Testosterone is a hormone found more predominantly in men, and it is necessary for men to produce sperm. If you don't produce enough testosterone, you are suffering from male hypogonadism or Low-T. Some types of male hypogonadism can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy.
How do I know if I have low testosterone?
In adult men, the symptoms of low testosterone can include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hot flashes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in beard and body hair growth
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Loss of bone mass (osteoporosis)
Low testosterone can be identified through a blood test ordered by your doctor. This test is typically ordered in the morning hours, when levels are highest. If tests confirm you have low testosterone, further testing can determine if a testicular disorder or a pituitary abnormality is the cause.
Why is it best to see a urologist if I think I might have low testosterone?
In recent years, there has been an increase in aggressive marketing of low testosterone therapy medications directly to the public. Some clinics offer testosterone therapy to men as a potential, but unproven, cure for a variety of symptoms related to aging. They may do a poor job of evaluating your overall health and figuring out the actual root causes of symptoms. They may even miss underlying causes of symptoms (such as heart disease) that can worsen without proper treatment.
Testosterone replacement therapies in men with normal testosterone levels are ineffective at best, and harmful at worst. Dr. Perez and his colleagues at Urology Specialists of West Florida provide what he calls “urology-directed healthcare” to provide patients accurate diagnosis of their condition and evidence-based, safe, and effective treatments.
How is low testosterone treated?
Treatment with testosterone replacement therapy is recommended for men with consistently low testosterone levels. The method of administering testosterone will depend on your medical history, your tolerance for specific side effects, and your preferences. Delivery systems include:
- Gel applied to the skin
- Gum and cheek (buccal cavity)
- Implantable pellets