So you are a man of a certain age and have been feeling lethargic lately. Your performance, both in the office and bedroom, have suffered, and you realised you’ve packed (or lost) a few pounds.
There is a possibility you might be suffering from a condition known as Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome. According to Dr Benjamin Loh, a general practitioner with a special interest in men’s health, it’s a health issue that primarily affects older men. He shares several important facts about Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome, including treatment options that can have you feeling like your old self again.
1. Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome is not the same as menopause.
Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome is a condition in which there is a gradual decrease in the production of the male hormone, testosterone. The term “andropause” is also sometimes used to describe this condition. Menopause, on the other hand, is part of the maturity process where a woman’s menstrual cycle comes to an end, resulting from a notable drop in women’s estrogen levels. A sudden drop in hormones levels can result in significant symptoms as compared to a gradual decline. There is thus no “pause” per se in Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome and the more accurate way to refer to the condition is to describe it as a testosterone or androgen deficiency, or male hypogonadism.
2. Testosterone deficiency is not life-threatening but can negatively impact your life and relationships.
Testosterone plays a major role throughout a man’s life. It is a critical component of sperm production, and is necessary for good bone health. Some of it is converted to estrogen which aids in bone health maintenance. It also preserves muscle mass which indirectly improves fat levels in the body.
Testosterone directly affects sex drive, mood and the ability to have an erection. Research has also shown that testosterone can also affect your cardiovascular health. Several studies have indicated that men who had lower testosterone levels may be predisposed to coronary disease. Symptoms such as mood swings, tiredness, irritability, anxiety, sexual difficulties and weight loss/gain could strain healthy relationships.
3. Diet and exercise can boost your testosterone levels.
If you are not experiencing any symptoms, your doctor may decide that treatment is not necessary. However there are several ways to boost your testosterone levels should you wish to. First is exercise – specifically High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of exercise has shown to increase testosterone levels by up to 17 percent after six months. Resistant weight training and reduction of body fat through diet and exercise may also increase your testosterone levels.
4. There are medical treatment options available.
If you have been diagnosed with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome, your doctor may put you on Testosterone Replacement Therapy. He may prescribe testosterone capsules, injections (administered once every few months) and/or testosterone gel that provide better absorption when applied on the skin.
5. Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome could be misdiagnosed for stress-related conditions so check with your doctor.
The condition is not always easy to diagnose as some symptoms are non-specific. If you are experiencing symptoms mentioned here and think you may have this condition, check with your doctor as he can run tests to confirm the diagnosis.