If you are frequently fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, have a constant sense of depression, or have trouble obtaining or sustaining an erection; and, if you have heard any of the thousands of advertisements circulating on the web, TV, and radio these days, you may be thinking you have low T. You may have noticed an increase in body fat and a decrease in muscle mass. You may be suffering from mood swings or troubled by your erectile dysfunction. These are just a few symptoms of Low T.
Media attention and advertisements for over-the-counter (OTC) solutions may send you running to the local vitamin/supplement store for a quick fix. This is not a good idea. Self-treatment with testosterone supplements can cause other health problems, some of which can have seriously negative effects.
Low testosterone is commonly referred to as Low T. The actual medical term is hypogonadism. You may feel hesitant to discuss your personal symptoms with a medical provider, but the condition is not unusual and actually affects nearly 50 percent of all males in certain age brackets. If you are concerned and think you have symptoms of Low T, you need to make an appointment with a qualified medical provider that specializes in diagnosing and treating Low T. Despite all the attention from the media of late, many people providers currently prescribing testosterone supplementation are not focused enough on it to properly manage all of the issues associated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
See a Doctor If You Think You Have Low T
Low T can only be properly diagnosed with a thorough analysis of the clinical symptoms plus properly administered blood tests. After evaluating your symptoms and doing a thorough medical examination, the results of your blood test should be evaluated. Blood levels of testosterone vary throughout the day so it is best for your blood to be drawn before 10 a.m. Depending on the test results, further blood work may be necessary prior to starting treatment.
What may be proper treatment for one cause may be contraindicated for another. Some common causes of Low T include the impaired function of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands, or the testicles are not properly responding to the brain’s hormonal stimulation to produce more testosterone. Only a medical professional can determine the cause of your Low T or if you are suffering from it at all. You should be comfortable with the knowledge base of the provider caring for you symptoms and you should ask plenty of questions.
Avoid Over-the-Counter (OTC) Self-Help Remedies for Low T
You should not succumb to the great advertisements for OCT remedies to symptoms of Low T. If something claims to “boost the whole endocrine system”, stay far away from it. Hypogonadism is a specific medical problem, which should be treated with precise medical intervention. You need to have your T level monitored regularly and thoroughly. Without proper oversight, the many pitfalls and potential side effects of TRT can wreak havoc on your body and in your life. There are also side effects to OTC “treatments”. These range from mild issues to potentially life-threatening ones like liver damage.
Conditions you may also suffer from for which replacement therapy is specifically contraindicated include:
Prostate cancer. Before starting treatment your history and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should be performed and properly evaluated.
Breast cancer, whether it is current or has been successfully treated.
A hematocrit greater than 54% determined by a blood test.
Monitoring of Your Blood Levels is Required
Testosterone, estrogen, and other levels need to be evaluated regularly. The following tests will provide information that will help maintain safety during TRT.
Your hematocrit will need to be checked to be sure it does not go over 54%.
Your T level will be checked to see the correct level is being maintained.
Your lipids will be checked to be sure your cholesterol levels are not a problem.
Your estrogen levels will need to be kept in the normal range.
Your PSA test must be monitored to ensure normalcy and stability.
Each person is unique and each treatment should be tailored accordingly. Don’t let yourself be tossed into an overly busy treatment center where these important details are overlooked.