low libido
- reduced bone strength
- poor concentration
What long term health issues could occur if low-t isn’t addressed?
While testosterone production naturally tapers off as a man ages, other factors can cause hormone levels to drop.
Injury to the testicles and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation can negatively affect testosterone production.
Chronic health conditions and stress can also reduce testosterone production. Some of these include:
- Kidney Disease
- Cirrhosis of the Liver
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Chronic Opioid Use
Low T levels in women can be caused by removal of the ovaries as well as diseases of the pituitary, hypothalamus, or adrenal glands.
How to naturally improve testosterone levels
Lifting weights and working out, tracking your macronutrients, vitamins and minerals specifically Vitamin D.
Avoiding things like soy products (for men) which mimic estrogen.
How Medical Testosterone Therapy Works?
You may be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy if Low-T is interfering with your health and quality of life. Testosterone can be administered orally, through injections, subcutaneous pellets or with gels/skin patches. If you don’t have a medical condition that’s contributing to your decline in testosterone levels, your doctor might suggest natural ways to boost testosterone, such as losing weight and increasing muscle mass through resistance exercise prior to offering HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
Of critical importance is that if hormone therapy is initiated is should be done with a complete understanding of your overall health to include cardiovascular health/endocrine health Heart disease has been #1 for mortality in the United States since approximately 1935 and to be on HRT without a thorough and advanced cardiac evaluation is short sided in my opinion.
At LFMUC we question and screen for any/all causes that may be contributing to symptoms of Low-T and then take a global approach at solving the problem. It is our goal to prevent disease in our pt population while optimizing in areas we are safely able to do so.