Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays important roles in the body. Though produced in both men and women, it is considered to be the “male hormone” and is found in much higher concentrations in men. It is responsible for many of the secondary characteristics in men like a deep voice and chest hair. It also regulates many aspects of daily life. Optimal testosterone levels have both physical and psychological benefits.
Testosterone helps maintain a number of important bodily functions, including sex drive, sperm production, muscle and bone mass, and fat distribution. Because testosterone affects so many things, its decrease can have a significant impact. Unfortunately, testosterone production typically decreases as you get older beginning at around age 30.
Common causes of low testosterone in men include chronic health conditions like diabetes, pituitary gland problems, or genetic disorders. Other causes include trauma to the testes or steroid use that actually prevent the testes from producing testosterone. Factors that may contribute to low testosterone include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, alcohol and drug use, and certain prescription medication.
Lower testosterone levels are associated with a poorer quality of life and men with low testosterone can experience a variety of symptoms. Effects include decreased muscle and bone mass, increased body fat, loss of aerobic capacity, extreme fatigue, mood changes such as decreased energy and increased irritability, loss of competitive drive, and hair loss. In addition, because testosterone fuels a man’s sex drive, if he is low on testosterone, he will likely become less interested in having sex. Many men believe that their loss of interest in sex is simply due to getting older; however, a reduced desire for sex and fewer erections are also a sign of low testosterone.
Proper diagnosis of low testosterone is important since many of the symptoms can be indicative of other medical problems. A functional medicine doctor will diagnose low testosterone based on a physical exam, a review of symptoms, and blood tests. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, all types of testosterone should be measured, including total, free, and bio-available, as well as estrogen and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. Treatment includes restoring declining levels through the use of Bioidential Hormone Replacement Therapy. Types of treatments include topical creams, pellets that are inserted under the skin that slowly release testosterone, and subcutaneous or intramuscular injections. Once treatment begins, noticeable improvements usually occur within a few weeks. Continuous treatment and monitoring is required to maintain optimal levels.
Dr. Jim Gruber at J. Gruber Health Solutions has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating men with low testosterone. We offer individualized health plans and a variety of bioidential hormone treatments to help restore your levels and maintain optimal wellness. Contact us today at 303-746-1964!