Low Testosterone Has Many Causes
Sep 01, 2014 07:51AM
By Dr. Paul Stallone
A therapy that may be appropriate for one patient may not be for another. Decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, weight gain, decreased energy, hot flashes and many more symptoms of hypogonadism (low testosterone) are difficult for many men to accept. This could be why many self-diagnosis, self-prescribe and self-administer a controlled substance instead of consulting with a trained practitioner. Thinking, “What’s good for him is good for me,” is very risky, because it could in fact cause more harm than good.
Testosterone therapy may be completely safe and suitable for myriad patients, but without certain tests, treatment can come with numerous cautions. Testing is more complicated than simply checking testosterone levels. Multiple hormones and precursors need to be evaluated to determine a true deficiency or problem. Tests may also give insight to other hormonal reasons causing low hormone levels, such as adrenal dysfunction.
Testosterone replacement therapy is only appropriate for men that have below-normal levels and don’t have any medical conditions that could be exacerbated by testosterone. Testing and exams would indicate an enlarged prostate or show evidence of prostate cancer, and both conditions would respond negatively to testosterone therapy.
Discussing hypogonadism with a physician is much more important than restoring lost libido. Failing to treat low testosterone could put a man at higher risk for osteoporosis, frailty, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A knowledgeable physician will be able to detect factors that could be causing hypogonadism such as tumors on the pituitary gland, testicular issues, alcohol use, injuries, thyroid imbalance, infections, medication use and obesity. If one of these factors is contributing to the hypogonadism, then treatment should be focused on the cause.
After the test results are in, a follow-up appointment to review them is essential. Those with confirmed hypogonadism have many options for recovery. One great way to boost testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) is short, high-intensity workouts. Exercising as hard as possible for 30 seconds and then cooling down for 90 seconds and repeating is a great natural way to augment hormone production. Depression and weight gain, common symptoms of low testosterone, may make it harder to start any exercise program, but there are even options to help with this. Exercising may work for many, but there are additional options that include herbs and supplements to help balance or produce more testosterone. Zinc, vitamin D, saw palmetto, ashwagandha, astaxanthin, magnesium and flaxseed are a few supplements that have been studied for their testosterone-producing effects. Not all will be suitable for everyone, and dosages will vary, depending on the patient.
A hormone-trained physician will be able to recommend trusted brands and appropriate dose and might suggest additional supplements. Exercise and herbs may not be enough to correct all testosterone imbalances, so that’s where bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may help. They are important for stabilizing hormones because they are biologically similar to the hormones our body naturally produces. Testosterone cream can be formulated by a physician to individual needs when using a compounding pharmacy. Some patients may even require testosterone injections, administered in the office, although this route is usually short-term. There are numerous options for addressing hypogonadism, and it’s for this reason that a trained physician should recommend and monitor treatment.
Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. He combines natural/alternative/conventional treatments to best fit and benefit each individual patient’s needs. For more information, call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.