Feeling sluggish, no energy, can’t be bothered to go for that run? These symptoms could be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Sleep apnea, low thyroid, and low testosterone (T) could all be the cause and without proper diagnosis, it could possibly get worse. If you lack the zest you used to have you are more likely to make bad lifestyle choices, have that extra beer, have that extra-large burger, and skip the gym. All decisions which further down the road may cause significant health problems, such as high cholesterol and diabetes.
Testosterone is the primary male hormone and plays a hugely important role in the development of many organs, including the male sexual organs, prostate, muscle, bone, and hair. T is produced in both men and women but the role it plays in male development is crucial. T kick starts all the male characteristics in the womb particularly the development of the penis and testicles. Then later in life during puberty with the development of a deeper voice, pubic, and facial hair.
There are times during your life where T production peaks, particularly as you develop from a boy to a man, but often later in life T production slows. 20% of men over 60 have what is commonly called clinical “Low T” and around 30% in their 70’s to 80’s. However, men can display symptoms of low testosterone at any age, and doing a trial of replacement therapy may provide benefits for them.
What are the Symptoms of Decreased Testosterone?
If you are suffering any of the following symptoms you may suffering from T deficiency and be a good candidate for therapy.
- Mental Fog: Cognitive function, notably memory decline with age.
- Decreased Sex Drive: Many men experience a decreased libido as they get older, this is normal. However, because testosterone is so vital in maintaining libido, if you suffer a drastic fall in sex drive this could well be caused by reduced T levels and therapy could be the answer.
- Erectile Dysfunction: T does help fire up your sex drive and also assists in the process of getting and keeping an erection. T helps your body to produce Nitric oxide which in turn kick starts a chemical chain reaction that enables you to get and maintain an erection.
- Low Semen Production: Semen is the substance that sperm is carried in and helps get your swimmers to where they need to be. Many men suffering from reduced T report a decrease in volume during ejaculation.
- Hair Loss: Hair loss may, of course, be hereditary but because T plays a role in hair production if levels are low you may experience hair loss on your head as well as your body.
- Tiredness: A common symptom of reduced T is a lack of energy and extreme fatigue. If you can’t be bothered to exercise and feel tired all the time, even after a great night’s sleep. Then reduced T may well be the problem.
- Increased body fat: One symptom can be a noticeable increase in body fat.
- Increased visceral fat: This is a symptom you cannot see, fat which surrounds your organs. Increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
- Gynecomastia: (Man Boobs/Moobs) This occurs when there is a lack of T and estradiol (the primary female hormone). This causes the body to develop more female traits such as breasts.
- Loss of muscle: Testosterone plays a huge part in building muscles. Not necessarily the strength or function but the general mass of your muscles. Many men report that after TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) a notable increase in muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.
- Shrinking testicles: This can be caused by other medical issues but reduced testosterone can play a part. Because the body needs testosterone to develop these organs, low levels could mean smaller testes as well as decreased sperm production.
- Anemia: Doctors have discovered that when prescribing T gel to anemic men that their blood count improved. Symptoms of anemia can be problematic such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, and problems sleeping.
Why is Lower Testosterone a Problem?
Clinical Low Testosterone (male hypogonadism) is more common in older men, but younger guys can also experience “Reduced T” symptoms, these are often caused by lifestyle choices or illness. If you suffer from “Low T” long-term it can have serious effects on the body, for example very low levels can cause a weakness in your bones commonly known as osteoporosis, its can cause heart problems, obesity and depression. Low T has also been linked to longevity, to put it simply men with T levels that fall below the normal range often die earlier than those with normal levels.
What Causes Reduced Testosterone?
Lifestyle factors include
- Being obese or overweight causes T levels to nosedive due to the estradiol produced not by testosterone aromatization but fat aromatization. As a result, the elevated estradiol from the fat negatively feeds back on the production of T from the testes.
- Too much alcohol: Alcohol can affect testosterone production in many ways especially alcohol abuse which also damages the liver
- Lack of quality sleep
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
There also medical conditions that can reduce T levels such as.
- Treatment for cancer such as radiation and chemotherapy
- Liver disease
- Hypothalamic or pituitary disease or cancer
- Injuries to the testicles (Rare)
- Inherited conditions such as Down syndrome amongst others
How are Testosterone Issues Diagnosed?
The best way to diagnose any testosterone issues is with a ‘Doctor Assessment,’ they will look at your symptoms and through their experience will know the signs. Then a simple blood spot test will confirm hormone levels so a bespoke treatment plan can be devised.
Your levels do fluctuate during the day but are usually highest in the morning. However, there are no studies that state definitively when the best time to test testosterone is. Testicular hypofunction which is a disease defined by medicine is diagnosed by a total T level that is less than 300. However, men can still have signs and symptoms of low testosterone at levels higher than this. Those men are typically treated off-label with T to see if those symptoms are improved.
Can You Diagnose Testosterone Problems With an Online Assessment?
