Low Testosterone / Andropause Treatment Options
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the hormone that drives male external genitalia and secondary sexual features to develop. The testicles are the source of this hormone.
The hormone is important for maintaining the following functions:
- muscle bulk
- bone density
- red blood cells production
- sexual and reproductive functions
- distribution of fat
- facial and body hair growth
- production of sperms
Testosterone is also essential for good health and vitality. Men’s bodies produce less testosterone as they become older. This natural deterioration begins at the age of 30 and can last for the rest of a man’s life.
Despite the fact that testosterone is a male sex hormone, females synthesize it as well, although in smaller numbers. In women, testosterone helps with sex drive, bone density, and muscle strength. An overabundance of testosterone, on the other hand, can produce male pattern baldness and infertility in women.
Why does testosterone decrease with age?
As you become older, your body produces less testosterone. The average male’s testosterone production drops by roughly 1% to 2% each year, according to an article in American Family Physician.
The biologically active form of testosterone is free testosterone. Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations rise with ageing causing free testosterone levels to fall. SHBG bind more testosterone and leave less free testosterone to act on target tissues. Serum testosterone levels declined 0.4 percent per year and free testosterone levels declined 1.3 percent in a large cross-sectional study of over 3000 men aged 40 to 79.
However, there is little consistency in how ageing men react to this shifting hormonal environment. As a result, there is debate regarding whether or not this is a pathological condition.
Testosterone insufficiency is also more common in men with diabetes or who are overweight. According to one study, 30% of overweight men had low testosterone levels, whereas only 6.4% of men of normal weight had low testosterone levels. Another study found that 24.5% of diabetic men had low testosterone levels, compared to 12.6% of men without diabetes.
What are the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency?
Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TDS) or Androgen Deficiency is the medical term for this condition. As men get older, they may develop a variety of signs and symptoms. The following are some of the symptoms that may develop as a result of reduced testosterone levels:
- Altered sexual and reproductive function
- Reduced sexual drive
- Spontaneous erections occur less frequently
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
2. Physical changes
- Raised body fat
- Reduction in muscle mass and strength
- Decrease in bone density
- Breasts may be swollen or sore (gynecomastia)
- Possible body hair loss
- Excessive tiredness
3. Emotional changes
- Lack of motivation or self-assurance
- Depression or excessive sadness
- Difficulty to concentrate or memorize things
Other health problems, such as drug side effects, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and depression, might produce some of these signs and symptoms. Low testosterone levels may also be a result of other several illnesses. As a result, a blood test is required to diagnose a low testosterone level.
What are the Andropause Treatment Options?
If your doctor has diagnosed you with andropause, low testosterone, or testosterone deficiency, they will totally recommend testosterone replacement therapy to treat your problem. Injections and gels are among the two types of testosterone replacement therapy that works by raising the amount of circulating testosterone in your body.
According to the American College of Physicians, testosterone therapy can help people with hypogonadism or Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome restore sexual function and reverse the effects of low testosterone levels.
Some of the available forms of testosterone replacement therapies are:
Androgel comes in transparent testosterone gel sachets. When you apply the gel once a day, testosterone is absorbed straight through the skin. Natesto is a nasal gel that is administered to the interior of the nose.
Testosterone can also be injected straight into the muscles, but this requires medical supervision. Depending on the type and severity of your illnesses, it may be given every 2-3 weeks or months. The testosterone is progressively absorbed into the bloodstream by your body.
- Oral pills
Testosterone pills are easy to use, painless, and convenient to take every day. Because testosterone is oil soluble, the pills must be taken with a meal that contains oils in order for the testosterone to be properly absorbed into the system.
- Transdermal or skin patch
Androderm is a skin patch that is placed once a day to the arm or upper body.
- Oral patch
Striant is a pill that attaches to the gums just above the incisors or front teeth. It is administered twice a day and delivers testosterone into the bloodstream continuously through the oral tissues.
What are the benefits of treating low testosterone?
In males with low testosterone, the effects of testosterone replacement on sexual function, fat and lean body mass, blood lipids, and bone density are clear. Improvements in low testosterone signs and symptoms, such as libido, sexual, physical, and mental functioning, as well as mood, can be expected over time, indicating that the medication is effective.
Testosterone treatment boosts lean body mass and strength while decreasing fat mass in individuals with low testosterone levels.
Low testosterone can cause bone thinning (osteoporosis), and men who have hip fractures are more likely to have low testosterone. Bone density is increased when testosterone is replaced.
In terms of cardiovascular health, current evidence suggests that testosterone replacement in men is relatively safe and does not produce significant cardiovascular side effects. There is some evidence that testosterone replacement therapy can help with cardiovascular disease and can improve cardiovascular risk factors over time.
In men with diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome, testosterone therapy may have metabolic benefits. Despite the fact that men with diabetes have much lower testosterone levels than men in the general population, many men with low testosterone go undetected and untreated. It’s unclear whether diabetes is a cause or a result of low testosterone levels. However, several studies have found that testosterone replacement therapy improves risk factors for diabetes in men with low testosterone, such as central obesity, insulin sensitivity, glucose management, and blood lipid profiles.