If you are similar to most American men, chances are high you may have experienced at least one of the symptoms featured below. Many of the most persistent symptoms are attributed to hormone imbalance. A customized treatment program can help you achieve harmonious hormones once again.
Andropause, also known as the male menopause, is the result of a gradual drop in testosterone which is an androgen, giving the condition its name. In many cases, bio-identical hormones can be part of the solution. When men get into their early 30s, they begin losing testosterone at a rate of one to two percent a year. According to the US Census Bureau, approximately 4-5 million men have symptoms of low testosterone levels and only 5-10% of these men will seek treatment.
Here is an example from my clinic: E.M., a 48 yr old gentleman, came to see me for advice about his low testosterone level. His endocrinologist who was treating him for diabetes and hypothyroidism, had told him not to worry– it wasn’t “that low”. However, he had read a list of symptoms which he said described him well. He was feeling less strong and his stamina was down. “I used to enjoy my workouts but now I have less interest. Perhaps I’m just getting old.” Upon questioning, he also related less enthusiasm for sexual activity and noted an increase in belly fat which his endocrinologist explained was part of the diabetic metabolic imbalance.
He brought with him the blood tests drawn by his other doctor which did, indeed, indicate a level of free testosterone just under the laboratory range of “normal”. I pointed out to him that the range considered to be normal was based on average values for men in his decade of life. If we compared his value to ideal values, his numbers were very sub-optimal. We drew a few other tests and started him on the hypotestosterone program.
He easily mastered the technique of self administering the testosterone by injection into the hip muscle. By dividing the dose into twice weekly amounts, the injections were smaller and less painful. He was given two other prescription tablets to stimulate the testicles to preserve size and function, as well as to prevent conversion to estrogen.
Blood work was rechecked in 45 days. When I called him to tell him the levels were much improved, I was taken aback by his curt response. “You didn’t tell me the side effects!” However, he went on to explain, “My appetite is down and I have lost 16 pounds! My workout at the gym is picking up and my blood sugars are down to normal. I had to cut back my diabetes medicine…. I think it is criminal my endocrinologist was not willing to address my low testosterone.”
The risks and benefits of testosterone replacement need to be evaluated by a qualified physician. Men vary in anatomy and physiology, so androgen replacement therapy is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment for men with low testosterone who want to boost their health and overall well-being. Perhaps the best news for men is that hormone losses and imbalances are easily correctible. Proper treatment by a qualified physician can bring about a healthier, younger and more vital you.
Simple testing will measure your current hormone levels, at which point a customized treatment can be created to not only adjust your testosterone levels, but other hormones as well. The treatment is paired with an individualized nutrition, supplement and fitness program that will optimize your hormone replacement therapy. Therapy must include consideration for maintaining testicular function including sperm production. If a man wishes to preserve his options for fathering children, certain stimulating hormones will be added to the regimen. Aromatase inhibitors may be added, on an individual basis, to prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. One of the undesired consequences of testosterone replacement can be breast enlargement. The aromatase inhibitors prevent this. Other undesired effects may be accelerated balding. The use of 5’reductase inhibitors prevents the conversion of testosterone to DHT. This blocking action prevents the hair loss and prostate enlargement which might otherwise be problematic.
A well experienced physician will understand how to monitor and treat all these aspects of testosterone replacement. It is not as simple as prescribing a pharmaceutical gel.
Your first visit will be a complete history and physical exam. Prepare for about one hour. Blood and/or saliva tests will be done to evaluate hormone levels. After all results are in, you will have a consultation (in office or by phone) to establish the custom treatment. The hormones and medications will be picked up at my office. (Most of our patients who compare shop have told us our pricing is lower than their direct purchasing at the pharmacy. That is due to our volume discounts.)
After 45 days, you will need to have the hormone levels retested. This will include the estrogen and testosterone levels. Another phone consultation is made to adjust the treatment protocol, if necessary. After that, visits will be made every 6 months. Hormone testing must be at least once a year.
Most men experience significant improvement within a few weeks. Further improvements, such as strength and endurance, will continue to improve over more time.