Christine Farrell MSN, FNP-C | 32144 Agoura Rd., Suite 102, Westlake Village, CA 91361 | (818) 865-8500
MEN'S - BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE THERAPY
THE TESTOSTERONE DILEMMA
Turn on your radio or TV lately and you will likely hear an ad for “low T”! These ads will have you believe that they can fix all that ails you with their magic supplements, but the truth is; only true testosterone replacement can make a difference in your health and well-being.
What are the signs of “low T”? Most men associate a drop in testosterone with changes in libido or sexual function. The truth is that many men experience very low testosterone levels and yet can still have a normal libido. The first symptoms are typically fatigue and joint and muscle aches as well as a decrease in overall muscle mass. These are usually ignored as the typical signs of aging and aren’t treated. Depression and lack of passion for life is another common complaint and can actually affect a man’s job performance and overall feelings of productiveness and happiness. Some men will experience a change in sleep patterns and develop a lighter, more restless sleep or even insomnia. Other men will even have night sweats and the equivalent to hot flashes in females. Libido can definitely be affected, as can erectile function, but it isn’t the primary issue in many men.
There are changes in health that are less recognized as being related to low testosterone by patients and providers alike such as: elevated cholesterol and/or poor lipid ratios, increased blood glucose levels, osteopenia/osteoporosis, skin and hair issues and sleep disturbances.
Testosterone becomes depleted due to aging, but even more so in our society, due to excessive stress. Low T is affecting men at a much younger age than ever before due to the severe increase in chronic stress in our society. As mentioned above, this leads to health issues and a decrease in general well-being.
Much research has been done in regards to prostate cancer and testosterone and the outcomes have shown that testosterone does not cause prostate cancer and will not increase your chance of developing it, but if you do develop it, it can grow more rapidly. It is for this reason that all men must have frequent PSA testing done (prostate specific antigen) as well as a yearly digital exam while on testosterone.
Treatment is simple and effective. A consultation to establish symptoms, history, etc is done and laboratory testing is ordered to check actual levels of testosterone and the hormones that affect it. Many general practitioners will say that if a man’s testosterone levels are “in range” then he is fine. This is not the case and the range of normal is vast and each patient should be treated based on symptoms, age and relative levels. As described in “The Testosterone Syndrome” by Dr Eugene Shippen, the implant form of testosterone is the most effective and most natural to the body’s own hormonal production. The pellets last 6 months and require no daily maintenance. Higher, more consistent levels are achieved in this manner. Topical testosterone is also a great option and many men feel great with this form of therapy. In a few cases, the absorption through the skin may not be ideal and it can be transferrable to another person, ie; children when exposed can have abnormal bone growth. While many other forms of testosterone have become available on the market recently, few are very effective and many have extensive side effects. It is for this reason that the above forms are recommended and used in our practice.
So, if the symptoms of “low T” are affecting your life, then it is time to make the right choice and seek treatment – for your health, happiness and well-being.