If you bring up the topic of low testosterone (commonly known as low T), you'll likely hear a wide range of theories and opinions.
Some believe low T is just a natural part of aging for men and, therefore, does not require medical treatment. Others tout testosterone replacement therapy as a proverbial fountain of youth for men hoping to recapture the strength and stamina of their younger selves.
Like most controversial health issues, the truth about low T lies somewhere in the middle. While testosterone replacement therapy can make a dramatic difference in some men's lives, it's not for everyone.
"Almost every organ and tissue in a man's body has testosterone receptors," says Laurence Levine, MD, a urologist at Rush. "Testosterone plays a vital role in the proper functioning of your bones, muscles, brain, liver and everything in between."
In fact, testosterone is responsible for all of the following:
Due to the importance of testosterone in men's overall health, health care providers are increasingly recognizing low T (with varying degrees of severity) as more than just a fad. In fact, a recent study found that almost 40 percent of men over 45 years old had low testosterone.
Peaks and valleys are the norm when it comes to testosterone. Levels change several times a day; it's highest in the morning and lowest in the evening.
Throughout life, testosterone peaks in the early 30s and steadily declines with age. However, age is not the only culprit behind decreasing testosterone.
Other medical conditions that can cause low T include the following:
When low T occurs with or as the result of an existing medical condition, it can exacerbate symptoms of that condition and even accelerate disease progression.
Long-term, untreated low T can also increase the risk of age-related complications. "A man in his 50s with a long history of low T may have more rapid loss of muscle and bone. He also has a higher risk of developing dementia later in life," says Levine.
Men who have existing conditions that cause low T have been using testosterone therapy for years. Today, however, many men who do not have other medical problems are also using testosterone therapy in an attempt to feel younger, stronger and more vital.
As a result, much of the controversy surrounding low T and testosterone replacement therapy stems from determining who needs it and who doesn't.
"If you have some of the signs of low T, it does not necessarily mean your testosterone is low; and if your testosterone is low, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have symptoms," Levine says. "To be a good candidate for treatment, you must have both low testosterone and symptoms."
Which symptoms should you watch for? According to Levine, these are the most common:
Some of these symptoms could mimic other conditions, such as depression or low thyroid function. Speak to your primary care physician or urologist to determine the cause of your symptoms, so you can make sure you get the right treatment.
Testosterone is tested with a simple blood test between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. (when testosterone levels are highest). Normal levels fall between 300 and 1,000 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter).
Here's what to do with your results:
"However, if I see a man who has no symptoms and his testosterone is at 150, I may recommend treatment because he could start to experience problems with cognition and frailty as he gets older," Levine says.
"The decision about whether to treat or watch and wait depends on each man's specific situation" he adds. "There's no one-size-fits-all. I always tailor the approach to the patient."
If you have low T and persistent symptoms, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:
"You may notice an improvement in energy and libido as quickly as a month into treatment. But typically it takes about three months of treatment to notice an obvious improvement in your symptoms," says Levine.
There are a number of concerns about the safety of testosterone replacement therapy. And most health care professionals agree more research is needed on the long-term effects of testosterone therapy.
But in the meantime, there have been some interesting findings in recent years:
However, Levine warns that testosterone can stimulate tumor growth in men who already have prostate cancer. Thus, men with existing prostate cancer will need regular monitoring with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and a complete blood count every six months.
"Testosterone seems to actually have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health," says Levine. "Studies show men with low T and heart disease who received testosterone replacement therapy had lower death rates than those who did not receive testosterone therapy."
If you have a heart condition, it is best to discuss your options with your cardiologist and men's health clinician.
"It is not a treatment for diabetes, but it can certainly help regulate glucose and metabolism," Levine says.
There are, however, some risks associated with long-term testosterone use, including the following:
Bottom line: Testosterone therapy may not be appropriate if you're just feeling a little more run down than usual. "Working closely with a trusted medical professional is the best way to determine if it is right for you," Levine says.
Continue reading here:
The Lowdown on Low-T - Discover Health - Rush University ...