There is no way an accurate assessment can be made purely online. An online consultation will allow the doctor to assess your symptoms on an individual basis. However, to create an effective treatment plan a blood test will be required. The best way to test testosterone levels is via a blood spot test, these can be done via mail with a simple prick test that you can send to the lab to be analyzed. They will also offer regular testing over a year to see how you have progressed and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
How is Low Testosterone treated?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is commonly used in people with decreased lean body mass, lower sex drive, and fatigue. Testosterone medication is best prescribed as creams or injections to improve symptoms.
You will often see companies selling what is known as ‘Bio-identical’ testosterone. This is simply plant-derived testosterone that is virtually identical to the testosterone that your body produces.
Testosterone injections are one of the more common forms of TRT. Testosterone cypionate is commonly injected via insulin syringe daily to mimic the body’s natural release of T. It can be administered yourself after being shown the ropes by a nurse or your doctor. The dosage depends on varying factors that will be carefully diagnosed by a doctor using blood tests and often a medical questionnaire to assess your suitability for treatment.
Here at Male Excel typical dosage ranges from 0.15ml – 0.5ml daily (potency 200mg per ml). We offer a daily dose using a tiny subcutaneous needle into your fat layer instead of painful injections into the muscle. This is to avoid a spike in testosterone, it is far better to have a steady supply rather than a large dose all at once. The thought of self-administration often puts people off this treatment, in reality, it’s pretty painless, and once you have done it once you soon get used to it.
Testosterone Lipoderm Cream
Testosterone Lipoderm cream is applied to the skin to administer T into your system. It can be used to treat hypogonadism and increase testosterone levels in your body. Typical dosage range from 0.5 ml – 5 ml per day and is delivered in the groin area. With all testosterone creams, certain precautions are vital to ensure cross-contamination doesn’t occur.
Topical Testosterone creams can cause side effects in women, children, and even pets who accidentally come into contact with it. In children, side effects can be serious and include early-onset puberty, aggressiveness, enlarged genitals, excessive hair growth, and acne. And in women, it is particularly dangerous during the third trimester of pregnancy, where it can cause birth defects.
However, by using the correct precautions these risks can be eradicated.
- Do not allow the treated area to come into contact with other people
- Cover the treated area 20 minutes after application
- Don’t allow others to touch clothes or bedding which has come into contact with creams
- Don’t stroke animals after application
- Wash hands thoroughly after application
Should I Use Testosterone Cream or Injections?
Which option is best for you is a tricky question to answer, because there is no definitive answer. Typically, testosterone can be injected once a week, twice a week, or daily but let’s face it injections won’t be for everybody. It can be painful for several days after and can give you a spike in testosterone which diminishes over time, until the next dose. When a smaller dose is injected daily this can help avoid this issue and provide more consistent levels.
Creams can provide high levels of T in an easy to apply form, but here are important transference issues as discussed earlier. You will have to avoid sexual contact if you have applied the cream less than 4 hours prior to sexual activity especially if applied in the groin area as many doctors suggest. You also must make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after each application.
Absorption of the cream also varies from person to person; some will have excellent levels whilst others won’t. So ongoing testing and symptom monitoring are vital to ensure the best results. For those who have poor absorption, injections will be the obvious alternative for treatment.
Does an Underactive Thyroid Affect Testosterone Levels?
Low Testosterone is a commonly diagnosed condition, well documented in the media, and well recognized amongst the male population. However, often men who have been diagnosed with Low T may be suffering from a thyroid problem that has been ignored.
The thyroid produces some of the most important hormones in the human body triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which help regulate your metabolism and give you energy. Low thyroid function often leads to an imbalance in important hormone levels vital to usable testosterone in your system. So, we strongly advise thyroid treatment working in tandem with testosterone.
An underactive thyroid can be caused by a number of conditions such as hyperinsulinemia, obesity, and thyroid disease. Your body then produces less of the protein ‘Sex hormone-binding globulin’ (SHBG) which transports bioavailable (useable) testosterone around your body. This can cause confusion between a diagnosis Low T and under-active thyroid.
A low thyroid level can also affect male fertility, it can increase the size of the testicles, decreasing the number (sperm count) and life span (motility) of the sperm produced. So undiagnosed this can directly reduce your chances of having children.
How Do You Treat Low Thyroid? (Underactive Thyroid)
The usual treatment for an underactive thyroid is a drug called Levothyroxine which is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone T4 which the body transforms into the active T3 hormone. However desiccated thyroid is a natural product that contains T4, T3, small amounts of T1, T2 as well as iodine and calcitonin. Some claim that because of its natural origin, desiccated thyroid mimics real thyroid hormone production much more closely.
Do I need Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If you have read this article and the symptoms seem familiar, certainly you may benefit from an evaluation and hormone therapy. It is important to get the best advice and treatment and then ensure you are getting tested regularly to make sure things are progressing well. Testosterone therapy is proven beneficial to those who do suffer from reduced levels. Also, for those who simply want to attain optimal levels, it can have a beneficial impact on your life as a whole. Increased muscle mass, better erections, more energy, improved weight loss, better concentration, better mood, longer life……. what’s not to love?
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please consult a doctor.