Men’s Hormonal Health
Testosterone in males is produced in the testes. Testosterone deﬁciency arises when the testes fail to produce enough testosterone. Male testosterone levels normally decline with age. However, hypogonadism, is a disorder in which a man will not produce enough testosterone even adjusted for his age.
Most men are aware that testosterone plays an important role in regulating the male sex drive, supports the development of sperm (thus supporting fertility), and developing male sex characteristics. What most people are not aware of is the integral role that testosterone plays on all organ systems including the heart, the brain, the bones, the liver, the kidney, the skin and interactions with other hormone systems.
Symptoms of testosterone deﬁciency may be very vague and not clearly identiﬁed by an individual as being related to testosterone.
Symptoms of Testosterone Deﬁciency:
- Decreased energy
- Depressed mood
- Decreased enjoyment of life
- Feeling sad or grumpy
- Loss of muscle mass and strength
- Decreased facial and body hair
- Difficulty maintaining erection
- Loss of sex drive
- Diminished work performance
There are Several Causes of Testosterone Deﬁciency:
- Impaired testicular function: Health care professionals will refer to this as primary hypogonadism or testicular failure. There is decreased production of hormone in the testes. There are many associated conditions related to impaired production of hormones on this level. There may be nutritional depletion, reduced blood ﬂow, trauma, infections, toxin exposures, effects of medications, substance use/abuse, and more. It is imperative to also consider the complex web of other hormones on production.
- Impaired pituitary or hypothalamic function: Health care professionals will refer to this as secondary hypogonadism. This condition arises when the brain glands that regulate hormone production are not functioning properly.
Testosterone deﬁciencies are seen commonly in patients with the following conditions. Balanced Well-Being Healthcare recommends that patients with any of the following disorders have testosterone levels checked.
Conditions Related to Low Testosterone Levels:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Chronic pain treated with opioids
- Metabolic syndrome
- Chronic Inﬂammatory Diseases–arthritis, colitis, autoimmunity
- Alcohol abuse
- Chronic infection
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cancer of the prostate
Common Medications & Substances Related to Testosterone Deﬁciencies:
- Blood pressure medications, especially beta blockers
- Cholesterol lowering medications (Statins, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Pravachol)
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs: Ibuprofen, NSAIDS, Aleve, Motrin
- Acid blocker medications (Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac)
Testosterone Deﬁciency is Easily Diagnosed!
Blood tests to assess testosterone levels along with other hormones that are directly related will include:
- Free and total testosterone levels, DHEA, thyroid panel, vitamin D levels, Estradiol, FSH, LH, nutritional evaluation when appropriate, adrenal testing when appropriate, prostate evaluation with PSA screening and cardio-metabolic evaluation to assess for underlying metabolic syndrome.
- If testosterone levels are found to be low the underlying or more “upstream “ cause is considered in depth. There will be replacement of precursors, nutrients, and other hormones prior to initiating testosterone replacement if appropriate. Keep in mind every person requires a unique evaluation. Testosterone levels can be boosted and supported with herbs, glandular support, and nutrients initially.
- If testosterone replacement is initiated I usually recommend replacement in the form of a topical gel. If fertility is the issue then other treatments may be considered.
When testosterone treatment is initiated, follow-up clinical exams and blood tests are important. Levels of testosterone, estradiol, PSA , blood counts and other markers will be evaluated. If you are struggling, you need a doctor who can diagnose and treat hormonal issues. The road to a healthy and vibrant life can start with a single click! Contact Balanced Well-Being Healthcare of Fort Collins today to schedule your initial consultation today!