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Hormone Therapy For Men

Hormone therapy isn't just for women anymore

Hormone therapy for men isn't brand new, but it is substantially underused.  New formulations are now available, and so this is changing and men can now reverse many effects of depleting hormone balances and obtain some other very enjoyable results.  

Hormones can be prescribed for a variety of conditions, but as men grow older, they will lose substantial portions of their testosterone production.  Our entire body ages over time and just like every other part of our body, those parts that produce hormones tend to slow down. 

The decline starts in the mid-20's though the effects aren't all that noticeable until the mid-30's.  By early to mid-40's some men find that sexual performance is questionable and desire is diminishing.  By mid-late 50's most men are having some performance issues due to low testosterone levels, though this is often the case as early as the late 30's or early 40's.  

The effects of low testosterone aren't immediately as noticeable as they are for women.  While menopause symptoms can hit a woman like a train, and in and out over a couple of years, ANDROPAUSE (male menopause) continues to creep up over time and can easily last 15-20 years.  

While all humans have decreased hormone output as they age and these are easily tested, andropause has almost not been studied as an independent subject.  As a result, there are still a few doctors that doubt it exists.  

These of course are the same ones that said PMS wasn't real 30 years ago and 60 years ago denied menopause.  Most would probably also deny a sunny day if there wasn't a test for it and it was accepted by the AMA.  

The negative results of normal testosterone loss have become big business in the USA with new products hitting the market directly aimed at the symptom rather than the cause.  

A whole host of sexual dysfunction medications are now available such as Cialis and Viagra.  Beyond that, other creams and supplements are also being sold to combat what is now known as EDS (erectile dysfunction) that plague most men sooner or later.

There can be a number of causes for EDS including other medications, diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, job pressure, and the effects of long-term smoking.  

In many cases however, significant testosterone loss is at least a partial contributor.  In many cases, just correcting this one imbalance can make all the difference necessary to live life normally.

Men also tend to have other effects from the loss of testosterone that can include:

  • Loss of sex drive (libido)

  • Lethargy and malaise 

  • Muscle loss

  • Hard to get rid of fat

  • Crankiness

  • Depression

  • Headaches

  • Loss of focus

  • Water retention

  • Higher bad cholesterol

While male hormone therapy may not immediately reverse these effects, the above symptoms can be reduced or eliminated over time.  

Male hormone therapy does not mean that a 50 year old man will have the body of a 30 year old man.  We still age.  However, with proper diet and exercise, you can probably come close to being as healthy and sexually active as a 30 year old male.  

Although it can take time to change some of these negatives, this doesn't mean you won't notice wonderful effects right away.  

Within a week after beginning the testosterone replacement therapy, the average man will start to notice a strong increase in sex desire as well as sexual stamina and capability.  Moods can also start to change and all of these changes will continue to increase as the hormones continue to become effective.  Cases of mild depression may also be lessened in the short run. 

Aside from a direct effect on the libido, these results can also be very emotionally healthy.  Our emotions are strongly tied to our sexual well-being and we all need physical attention no matter how old we get.  

Revving up the engines again can have a dramatic effect on how a person feels about themselves and their readiness to take on the world.  

Are hormones safe?

This is and should be a continuously asked and studied question.  So far, several European studies have concluded that bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic ones, but it may be years before there is any conclusive evidence.  

Bottom line, you should have a thorough checkup before starting any program and have regular checkups in between.  This of course makes for good common sense anyway.  

Testing and retesting is critical.  The ideal testosterone levels should be between 240 - 1100ng/dl.  While your doctor may suggest that your level of 250 is in the normal range, it's at the very bottom of the normal range.  Testosterone replacement therapy can raise it to the upper end of this normal range and give you far more benefits.  

Conversely, if your testosterone levels are too high, it can start to shut down your normal body's production of hormones, and that's most definitely not a good thing.  Your doctor will continue to run blood tests routinely to make sure all the balances are in check.  

Always discuss any treatment program with all of your doctors.  They might be recommending treatments, drug regimens, or just looking at your entire body with age in mind.  If your hormone levels are different from that which is expected at your age, your doctor needs to know.    

Other thoughts

It is recommended that married couples start hormone therapy together.  Yes, it is that serious!  A man starting on testosterone therapy alone will almost certainly outpace his wife of the same age, leading to frustration for both, but for different reasons.  

Even with the lesser spikes of bio-identical hormone implants, many men report a sex drive similar to that of age 20 somewhere in the cycle.  It's nice to have a wife with that same sex drive at the same time.  It should be noted that many people report a much stronger sex drive for the first treatment than later on when their body learns to handle the hormones again.  

Similar hormone treatments for women are also available, and yes men... they include just the right amount of testosterone for her too.  Dust off the vacation club and fire up the Victoria Secret credit card, because things could get crazy.  

Other relatively immediate benefits might also include an increase in a fun-loving spirit, more desire for romance, less sleep required because of better sleep when you get it, a better ability to lose weight, and interestingly enough - some people report fewer trips to the bathroom.  This is particularly nice in the middle of the night.  

Again, these are beneficial side effects and you may or may not experience them all as each individual is different.  

The downsides are simple:

As you would suspect with any regimen, you must undergo a battery of blood tests called a hormone panel to determine what your current balances are.  This test will probably be repeated several times over the first few months to see if you are getting the right amount and how fast they are depleting.  Your dosage may be changed as a result of these tests.  

After the first round, it is mostly likely that you will only get this test once or twice per year.   This is to determine if you are still on a good and proper dose, as it may have to increase as you age.  

Tests are also important when self-medicating with creams and patches because mistakes do happen and sometimes people think that more of a good thing is always better.  This is not the case.  Hormone levels that are too high can cause other things to go wrong.   

You should also undergo a checkup for cancer before you start and this might include additional tests if the results come back other than as normal.  A testicular exam for abnormalities is also a good idea and this can be used to set a baseline for future examinations.  Talk with your doctor about additional tests that should be run.  For obvious reasons, these aren't necessary for women.  

The cost for hormone therapy isn't huge compared to treatments for other medical programs, but it's not like buying aspirin either.  If you smoke, give up smoking and you will save just about as much as the testosterone replacement program will cost you.  Check with your insurance company to determine if these treatments are covered.  Costs of hormone treatments will vary depending upon how much you need.  

The last negative (depending upon your perspective) is that you might find that you spend far more time thinking of sex than what you are used to and your libido exceeds your time available.  A helpful suggestion - plan a long weekend honeymoon about 3-4 weeks into the program.  It might not be a restful one, but it will be enjoyable.  

Have fun!

 

 

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