Testosterone therapy is a popular hormone replacement therapy offered here at Living Wellness Medical Center. In this blog post, Dr. Khalsa and Dr. Brouwer discuss some common questions from patients concerning testosterone therapy in men.
Question #1: At what ages does testosterone start to decline in men?
Dr. Brouwer: I think a generally accepted age is right around age 40. Also, men that are younger than that and are under tremendous stress, because their testosterone can decline due to that high-stress level. However, on average, around 40 years old testosterone starts to decline. Unfortunately, a lot of men don’t start to exhibit symptoms until they’re 50 or 60, but by then they’ve had many years of low testosterone and then the effects that have on their bodies.
Question #2: What are some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for with low testosterone?
Dr. Brouwer: A lot of men don’t come in until they start to have some kind of sexual dysfunction, like erectile dysfunction or a lack of libido. But the changes that come far before that can be anything from insomnia, aches, and pains in their joints, a lower exercise tolerance, and not getting as much out of their workouts. Their muscles are weaker than they used to be and their cardiovascular fitness is lower than it used to be. Those are the main things that we hear complaints about, “I’m tired”, “I’m exhausted”, “I’m not interested in life anymore.”
Their mood can go down and all that time that’s how they’re feeling, but then they’re having effects on their cardiovascular system where their heart muscle can be weakening. There are a lot of reasons to start replacing it and start boosting it younger and not waiting until it gets all the way down to having poor erections.
Question #3: What are the differences between testosterone replacement therapy and steroids used in bodybuilding?
Dr. Brouwer: So testosterone replacement therapy is a replacement therapy, right? As men age, their testes don’t produce testosterone that well and they’re missing out on the hormone that’s really vital for their proper functioning. Therefore, we’re replacing something that’s missing or that’s very low. Compared to using steroids that are artificial testosterone replacements, a chemical that mimics testosterone, and has a very different effect on the body. Steroids are not replacing something that’s natural to the body, it’s pushing the body with something that’s fake.
Those artificial things can result in really high levels that can cause, you know, road rage. Like men can get really irritable and aggressive and their testicles shrink away. There are a lot of really harmful effects of that kind of steroid use that’s just not the case with replacing real testosterone.
Question #4: Often, we hear patients say their labs are “normal.” How does that relate to conventional or optimal lab goals?
Dr. Brouwer: This happens all the time. I get men that come in and they’re in their 40s or their 50s or 60s and say, “I’m just not feeling like myself. I’m not feeling well. I’m tired. I’m not as strong as I used to be,” all of those things we talked about before, “but my doctor says my testosterone is normal.”
Well, there is normal for your age. So when you’re younger, men in their teens, 20s, and 30s, have these really high testosterone levels and it’s keeping them strong. But as that starts to decline the reference range changes per age. In their 20s there’s a reference range for them that’s the normal range. It’s the same in their 30s, 40s and so on. Therefore, if you’re in your 50s and you have a normal level for your age that’s much lower than when you were younger and stronger.
So, I don’t want my elderly men to be necessarily in the normal range for their age. I want them to be at a more normal range for a 30-year-old. And that’s based on all the studies, not just my personal preference. The studies of men using testosterone replacement therapy tell us those more youthful levels are what are going to keep them stronger.
A lot of doctors will just look at the total testosterone; so there are a couple of ways to look at it, and you can look at the free testosterone (what is available for the cells to use) and total testosterone (where a lot of that is bound up and not available). Just measuring total testosterone doesn’t really tell us how much of that is useable by the body. Even in that, a lot of men when they’re under 1,000 in their total testosterone, they’re feeling symptomatic.
Again, they’re not sleeping well, their energy is poor, so I don’t care what your total is and I don’t care that you’re “normal” for your age. I want you to be in that optimum range of free testosterone as if you were younger.
Testosterone Therapy in Men Free Consult
If you are interested in testosterone hormone replacement therapy, we can do a free 10-minute consultation with you. To schedule a free ten-minute consultation, click here or call 480-588-6856.