- Low T Specialist - Dallas, TX & Frisco, TX: Men's T-Clinic ... - October 5th, 2019
- Does Insurance Cover Low T Treatment - Mantality Health - October 5th, 2019
- Low Testosterone Therapy (TRT) and Treatment from Low T Center - September 27th, 2019
- Low T Center, 549 East County Line Road, Building 4 Suite D ... - March 31st, 2019
- Low T Symptoms | Low Testosterone | Signs of Low T - March 12th, 2019
- Low T Treatment in Texas & Illinois | SynergenX Health ... - February 18th, 2019
- The Low T Scam? - Testosterone Centers of Texas - Low T ... - February 18th, 2019
- Low T 99 - Testosterone Therapy: Bellevue, Seattle, Tacoma ... - December 31st, 2018
- Men, Low T, and the Facts | Lifespan - October 1st, 2018
- Denver Low T Medical Clinic and Testosterone Therapy Center - August 6th, 2018
- You've Heard About "Low T" But What About "Low E"? - April 23rd, 2018
- Low T 99 - 10 Photos - Health & Medical - 1239 120th Ave NE ... - April 23rd, 2018
- Low Testosterone Treatment - Carolina Men's Clinic - April 23rd, 2018
- Low T-Helper (CD4) Cell Level - Symptoms and Diagnosis - March 2nd, 2018
- ED Clinic Nashville TN, Erectile Dysfunction Treatment, Low T - February 10th, 2018
- Low-Testosterone (Low-T) - Controversy Over ... - AARP - January 11th, 2018
- Low testosterone symptoms | Effects of low testosterone - January 11th, 2018
- About Low Testosterone | Low T Center - December 29th, 2017
- Low Testosterone Replacement Therapy | Low T ... - Men's T Clinic - November 12th, 2017
- low t | eBay - November 12th, 2017
- Low Testosterone (Low T) Treatments - onhealth.com - November 2nd, 2017
- Low-T (Low Testosterone) Quiz: Symptoms, Signs & Treatment - October 22nd, 2017
- Erectile Dysfunction/Low T Men's Health Georgia - September 4th, 2017
- 10 easy ways to transform old band T-shirts into something new - Alternative Press - August 30th, 2017
- AbbVie Hit With $150 Million Loss in Low-T Cardiac Trial - Lexology (registration) - August 19th, 2017
- Low T Center returning to sponsor Sorenson - ESPN - August 18th, 2017
- Older men with 'low T' can improve their sex lives with testosterone therapy, study says - Men's Fitness - August 18th, 2017
- Center for Men | Tulsa Men's Clinic | Tulsa Low T - August 17th, 2017
- `Make Men Great Again' Speakers Bash Trans People While Pumping Up America's Girly Men - Southern Poverty Law Center - August 10th, 2017
- Doctors Address Low Testosterone Ads - CBS St. Louis - August 9th, 2017
- Low T - Testosterone Replacement Therapy - Ehormones - August 2nd, 2017
- What does a low T cell count mean? DoctorNDTV Queries - August 2nd, 2017
- Column: Testosterone treatment reserved for men with symptoms ... - The Daily Courier - July 5th, 2017
- Testosterone treatment reserved for men with symptoms - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - July 5th, 2017
- Low T Trial: Testosterone Gel Increases Plaque in Arteries - DrugWatch.com - June 2nd, 2017
- Low Testosterone Treatment in St. Louis | Low T Revolution - May 9th, 2017
- Derrike Cope is Back in the Saddle with Low T Center - PR Newswire (press release) - April 8th, 2017
- Testosterone Therapy Is Popular, but Studies Are Mixed - New York Times - March 28th, 2017
- 5 uncommon signs of low testosterone - Bel Marra Health - March 25th, 2017
- Doctors Say Some May Be Suffering From 'Male Menopause' - CBS Pittsburgh / KDKA - March 25th, 2017
- Low Testosterone MDL 2545 - US Recall News (press release) - March 15th, 2017
- Could It Be...Low T? - Huffington Post - March 1st, 2017
- Testosterone Therapy Improves Bone Mineral Density In Men With Low T - MedicalResearch.com (blog) - February 23rd, 2017
- Testosterone Therapy May Have Benefits, But Risks Too - HealthDay - February 23rd, 2017
- 'Low T' Tx Studies Yield Mixed Findings for Heart - MedPage Today - February 21st, 2017
- Testosterone treatment improves bone density, anemia in men over 65 - Medical Xpress - February 21st, 2017
- Low Testosterone ( Low T ) Treatments - MedicineNet - January 30th, 2017
- Low T | Healthy Habits Wellness Clinic - January 30th, 2017
- New study adds caution to testosterone therapy for "low T ... - January 3rd, 2017
- Mantality - Low Testosterone Treatments - January 3rd, 2017
- Low T Center Careers and Employment | Indeed.com - November 28th, 2016
- Low T Medical Clinic and Low Testosterone Therapy - November 28th, 2016
- Low T - October 2nd, 2016
- Low Testosterone (Low T) Center - Henderson, NV - August 18th, 2016
- Low Testosterone Denver - October 24th, 2015
- Low Testosterone - Renew Man - August 26th, 2015
- Boost Your Low Testosterone! Increase Low T Levels Naturally - August 1st, 2015
- 9 Warning Signs of Low Testosterone - Healthline - May 22nd, 2015
- Low Testosterone (Low-T): Facts About Symptoms and Testing - May 22nd, 2015
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy | Low T Center - May 22nd, 2015
- Common Side Effects of Low Testosterone in Men - May 22nd, 2015
- Low Testosterone (Low T) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment ... - May 22nd, 2015
- Low T Natural Treatment Aurora - Video - May 3rd, 2015
- Victor Marx--- Low T Center Ambassador - Video - May 2nd, 2015
- Low T Treatment Injections Aurora - Video - May 2nd, 2015
- Treatments For Low T Aurora - Video - April 30th, 2015
- Low T Treatment Options Aurora - Video - April 30th, 2015
- Low T Center and Rick Fairless' Strokers Dallas Team Up - Video - April 22nd, 2015
- Genobank Grundschulen Cup 2015 Low T Ball GS Liebenau - Video - March 19th, 2015
- Are Low T Drugs Putting Patients At High Risk - Video - March 14th, 2015
- How Even Borderline Low T Might Affect Your Health - Video - March 13th, 2015
- Q&A #3 | Talking to Friends & Family About Depersonalization, My Dog, Low T & Depression + MORE - Video - March 10th, 2015
- Center for Men | 918-622-2500 | Find Tulsa Low T Clinics - Video - March 8th, 2015
- Tulsa Low T | Center for Men | 918-622-2500 - Video - March 8th, 2015
- Tulsa Low T | 918-622-2500 | Center for Men - Video - March 8th, 2015
- Center for Men | Find Tulsa Low T Clinics | 918-622-2500 - Video - March 8th, 2015
- 918-622-2500 | Center for Men | Find Tulsa Low T Clinics - Video - March 8th, 2015
- Low T? qt - Video - March 8th, 2015
- 918-622-2500 | Tulsa Low T | Center for Men - Video - March 7th, 2015
- Center for Men | 918-622-2500 | Tulsa Low T - Video - March 7th, 2015