Low Testosterone in Greensboro, NC
Low levels of testosterone, or “low T,” is one of the largest health concerns among men. This condition is known to cause decreased sexual appetite and performance, but testosterone also plays an even more important role in a man’s, and even a woman’s, body. If you live in Greensboro, Burlington, and neighboring communities in North Carolina, you can learn more about how low testosterone affects your health through a consultation with Dr. H. Christopher Coley, a double board-certified surgeon who specializes in testosterone replacement therapy.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in the testes. The hormone supports the normal development of male reproductive organs and secondary male sexual characteristics, such as beard growth, voice changes, and other traits. Both the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus gland control testosterone production. Some of the male sex traits affected by testosterone levels are:
- Development and maturation of the prostate gland, testes, and other male reproductive organs
- Male-pattern hair growth, such as hair on the face and chest
- Increases in strength and lean muscle and reduction in adipose tissue
- Libido and sexual performance
- Energy levels and emotional states
- Bone density
- Vocal tone
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone therapy, also referred to as androgen replacement therapy, is typically used to treat hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels, in men. In cases of hypogonadism, a man’s body produces insufficient quantities of testosterone, typically caused by decreased production in the testicles.
Testosterone for Men
Testosterone, known as the male sex hormone, has recently been linked to longer healthier lives in both men and women. Testosterone replenishment results in increased muscle strength and lean body mass, improved sexual response, and improved body composition. It has been shown to prevent osteoporosis, arthritis and degenerative joint change. It improves the sense of well being and depressed mood that are frequently seen in andropause. It improves memory similar to estrogen in women. It also protects against cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
Men who receive testosterone replacement consequently report that they feel sexier, stronger and healthier. It gives men energy, strength and increases libido.
Testosterone is responsible for the sex drive in both men and women. Restoring levels to optimal levels restores sexual desire and function often lost in advancing age. Testosterone supplementation results in increased muscle strength, muscle size, increased energy, decreased fat, and increased desire and endurance for exercise.
Testosterone replacement in the past was associated with increased cholesterol levels. Natural testosterone, however has been shown to decrease total cholesterol and increase HDL.
There is also good evidence that suggests that testosterone deficiency plays a role in heart disease. One such study showed that men with higher baseline levels of testosterone had less cardiovascular disease, and that supplementing to youthful levels prevented worsening of the disease. A recent study from the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that men with the higher levels of testosterone lived the longest.
Synthetic testosterone is not recommended as it is metabolized by the liver and may result in increased cholesterol. I prefer natural testosterone applied topically or in a pellet form. I do not recommend the patch as levels are difficult to obtain and skin irritation from the patch can be problem. Dosing is based on age, weight and levels.
Testosterone should not be used if one has active prostate cancer. Multiple studies have shown that testosterone does not cause prostate cancer. In fact, lower levels of testosterone are associated with more aggressive tumors. If one develops prostate cancer and is taking testosterone supplementation, then this may accelerate the growth of the cancer. PSA levels are monitored while on testosterone supplementation. A recent summary article in the NEJM in 2004 summarized “we reviewed decades of research and found no evidence that testosterone therapy causes prostate cancer.”
Testosterone for Women
Women also need testosterone, as it is an important hormone for normal female sexual development. Replenishment of testosterone in women contributes to the enhancement of sexual drive, relief of menopausal symptoms, restoration of energy, strengthening of bone, prevention of osteoporosis and improvement in well being. Testosterone improves skin, muscle tone, prevents bone loss, and strengthens tendons and joints. Testosterone for women is dosed based on age, symptoms, and levels. A natural testosterone cream is recommended.
What Are The Symptoms Of Testosterone Deficiency?
Low testosterone levels typically cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Physical weakness and low energy
- Lack of motivation
- Poor memory and concentration
- Low libido and erectile dysfunction
- Irritability and mood swings
What Are The Changes That Occur In The Body With Testosterone Deficiency?
Testosterone deficiency has been known to cause a series of physiological changes including:
- Increased adipose tissue and decreased lean muscle mass, causing decreased strength
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Low hemoglobin and potential anemia
- Loss of bone density leading to osteoporosis
- Hair loss on the face, head and body
How Do I Find Out If I Have A Testosterone Deficiency?
If you suspect you may be suffering from low testosterone levels, Dr. Coley must take a blood sample and analyze it. Because testosterone levels vary by time of day, several samples may be required to determine whether levels are actually insufficient. Testosterone levels tend to be highest early in the morning; hence, Dr. Coley may choose to draw a blood sample in the morning.
Low testosterone levels produce many physical and emotional issues, but may also be the result of other medical conditions. The important thing is to get tested. If you live in Greensboro, Burlington or neighboring communities in North Carolina and have symptoms of low testosterone, contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Dr. H. Christopher Coley, a double board-certified surgeon, to determine if you have low testosterone.