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    Do You Know the Early Warning Signs of Low-T?

    Adam Becker, MD Deaconess Clinic Urology 10/06/2018
    Which of the Following Symptoms are Warning Signs for Low-T in men? [Mark All that Apply]
    • Low sex drive
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Depressive mood
    • Decreased body hair
    • Decreased muscle mass
    • Fatigue
    • All of the Above
    The correct answer is “All of the Above”. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be a disorder known as hypogonadism, more commonly referred to as low testosterone or low T.
    Low testosterone is an embarrassing condition that affects roughly 40% of men over age 45 according to one study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice. However, doctors today turn to a number of methods of increasing your testosterone levels. Perhaps one of the following treatment options can help: 
    • Dietary Change – Foods rich in zinc and vitamin D, such as tuna, milk, and beans, can help balance testosterone levels, but they are not cures for low T.
    • Exercise and Weight Loss – Resistance-based exercise has been shown to temporarily increase testosterone levels. However, this increase is mostly seen in younger, rather than older, men. Cardiovascular exercise may contribute to overall weight loss, which has been shown to increase testosterone, especially in obese patients. 
    • Herbal Supplements – Tribulus Terrestris, Pine Pollen, Stinging Nettle Root, and Ginseng may help increase testosterone. While these supplements are readily available, there is limited research supporting their effectiveness. Furthermore, these supplements are not closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 
    • Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – TRT is prescribed by your doctor and comes in the form of patches, gels, injections, or pellets implanted just below the skin. Research has shown that TRT improves sexual function, increases energy and muscle strength, decreases fat mass, and decreases insulin resistance associated with diabetes. TRT also improves bone density, decreasing risk of bone fractures from osteoporosis due to aging. While this treatment is highly effective, it may present risks to patients with known prostate or breast cancer, worsen lower urinary tract symptoms, and exacerbate uncontrolled obstructive sleep apnea. Controversy remains whether there is any increase risk of serious cardiovascular events with replacement therapy as there is evidence of both harmful and beneficial cardiac side effects.
    Clinical trials are ongoing for medications for Low Testosterone.  Contact your doctor to discuss the option best for you or to see if you might be a candidate for a clinical trial.

    Learn more about the author

    Adam Becker, MD
    Specialty: Urology
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