Hormone Replacement Therapy: Is This Right For Me?
Posted By: Dr. Gary Bellman
Hormone replacement therapy for men and women has come a long way in the last half-decade or so. One of the fastest growing areas in medicine today is the use of the testosterone therapy in men, particularly during the middle years — for good reason.
When performed correctly, testosterone treatment can have profound effects on mental, physical, and emotional health.
The truth is that testosterone is involved in so many biological functions for men that it is difficult to come up with a biological system that is NOT affected by testosterone. As such, testosterone is considered one of the “master” hormones. It is important for optimal health function in many ways beyond just sex drive.
Yes, testosterone levels decline with age. Some people argue that since this is a “normal” part of aging then it should just be accepted instead of treated.
There are things to accept about aging and things to argue against it. Just because some things are “natural” as we age doesn’t mean we should resign ourselves to accepting all of them, especially if there are treatments that are relatively harmless, effective and helpful to quality of life. Telling patients to accept natural changes for the worst is like telling a patient not to wear eyeglasses if their vision starts to suffer. We have the technology and resources to enhance quality of life in many arenas. Testosterone treatment falls into this category.
Testosterone: On the Contrary
The previous belief that testosterone is risky for prostate cancer is false. Even taking testosterone AFTER prostate cancer treatment is considered safe. A 2004 study reviewed over 200 medical articles and could not find a single one that showed a compelling argument for connecting high levels of testosterone with prostate cancer. Yet this myth pervaded the medical community for decades until recently. This is one reason it has taken so long for the medical community to come around and endorse testosterone therapy for Low-T treatment. One of the other reasons of course is because of a backlash against rampant use and abuse of performance enhancing drugs among athletes, bodybuilders, and recreational exercisers.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy and Its Effects
Testosterone affects the male libido and sexual performance, also benefits mood, thinking, muscle and fat distribution and your sense of vitality and well-being. Testosterone has direct and indirect effects on all of these sides of the triangle of your wellness.
Testosterone treatment is safe, and it’s easy to screen for as well. Common symptoms of low testosterone or signs of low testosterone are of course low libido, low energy, low overall vitality, weak erections and chronic fatigue, tiredness, sluggishness. All of these would tell you to ask your doctor for a blood test to include all indices of testosterone.
These symptoms of low T are often confused not just with depression, but with low thyroid as well. Very often, the two conditions can co-exist, one negatively impacting the other.
For any of you men over 40 reading this (or their spouses) if you experience any of the symptoms I’ve outlined above and you just haven’t felt like yourself for a long-time; then why not get checked and have a discussion with me about testosterone treatment.