If you’ve lost your mojo, it might be tempting to ask your doctor for testosterone replacement therapy to make things better. But not so fast. Before you start taking a powerful medication, find out the underlying reason for your problem, whether it’s stress, relationship issues, hormonal imbalances, or other factors that may contribute to issues like no climax. Understanding the root cause will help you and your healthcare provider determine the most appropriate and effective course of action to address the issue and restore your sexual well-being.
Compared with women, guys have it easy. Our reproductive systems are pretty straightforward.
A part of the brain called the hypothalamus sends signals to the pituitary gland, which sits just below the brain stem, to release hormones.
Testosterone is pretty much what separates boys from men. It gives us deeper voices, larger muscles, and facial and body hair. It stimulates the growth of our sex organs at puberty and fuels libido.
Usually, the hypothalamus acts like an awesome traffic cop. If we have too much testosterone, it tells the pituitary to slow down. If we don’t have enough, it tells us to speed up production.
But with aging, the amount of testosterone produced naturally goes down. This is called “andropause.”
And sometimes, even for young guys, something goes wrong.
Low testosterone symptoms
- Lower sex drive
- Shrinking muscles
- A higher percentage of body fat
- Low sperm count (reduced fertility)
- Loss of body hair
- Depressed mood
If you’re suffering from these troublesome symptoms, you might feel tempted to ask your doctor for hormone replacement therapy.
The syndrome is known as hypogonadism.
And believe me; it’s no fun.
Testosterone is not always the problem
No wonder sales of male hormone replacement drugs now top 400 million a year in the United States.
But hormone replacement is powerful stuff. Some people experience unwanted side effects. And the risks range from sleep apnea to heart failure.
So before you fill that expensive prescription, you might want to consider whether hormone replacement is really going to deal with the underlying cause.
Potential causes of low testosterone symptoms include:
- Poor liver function
- Poor gastrointestinal health
- Any acute illness
- Blood sugar and insulin issues
- Pituitary problems.
(Here’s an interesting low testosterone case study showing some interesting and very unexpected things that might cause testosterone problems).
Failure to treat any of these underlying issues could lead to much bigger problems down the line. And taking hormone replacement therapy could be like slapping a bandage on a deep wound.
So, if you’re dealing with symptoms of hypogonadism, try not to jump to conclusions.
First, ensure that your doctor rules out—or treats—the underlying conditions that can lead to these problems.
Bottom line? If you have symptoms of low testosterone, get tested.
A good male hormone panel will include:
- total and free testosterone
- the estrogens (estrione, estradiol, estriol)
- sex hormone binding globulin
- luteinizing hormone
Also, consider an adrenal salivary panel to assess cortisol levels.
Some doctors may hesitate to run such an extensive panel, but for your long-term health, it’s worth it.
We still don’t know the long-term effects of male hormone replacement therapy. And if you don’t have to take this medication, you probably don’t want to.
For the sake of your overall health, you owe it to yourself to get the real story.
And for more about Dr. John Berardi, including links to his latest men’s health articles, click here.
Written by Dr. John Berardi
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.