Your sex life isn’t what it used to be thanks to a lower-than-normal libido, or you’re just feeling zapped of energy and not like your usual self. These are certainly issues that can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and you want to find solutions that can get you back to normal.
If low testosterone is behind the changes, testosterone replacement therapy may be a good solution, though it’s not the only one.
At our practice, urologist Dr. Robert J. Cornell and our team pride ourselves on providing men with the tools and resources they need to lead happy and healthy lives. When it comes to offsetting low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy can be a great option, and we explore who makes a good candidate for this treatment in this month’s blog post.
Explaining low testosterone
First, let’s explore what we mean by low testosterone, which affects between 10% and 40% of men in the United States.
Under normal circumstances, men should have testosterone levels that range between 270 and 1070 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). Any measurement that falls outside these numbers is considered an imbalance in hormones. A testosterone deficiency (low T) occurs when numbers fall below the lower end of the range.
Who has low testosterone?
When you have lower-than-normal levels of testosterone, which is also referred to as hypogonadism, it falls under one of two categories:
- Primary hypogonadism — testicular failure
- Secondary hypogonadism — a problem outside your testicles that reduces production
An example of primary hypogonadism — and the most common — is aging. A man’s testosterone production peaks at the age of 20 and then slowly declines over the course of his life, which is why low T is often associated with aging. Men in their 80s will have far lower levels of testosterone than men in their 20s or 30s.
Other examples of primary hypogonadism that lead to low T include:
- Testicular cancer and associated treatments
- Conditions you’re born with, such as Klinefelter syndrome
- Trauma to the testicles
When it comes to secondary hypogonadism, it can stem from issues like pituitary gland disease or certain autoimmune disorders.
Treating low T
How you came to your low T will dictate how we treat the issue and whether testosterone replacement therapy is a good approach.
For example, if you have age-related testosterone loss or you have low T related to testicular cancer, hormone replacement therapy can be a great solution.
If, however, you have low T because of a secondary issue, we will likely try to resolve that issue first.
The degree of your symptoms should also be plugged into your treatment equation. These side effects can include:
- Low libido
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of body hair
- Weight gain
So, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and they’re having a major impact on your life, testosterone replacement therapy can be a good path forward to improved wellness.
Ultimately, we prefer to evaluate treatment on a case-by-case basis, as there are several options for addressing testosterone deficiencies.
To figure out whether you're a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy or whether another approach is best, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment.