We don’t spend much time talking about men and how hormones can impact their health, but it’s worth talking about. Declining testosterone levels can cause significant problems in men, similar to the hormonal changes women experience during menopause.
At BodyLogicMD of Hartford, integrative medicine specialist, Anita Petruzzelli, MD, can help to identify and diagnose hormonal issues, such as low testosterone. Here are a few signs that you could have this problem, and how testosterone replacement therapy can help.
Why testosterone matters
Both men and women have testosterone, but levels of this major male hormone are higher in men, and they help to regulate fat distribution, strength and muscle mass, bone density, and sex drive. It also controls the production of sperm and red blood cells.
Male fetuses start making testosterone as early as seven weeks after conception. When boys enter puberty, their testosterone levels rise, and more masculine traits begin to develop — like facial hair, a deepening voice, and increased muscle mass.
However, by the time men reach their 30s, their testosterone levels start to decline by about 1% each year. The drop only increases with time, reaching annual testosterone losses of up to 2% after 40.
While it’s normal to lose some testosterone with age, levels can drop significantly, leading to problems like low testosterone and hypogonadism.
Recognizing the signs of low testosterone
You can have low testosterone without any symptoms, but it often causes a variety of problems, including:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood
- Loss of muscle mass
- Weight gain, especially in the abdomen
- Bigger breasts
- Less hair on the face and body
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sleep problems
While it’s normal to have some of these changes as you age, you should definitely seek medical treatment to see if your hormones are to blame — especially if symptoms become bothersome or impact your daily life.
When to consider testosterone therapy
If you have signs that could indicate a hormone imbalance, we perform a comprehensive exam to check for any underlying issues.
During your hormone assessment, we also perform a series of blood tests to check for low levels of testosterone. To get reliable results, we often test you more than once. That’s because your hormones can fluctuate from day to day and change based on diet and medication.
We also look for other issues that could impact your testosterone levels, especially weight gain. While age can play a big role in testosterone production, excess weight can be a larger factor. That’s because fat contains a particular enzyme that turns testosterone molecules into estrogen. As a result, your testosterone levels typically go down as your waistline goes up.
After reaching a diagnosis, we might recommend testosterone injections to correct your hormone imbalance.
What to expect from hormone therapy
There are several types of hormone therapy, ranging from topical creams and surgically implanted pellets to scheduled injections. Our team prefers injectable therapy options because they offer more precise dosing.
When you have testosterone therapy injections, we test your hormone levels on a regular basis to determine your optimal dose. We can also make adjustments by monitoring your response to the treatment.
Men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy often experience improvements, such as:
- Fat loss and increased muscle mass
- Higher libido and improved sexual function
- Better skin and hair regrowth
- Restored sleep
- More energy and mental clarity
In most cases, you can expect to notice results within 4-6 weeks, but changes in muscle mass can take 3-6 months.
To see if you’re a good candidate for testosterone therapy, contact our office in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Call now or send a message to our team through our website.