Hey there Guys,
Could you be suffering from male menopause?
Been feeling a bit slow? Low in energy? A decrease in sex drive? Depressed?
Today I wanted to talk about these symptoms and how they can been connected to low testosterone levels, or what the media likes to call, the male menopause or andropause.
Unlike menopause in women, testosterone levels can slowly decline over years leaving guys with vague symptoms that many men attribute to simply getting older.
While it’s agreed that testosterone does in fact decline as we get older, Andrology Australia reports up to 1 in 200 men under the age of 60 suffer with lower than expected levels of testosterone. Sadly many of these men get missed in the medical system when simple treatments may have been able to help bring back vigor, strength and sexual drive.
Before I go on let’s talk a little about testosterone.
What is testosterone and what does it do?
Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is produced in the testes.
Testosterone is well known to responsible for sex drive, sperm production and the common male characteristics such as increased muscle mass and body hair. However we are now learning that it does much more.
Some of the other roles of testosterone include:
- Control of bone density and mass
- Control of body metabolism and energy levels
- Control of mood and clarity of thought
- Control of sex drive, ability to get and maintain erections, even volume of semen produced
If there are reduced testosterone levels over a long period of time then the impact can be severe.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone?
The signs that testosterone levels are low can be very subtle, however one of the first indicators might be reduction in sex drive.
Sometimes the only time doctors get to see men is if they are having some “man problems”, you know…”down there”.
The sexual side effects of low testosterone include:
- Poor or non existant erections on waking
- Difficulty getting or maintaining erections
- Reduced sex drive
Other symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Mood changes (low mood and irritability)
- Poor concentration
- Low energy
- Reduced muscle strength
- Weight gain, in particular belly fat
- Insulin resistance and diabetes
- Breast development
- Osteoporosis (thinning of bones)
- Reduced beard or body hair growth
As you can see the symptoms can be varied, which is why it’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.
If not addressed there is a risk of decreased bone density which can lead to fractures, a very bad outcome for something that is very simple to diagnose and treat.
So how are testosterone levels checked?
Checking for low testosterone is very simple. After a detailed conversation with your doctor, they will be able to determine the best tests to check your testosterone levels. For most people this will involve a blood test that is done in the morning. 9am is the best time to check peak level of testosterone.
If the first test shows low levels it will need to be repeated to confirm this.
If both blood tests confirm low testosterone levels your doctor may wish to do some additional testing, such as genetic tests or x-rays of the brain to check the pituatry, a small gland just under the brain.
If my testosterone is low, how is it treated?
There are quite a few ways to treat low testosterone, however they all do the same basic function – replacing the testosterone you are not making.
This can be done via cream applied to the skin on a daily basis, patches, injections and even implants that slowly leech testosterone over a long period of time.
You will be able to discuss with your doctor the best treatment options available.
Does testosterone replacement work?
For many of the men I have treated, testosterone replace works great!
Many report they have increased energy, a return of their sex drive, improved erections and even some weight loss.
With proper monitoring your doctor will be able to find the ideal dose that works for you. This does require some regular checkups to make sure all is going well.
The important thing is to be open and frank with your doctor. We may need to ask some probing questions as part of the process. It’s not to embarrass anyone, just that the information really tells us a lot.
Would you like to learn some more about low testosterone? Feel free to check out this great handout at Andrology Australia.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below.
If you would prefer to ask your questions a little more privately you can contact me via email or if you are in Melbourne have a chat with me at my clinic. Whichever way more then I’m happy to help answer your questions.
Have a great day!
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Pic Credit: CharlesFred