Aging has different effects for all of us, but many men suffer from lowered testosterone as they age. Testosterone is the hormone that makes men traditionally ‘manly.’ Higher testosterone can lead to hair growth, red blood cell production, better moods, and improved libido. Many men who begin to lose their testosterone feel crippling effects, not the least of which are concerns over sexual performance. While sexual matters are usually what tip people off about their lowered testosterone, it could be that decreased testosterone is affecting much more than the lower half of the body. People with lower levels tend to feel less physically and emotionally strong, which affects their standard of living. Fortunately, medical advances have led to the creation of testosterone replacement therapy. A variety of safe, tested methods are now available to help those who are suffering through lowered testosterone, and we got our experts to weigh in on replacement therapy.
There may be many causes of testosterone loss, but the most common one is age. After age 40, men begin to experience a dip in their levels naturally. This dip can be severe or relatively calm but can cause significant side effects. Testosterone can also be lowered in younger men, but it may be caused by habits and particular lifestyles instead of a natural decline. Regardless of age, there are safe methods (including injections, topical creams, and oral medications) that will help raise testosterone levels. When you work with an expert, they will begin by assessing your current testosterone levels. These levels are not measured in the same way that many medical tests are; when you go to the doctor for high blood pressure, you are either over, under, or normal. When you have your testosterone tested, many different factors go into whether or not you are considered within the ‘normal’ range. If you are determined to have lowered testosterone, your doctor will assist with setting up a plan that works with you in both the long and short term.
Once you have begun taking testosterone replacement therapy, you may find the effects to be immediate. Our patients typically report feeling a higher quality of life, improved sexual libido, stronger bone density, and higher red blood cell count. There is evidence it helps improve cognitive ability as well. Testosterone replacement therapy is incredibly non-invasive, and the variety of methods for treating lowered testosterone make it easy to find a treatment plan that you are comfortable with. While not every method might work particularly well (patches, in particular, are, well… patchy in their absorption rate), there’s no reason for you not to be able to find something to help you.
According to WebMD: “Testosterone therapy can raise a man’s risk for blood clots and stroke. ..Uncommon side effects include sleep apnea, acne, and breast enlargement. All such side effects go away if treatment is stopped.”
There are side effects associated with testosterone replacement therapy, but most of them are considered mild compared to the benefits. For example, patches might cause skin irritation or require you to keep the skin site shaved.
Regarding lconcerns about a higher risk of prostate cancer associated with testosterone replacement therapy. According to Harvard Men’s Health Watch, “Some physicians also have a lingering concern that testosterone therapy could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. As with the hypothetical cardiac risks, the evidence is mixed.”
Long-term effects of having reduced testosterone levels will almost certainly be more of an inconvenience, and with the ease and availability of testosterone replacement therapy, there’s no reason not at least to set up an appointment.