Recently, discussions have emerged on television, in magazines, on the radio, or by word of mouth highlighting the phrases “Low T” or “Andropause;” But what do these phrases mean? As men age, they begin to experience symptoms that fall in line with hormonal imbalance, particularly low testosterone1 Many men never seek treatment and go about their daily lives experiencing significant decline in testosterone production, resulting in symptoms like fatigue, low libido, decreased strength, decreased mental capacity, anxiety, depression, decreased lean body mass, fatigue, and decrease in bone mineral density, among others.2 As awareness of this diagnosis grows, more men are seeking treatment and finding ways to travel through the years without feeling the emotional and physical changes that tend to come with age. One of the main offerings to help solve this is the obvious – using agents to replace testosterone.
WHAT DOES TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT TREATMENT LOOK LIKE?When practitioners discuss the topic of testosterone treatment with their patients, they talk about replacing it with agents such as gels, creams, and injections or they attempt to encourage a more natural boost to a man’s testosterone by using herbs and nutraceuticals. While these methods are undoubtedly an approach towards addressing the symptoms, these methods do not address the underlying cause of the testosterone deficiency. To really get to the root of the issue, we need to also look at the individual’s diet, lifestyle, stress level, and their overall health. In this article, we will discuss the basics: key areas that influence testosterone production and the interrelated players in the male sex hormone system. Treatment for each of these areas may include a natural, bioidentical, or pharmaceutical method resulting in alteration of the entire system.
THE MALE SEX HORMONE CYCLEThe male sex hormone cycle is incredibly complex and is involved in many processes in the body. If we start in the brain, the simplified sex hormone cycle may look something like this:
ADDITIONAL OPTIONS FOR TESTOSTERONE TREATMENTIt’s apparent that hormones are comprised of a series of complex systems. Thus, they can be adjusted at many different steps in the hormone cycle. Let’s look at a few alternatives:
This overview is To Be Continued, looking into each area and how it can be impacted, by diet, exercise, supplements, bioidentical hormones and pharmaceuticals.