"Low T" and Testosterone Replacement Therapy
If you're a male over the age of 40, you might have heard the phrase "low T" in an advertisement or maybe from a friend. But what exactlyis "low T", and what does it have to do with you?
"Low T" is the phrase used to describe low testosterone levels. There are multiple reasons a man might have low testosterone levels, but the primary cause is age: beginning around the age of thirty, a man's testosterone levels begin to drop by as much as 10-20% per decade. The result is an epidemic of men suffering from the symptoms of low testosterone levels.
How Many Men Have Low Testosterone?
The incidence of low testosterone in men increases dramatically with age. Experts estimate that:
- Almost 40% of men over the age of 45 suffer from low testosterone and the symptoms associated with low testosterone, including hair loss, loss of muscle mass, loss of interest in sex, and depressed mood.
- At least 5 million American men suffer from this condition, but less than 10% of these men are in treatment to correct their testosterone deficiency.
- The number of men with low T is expected to increase to at least 6.5 million within the next 12 years.
Causes of Low Testosterone
There are many possible causes of low testosterone, including:
- Aging. The gradual loss of testosterone as a man ages is known medically as andropause. Similar to menopause, which occurs in women, andropause is marked by an age-related decline in sex hormones.
- Primary gonad disease. These are diseases that affect the testicles, which are responsible for the majority of testosterone production. Gonadal diseases include:
- Congenital diseases. These are present at birth and are typically treated throughout a man's lifetime.
- Acquired causes. Acquired causes encompass anything that affects the healthy function of the gonads, including environmental toxins, kidney and liver diseases, drugs and ingested chemicals that suppress gonad function, infections such as AIDS, physical trauma to the testicles, and autoimmune diseases that attack either the gonads or the organs that stimulate the gonads.
- Secondary hypogonadism of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. This occurs when the organs that control the testicles are damaged, either through congenital defects (present at birth) or through chronic diseases attacking these organs, such as diabetes. A number of drugs are also known to cause secondary hypogonadism, including glucocorticoids and gonadal steroids (i.e., anabolic and performance-enhancing steroids).
Correcting Low T
The primary goal of treatment for low T is to restore testosterone levels to the optimal or healthy range. This can be done with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which uses natural testosterone hormone replacement. BHRT has been shown to reverse the effects of andropause and correct for other causes of low T. It also reduces the risk that you'll contract major diseases of aging, including diabetes and heart diseases, which are leading causes of death and disability.
BHRT with testosterone should be administered by a qualified doctor after comprehensive hormone testing. Once your current testosterone levels have been determined, your doctor can prescribe testosterone injections, creams, pills or pellets to restore your optimal hormone levels.
Genemedics Health Institute is a leading BHRT clinic for men. Our doctors have worked with thousands of patients to restore low T and recover their quality of life. Our team is led by Dr. George Shanlikian, a nationally recognized expert in BHRT and male andropause.