Low Testosterone levels, commonly referred to these days as Low T, are a frequent cause of men's sexual dysfunction along with other effects.
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Low sexual desire
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased waist girth
Other less obvious but just as important effects of Low T are osteoporosis, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and even an increased risk of death. Fortunately, Low T is easily diagnosed and treated.
If you have any symptoms of Low T the first action to take is seeing your doctor. They will be able to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, thyroid condition) and check your testosterone levels with a simple blood test. Note that it's important that your doctor interprets your levels correctly. While your level make be technically "normal" based on the ranges listed on the lab report, you may indeed have Low T. Specifically, some lab reports indicate normal levels are anything over 250. But most doctors experienced in diagnosing and treating low testosterone agree that any level under 350 is considered abnormal and should be treated.
There are several ways to increase T levels. And while there are many purported "natural" testosterone boosters, the only reliable way to significantly increase T levels is though prescription medications. Currently the available medications include gels, patches, pellets and injections. These are all self applied (or injected). Oral medications are not available at this time but research on these medications is in progress. The decision as to which of these is best for you can be determined by discussing each one with your doctor. The gels and patches need to be applied daily. Injections are given once weekly and pellets are inserted underneath the skin 3-4 times a year.
If properly used, these medications typically increase your T levels within 2 weeks and an increased libido, energy level and improved sexual function are noticeable. Your levels should be check with a blood test within 6 to 8 weeks of starting the medication. If levels are not satisfactory the medication dosage is increased. If for some reason you're not happy with the chosen form of testosterone replacement it can be switched to another without any consequence.
While the vast majority of men tolerate testosterone replacement very well, there are some possible side effects. These include hair loss, breast enlargement, leg swelling, acne and skin irritation from the topical medications. All of these side effects are reversible and can be dealt with by changing the medication or giving low doses of other medications.
It's also important to recognize that T replacement will NOT cause prostate cancer, but can raise a man's PSA blood test necessitating a prostate biopsy. Because the prostate gland is sensitive to testosterone replacement men with active prostate cancer cannot receive it. However, men who are cured from their prostate cancer can safely receive testosterone replacement with little to no risk.
If you think you may have Low T please call 215-563-1199 or contact us online to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment.