Men & Hormones
Men can experience an imbalance in any number of hormones, while declining testosterone levels are the most common and can have the biggest impact, it is important to know that other hormones can play a role for men. Your medical provider must look for hormonal abnormalities beyond just testosterone including estrogen, thyroid levels, sex hormone-binding globulin, DHEA and, cortisol.
Hormonal fluctuations can occur at any age and levels will steadily decline with age. Commonly, most men begin to experience symptoms around middle age, hence the term “andropause”, coined after a similar experience in women-menopause. While low testosterone levels are frequently talked about occurring in middle-aged men, it is important to know that symptoms can begin at any age, some men will begin to experience symptoms as young as in their 20’s. Testosterone levels typically decline by 2% every year, meaning that by the time a man is in his 70’s he has a third of the testosterone he did in his 20’s. Most men will begin to have noticeable symptoms when their testosterone levels reach about 500 ng/dl. The lower that testosterone value declines, the greater frequency and intensity of symptoms.
Symptoms Associated with Low Testosterone
- Fatigue or lack of motivation
- Weight gain
- Increased fat deposition, particularly in the mid-section with little to no change to diet or exercise
- Poor focus or lack of concentration, a.k.a. “brain fog”
- Memory loss
- Muscle loss
- Joint pain
- Poor sleep
- Gynecomastia or breast development in men
- Decreased libido or sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased in erection strength and endurance
- Mood changes
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
Most often it is easy to dismiss the symptoms as “life,” relating them to stress at work or home or in your relationships, or frankly, just being busy. Other times, the symptoms are vague and non-specific and get attributed to other chronic health conditions. However, what we don’t realize is when these hormones are at adequate levels and balanced, we decrease our risk of certain diseases such as heart attack and stroke, as well as halt the aging process. We do ourselves a great disservice by not addressing symptoms and seeking appropriate care for the hormonal imbalances, we don’t allow optimal health and living.
Benefits from Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Hormonal Balance
- Increased energy
- Healthy weight control
- Reduction in body fat
- Increase in muscle tone and strength
- Increased libido and sexual performance
- Increase in bone density
- Decreased joint pain
- Improved sleep
- Better focus and concentration
- Improved mood
- Less depression and anxiety
Testosterone replacement in men is not only safe but effective, having a positive outcome on the health of men. While there are many options including creams, patches, pills, injections and pellets to treat low testosterone levels, not all methods nor providers are created equal. Conventional or “boxed” methods to not provide the tailored treatment necessary for achieving and maintaining your health and your goals.
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Male Hormone Treatment Options
Treatment at Re-New Institute provides you with a plan that customized to your goals, your health and your desires. We understand that a one-size-fits-all method is not ideal for optimal health and that you may require a combination of therapies to reach your objectives. While keeping in mind that there may be more than one puzzle piece beyond hormones to the greater picture, such as dietary modifications and exercise, supplements, peptide therapy or others to support the recommendations for optimal living. Simply put, your plan is designed to fit you.
Your treatment plan will encompass:
- A consultation with a Re-new physician specializing in hormone replacement
- Thorough history and physical, including medications
- Advanced lab testing
- Detailed review of lab data
- Education on treatment options available
- Determination of optimal treatment based on your goals and objectives
- Lifestyle modification and stress management plans
- Routine follow ups
- Regular access to physician for questions and concerns
- Revisiting and maintenance of goals
What are the causes of low testosterone?
The causes of low testosterone can be numerous and often not the result of a single one. Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age and most men will become symptomatic by the time they near a level of 500 ng/dL. Some common causes of low T include aging, testicular injury or trauma including infection, obesity, certain medications, alcohol or drug abuse, history of anabolic steroid use, pituitary abnormalities such as a tumor, sleep apnea, history of trauma including head trauma, chronic kidney or liver disease, type 2 Diabetes, history of testicular cancer or treatment for, HIV/AIDS, amongst others.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone?
