TESTOSTERONE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (TDS)
More Common Than You Think
In Singapore, it is estimated that about 26%, or one in four men aged 45 years and older, have some degree of testosterone deficiency. This may happen as you age. However, when testosterone levels go lower than normal, adverse health consequences can impact your quality of life.
Low testosterone is more common than you think. The signs and symptoms are usually subtle and ignored as part and parcel of ageing. Read on to know if you have telltale signs of low testosterone and the various restoration therapies that can help.
What Does Testosterone Do?
Testosterone is an important sex hormone for men, as it is needed to maintain the male reproductive organs and manliness, such as deepening of the voice and the growth of facial and body hair. In addition, testosterone improves and maintains:
1. Muscle mass and strength
2. Bone density
3. A man’s overall sense of well-being, energy and drive.
Testosterone deficiency can result in the following symptoms. However, not all symptoms are experienced in every individual.
- Reduced facial and body hair
- Increase in waist circumference due to increased visceral fat
- Decreased lean muscle mass
- A combination of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance called “metabolic syndrome”
- Reduced libido (reduced sexual desire)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Depressed mood
- Poor sleep
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Testosterone levels peak at 15 to 30 years of age. Then, testosterone production gradually declines usually from the age of 40.
Low testosterone can also happen when there is disease or damage to organs that secrete and produce the pre-hormone or hormone such as the pituitary gland, testicles, or a hormone producing area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Certain Medications or Treatments
Some antidepressants, and chemotherapy or radiation targeting the testicles, have been associated with low testosterone.
Existing Medical Conditions
Men with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone. Studies have also shown that obesity and hypertension are linked to low testosterone. It has been found that improving testosterone levels may improve sugar control.
How Can Testosterone Be Restored?
Speak to your doctor. Laboratory blood tests ordered by your doctor can help establish if you actually do have low testosterone. If so, testosterone replacement treatments are available. Different types of testosterone treatments can be prescribed today to best suit your lifestyle routine and personal preferences.
How it is used
Applied on the skin
- Allows you to achieve normal testosterone levels over 24 hours.
- Convenient and can be easily used at home.
- Testosterone gel is rapidly absorbed allowing the benefits of the treatment to be experienced more quickly.
- Your doctor can adjust the dose to achieve the most optimal testosterone level; the treatment and its effects can also be stopped at any time, should you need to discontinue therapy.
How it is used
- Patient may experience pain at the injection site.
- Traditional preparations cause testosterone to reach very high levels initially.
- Testosterone typically falls below normal levels at the end of an injection cycle.
- Newer preparations avoid the highs and the lows of testosterone levels.
How it is used
- While taking pills can be convenient, testosterone pills are associated with inconsistent effectiveness.
- The pills have to be taken multiple times daily, on a regular basis.
- Some types of pills are associated with liver toxicity.
Studies have shown that boosting testosterone levels can:
- Enhance libido
- Improve energy, mood and sense of well-being
- Increase muscle mass and reduce fat, while improving muscular strength and bone strength
- May improve blood sugar control in diabetics, and with continued exercise and diet control, weight loss
The goal of testosterone therapy is to restore your testosterone levels to a normal range, as well as alleviate the symptoms associated with low testosterone, such as reduced sexual desire, mood swings, fatigue, poorer muscle and bone composition.
While results vary from individual to individual, you may experience an improvement in your drive and energy levels, enhancing your sense of well-being. There could be increased muscle mass and a reduction in body fat. Diabetics may experience better blood sugar control.
With continued exercise and diet control, you can also look forward to more weight loss. Discuss with your doctor on the treatment that best suits your needs and lifestyle preference.
Myth vs Fact
Myth : Testosterone causes violent behavior.
Fact : The opposite is true. Men with low testosterone become irritable, grumpy and in general have a lower quality of life. However, their moods often improve when their testosterone levels are boosted to normal levels.
Myth : Testosterone is dangerous and can cause prostate cancer.
Fact : Actually, low testosterone is associated with a greater risk for prostate cancer, and more aggressive disease. Risk factors such as lifestyle, diet, age or genes are real contributors to prostate cancer risk.