Priority Health: Low testosterone

By Dr. Randy Shuck, Medical reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 4:59 PM EDT

Donna asks, “What are the signs of low testosterone in men and what are the treatments?”

Did you notice that Donna asked the question, instead of her significant other?  That's because this is an area that men don't want to talk about, but it affects spouses equally. I know, you are probably just thinking that this is about sex, but in reality it is really so much more.

Testosterone is the primary hormone that makes a boy turn into a man. It is not the hormone that differentiates boys from girls, that estrogen (women have small amounts of testosterone too!) it's all about ratios or balance. Once the body reaches a certain level of either hormone, the sexes are separated. But enough about the birds and the bees, let's talk about the benefits of testosterone and what happens without the right ratio.

Symptoms of low testosterone:

  • Loss of libido
  • Increase in abdominal fat (linked to diabetes)
  • Low energy levels/fatigue
  • Depression
  • Muscle loss/bone loss (osteoporosis)
  • Cholesterol imbalance (linked to heart disease)

Replacement methods

  • Injectable testosterone
  • Transdermal patches/ gels or creams
  • Oral or buccal absorption
  • Implantable pellets

 

Adverse effects

Prostatic hypertrophy - benign

May cause prostatic cancer that is already there to grow faster

Acne

Hair loss

Decrease sperm counts

As with everything we discuss here. Please talk to your doctor before trying any hormone replacement. I know you can get it through the Internet, just be careful of anything you put in your body. Once it's in, you can't take it out!

Natural ways to increase testosterone:

  • Exercise - heavy weight, low reps, major muscles
  • Lose the belly fat
  • Stop smoking - vascular damage
  • Eat MUFA's (mono unsaturated fatty acids ) found in nuts, salmon etc
  • Minimize alcohol - 3 drinks or less
  • Vitamin D supplements/ sunlight exposure (exercise outside!)
  • Magnesium supplements

Just a word of warning, this segment is by no means large enough to cover all the benefits and detriments of testosterone. There are hundreds of studies, thousands of theories, and millions of opinions relating to testosterone. I encourage everyone to research this topic extensively, prior to starting any therapy.  Stay Healthy My Friends!