As they age, most men assume that impotence or reduced sexual desire or stamina, depression, reduced muscle mass, falling energy levels and/or hair loss, as well as irritability and memory problems are all regular signs of aging and that there is little that can be done about it. However, these are all symptoms of low testosterone, as are a decrease of hemoglobin, thinning hair, osteoporosis, and increased breast size. If you are a man of a certain age, or have been experiencing symptoms that may be a result of low testosterone, it may be a sign to visit your urologist. Here is what you need to know about low testosterone levels, and if you may have them.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the hormone that gives men their distinctly male characteristics such as a deep voice, muscular build and facial hair. As men age, their testosterone levels start to decrease. By the time many men reach their 50s, the symptoms of diminishing testosterone – commonly referred to as “Low T” – start to become more noticeable and often of some concern.
Causes of Low Testosterone
A fairly common condition in men, Low Testosterone is considered a normal sign of aging that affects approximately 40% of men 45 and older. There is no one reason why testosterone starts to decrease as men age, however, falling testosterone levels can be hastened by several factors, to include injury or infection, cancer or its treatments, alcoholism, stress, obesity, and chronic illnesses like diabetes. Liver and kidney conditions, sleep apnea, anabolic steroid abuse, and a host of other illnesses and treatments, and even common medications, can also contribute to low testosterone levels.
Diagnosing Low Testosterone
Diagnosing Low Testosterone can be done with a simple blood test performed in your urologist’s office. During that visit, your urologist will complete a physical examination to verify other concerns that may be a sign of Low Testosterone; these include the amount of body hair, changes in fat distribution, anemia due to decreased red blood cell production, high cholesterol, breast size, changes in sleep patterns, and presence of any lumps in the testicles, scrotum and penis. Your urologist will also check out your peripheral vision to rule out a tumor in the pituitary gland, which is another cause of low testosterone levels.
Treating Low Testosterone
Low Testosterone is a relatively simple condition to treat. If a doctor recommends testosterone replacement therapy, there are several options to consider like a once-a-day transdermal skin patch, gels that can be absorbed directly through the skin, injections and even nasal sprays. Your urologist will assess your overall health and may refer you to or work in partnership with other medical specialists to ensure your treatment addresses all symptoms. Likewise, your urologist may recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as exercising, reducing stress, getting more rest, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Your Urologist in Phoenix
Balancing work, family, and social responsibility often leaves men feeling stressed out, depressed and moody. But these can also be symptoms of Low Testosterone. An appointment with your urologist can rule out other conditions like high blood pressure or problems with your thyroid. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms and live in the Phoenix area, contact Ironwood Urology and get answers to your questions. You may call them at (480) 961-2323 or, request an appointment today!