For men over the age of 45, low testosterone is a fairly common problem. In fact, around 40 percent of men in this age group have low testosterone. Often, it explains why they are experiencing low energy and an overall lack of “mojo.” Other symptoms include a decrease in libido, muscle mass, erections and exercise stamina, as well as fatigue and difficulties with concentration. Often, these symptoms can overlap with depression.
Awareness for low testosterone is growing, and society is becoming more comfortable talking about it. We now see TV commercials for different treatments and therapies – even during the Super Bowl. It’s important for men to know the signs and symptoms and to talk openly about them with their doctors. With the correct diagnosis and physician-guided replacement therapy, men with low testosterone can typically feel like themselves again within a week or two.
Testosterone levels generally do not change over time, but if they do, a pituitary problem could be the culprit – in short, the pituitary gland is not secreting the correct signals to the testicles. Alternatively, the testicles may not be functioning optimally. A simple blood test can reveal that a man’s testosterone level is low.
A typical patient with low testosterone is male, in his 50s, overweight and has high blood pressure and/or diabetes. Some patients ask, “What can I do, naturally, to help bring my testosterone level back to normal?” Weight loss does help, but this can be a difficult cycle. Most men with low testosterone don’t have enough stamina to do the exercise needed to help lose the weight. Therefore, one of three types of replacement therapies can be used:
1. A transdermal gel applied daily to the skin
2. A weekly hormone injection
3. A pellet that is inserted under the skin and dissolves over the next three to four months
After four weeks, many men tell us that treatment has been life changing. Not only do they have more energy and stamina and a boost in their libido, but many men with diabetes also find it easier to manage their blood sugar. Important to note – we do have to be cautious in treating elderly men with heart conditions, and by no means is treatment a “fountain of youth.” However, for most patients, urologists like myself really can make a difference in their lives and the way that they feel on a daily basis.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Wake Specialty Physicians – Urology Practice, located in north Raleigh off Falls of Neuse Road, at (919) 350-1570.
Dr. Sam Chawla is a urologist with Wake Specialty Physicians – Urology Practice. Click to view a video featuring Dr. Chawla as he discusses the signs, symptoms and treatments associated with low testosterone.