Testosterone is the male hormone that is responsible for many of the differences between men and women.
Testosterone is the male hormone that is responsible for many of the differences between men and women. Though it is found in women in much smaller amounts, certain levels of testosterone are required in men. Low testosterone can cause sexual problems and reduced desire and libido. Recently, information has come out showing that men’s testosterone level can reduce abnormally with age. The term "male menopause" has been used to describe what happens in some men as they age. This can include weakening of muscles, loss of mental function, depression, weakening of bones, anemia, and loss of sexual function and desire.
Recent estimates show that approximately 13 million men in the United States experience testosterone deficiency and less than 10% receive treatment for the condition. Studies have shown that men with obesity, diabetes, or hypertension may be twice as likely to have low testosterone levels.
Diagnosis is through a blood test which should be performed in the morning and is best performed at least twice, as fluctuations are normal. San Fernando Valley Urological Associates performs testosterone testing in the office.
Treatment is done by replacing testosterone to its normal levels. Testosterone pills are not available in the United States and can be dangerous. The simplest treatment is a gel that is applied every morning to the shoulders or belly. The hormone is absorbed through the skin. This method most closely resembles the body’s natural release of testosterone in the body. The most common drawback is cost.
Testosterone patches are also available.
Testosterone injections are common. This involves an injection in the arm, optimally done weekly but can be done less often. We can instruct patients on self injection or they come into the office. The drawback of this treatment is erratic testosterone levels.
Risks of testosterone replacement are a theoretical enlargement of the prostate gland and unmasking of an occult prostate cancer.