Often the symptoms of low testosterone are written off as normal aging or a busy/stressful life. For this reason, they can often be ignored or not realized as a true medical condition. The symptoms also frequently go on much longer because they can be vague in nature. Some symptoms of low testosterone include decreased energy, no motivation, lack of focus/concentration or “brain fog”, decreased sexual drive, decreased erection strength and endurance, joint pain, loss of muscle tone and strength, weight gain or an inability to lose weight, moody, crabby and irritable, and restless sleep.
How do I know if I am a candidate for testosterone replacement?
At Re-new, our hormone replacement specialists will have a conversation with you about your history, medications you’re taking, your symptoms and goals. In combination, with some bloodwork, we will be able to determine your specific health plan to get you back to feeling like you.
What methods are available to replace testosterone?
Bio-identical hormone replacement is the most recommended form of testosterone replacement because it is made specifically to be identical to the testosterone naturally produced by your body. While creams and gels are an option for testosterone replacement, they are not as highly recommended due to their difficulty to greatly improve levels and symptoms as well as their transferability. The most common types of testosterone replacement available at Re-new are injections and pellet therapy, although all forms are available. Our goal is to provide you with all the treatment options available as well as education on the various types, so that treatment is designed for you, your life and your needs.
How long does it take to notice improvements once I start testosterone replacement?
Some patients will notice improvements as soon as the first week of treatment, others may take several weeks. We recommend a trial of 6-12 months for maximum benefit and determination of symptoms improvement. Which symptoms improve first are highly specific to the individual. Our physicians will work with you to optimize your results and help you meet your goals.
What are the benefits to testosterone replacement therapy?
The goal to replacement therapy is to improve the symptoms you presented with which may have include improved energy, more motivation, better sleep, more desire for your partner, stronger, longer erections, weight loss, increased muscle tone and strength, enhanced focus and concentration, decreased joint pain, better mood and less anxiety. Testosterone replacement can also increase bone density giving you stronger bones. It has also been shown to decrease your risk of dying from any cause, enhancing health and longevity.
What are the side effects to testosterone replacement therapy?
While the side effects are specific to each individual, they are often rare and manageable. They can be managed with dosing adjustments, over the counter therapies and sometimes simply with increased water intake. Some of the common side effects include acne, elevated red blood cell count or hemoglobin level, elevated blood pressure, increased estrogen leading to hot flashes, night sweats, bloating, poor sleep, irritability or changes in erections. It is important that your testosterone replacement program is designed for you and managed by a physician specializing in hormone replacement.
Will I need to be on treatment for the rest of my life?
Unfortunately, medicine has not figured out the magic switch to turn back on testosterone production. For some men the answer to the question is yes but for others with weight loss or dietary changes, they can improve their levels to a point that symptoms are manageable without treatment. Others will take “hormone holidays.” Meaning that they will be on therapy for a time period and then under the guidance of a physician, take a break until symptoms return and resume therapy.
What is a “normal” testosterone level?
Normal is variable depending on the lab service the physician is using and is a wide range. Often times spanning anywhere from 250 ng/dL to 1100 ng/dL. This vast difference is often why many men are told that their level is “normal” despite them having all or most of the symptoms of deficiency. Optimal depends on the individual but is typically between 600-1000 ng/dL. Every male has a level where they feel their best and the closer you are to that number the better you will feel, and conversely the lower that testosterone level gets, the more pronounced your symptoms. Call Re-new today to schedule your free consultation and find out if testosterone is your missing puzzle piece.
Do over the counter medications work to increase testosterone levels?
Unfortunately, the simple answer is no. At least not to the level that most men need for symptom relief. DHEA is a supplement that is a precursor or building block to testosterone. It can raise testosterone levels some but often functions better as a support to testosterone replacement therapy. Most of the over the counter or online testosterone “boosters” have DHEA as well as B vitamins to help increase energy. Testosterone is a controlled substance and should only be prescribed and managed by a licensed physician with knowledge in testosterone replacement.
Does insurance cover testosterone replacement therapy?
There are many variables that influence this answer such as the specific insurance you have, your deductible, your bloodwork results and your symptoms as well as the type of testosterone replacement. The best way to find out is to schedule a consultation at Re-new today!