Low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism or Andropause, may seem common, as treatments are often broadcast on television. The good news is that many treatment options are now available for men living with sexual or non-sexual signs and symptoms associated with low testosterone. Below, Dr. Michael D. Myers, of West Georgia Urology in LaGrange, addresses hypogonadism and the treatment options that can help men overcome this condition.
What exactly is hypogonadism?
Hypogonadism is a low testosterone level.
What are the symptoms of low testosterone?
Weakness, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, decreased muscle mass, mood and sleep disturbances, and/or difficulty of concentrating or memory loss. Many of my patients complain of a general sense of not feeling well or feeling out of sorts.
What are the causes of low testosterone?
Most often, individuals’ testosterone levels decrease with aging; however, some medications and in more rare cases, a pituitary tumor, may also result in low testosterone.
How is it diagnosed?
A simple blood test between 8 and 11 in the morning is all that is required to determine testosterone levels. If a patient is found to have low levels, additional blood tests help rule out other contributing factors such as a pituitary tumor.
What treatment options are available?
There are numerous methods of testosterone supplementation including injections, patches, gels and implantable time-released pellets. I encourage my patients with symptomatic low testosterone to have a trial of testosterone replacement to decide for themselves if they see a benefit or not.
Who should not consider testosterone supplementation?
Testosterone supplementation is not for everyone. Men who are considering fathering a child, who have had prostate or breast cancer or who are experiencing uncontrolled sleep apnea, unstable congestive heart failure or severe difficulty urinating should not consider supplementation. However, if these issues are resolved medically with physician supervision, testosterone supplementation could become an option.
What happens if patients do not seek or receive treatment?
Patients rarely experience a testosterone level that is low enough to create health risks; patients typically seek treatment for their own benefit only when symptoms are bothersome.
Do insurance companies cover supplemental treatment?
Most plans cover testosterone supplementation, however, each plan is different and we recommend that individuals check with their personal plan to ensure coverage.
How common is low testosterone supplementation in your practice?
Because low testosterone is fairly common, I have several patients who come to my practice daily. The treatment is safe, effective and satisfying to most. It is a good service to offer to my patients in addition to other common urologic concerns I treat such as cancer care and prevention (prostate, bladder and kidney), fertility problems, incontinence, kidney stones, sexual health, urinary tract infections and vasectomies.
Michael D. Myers, MD, is Board-Certified by the American Board of Urology.
West Georgia Physicians Urology
Office: 303 Medical Drive, Suite 401, LaGrange, GA 30240; Phone: 706.242.5201