Why Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
It sneaks up on you with a cruel consistency. The years pass by until what was normal for you slowly transitions into a new normal that isn’t really normal at all, but a pale shadow of what it once was.
You may have a vague impression of things being different, that you have a few more aches and pains than you used to, but other than that you really can’t remember exactly when things started to head south, literally and figuratively.
The new normal doesn’t involve hopping out of bed with enthusiasm, excited about what the day has to offer. Nor is the new normal characterized by clear thinking, quick decision-making, and worst of all, plain old excitement about being alive.
No, the new normal is often characterized by a ho-hum attitude to a whole lot of things that used to excite you. Important decisions are often fear based. Sex is obligatory, perfunctory, and ultimately disappointing to you and your partner, if it’s there at all. The world, instead of being full of vivid colors, seems like it’s based on various shades of blah.
And it’s not just mental or psychological, either. Your slack muscled, ever-softening body gradually starts to reflect what’s going on in your head, and if we looked inside your body, we might see cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, osteoporosis, and prostate problems.
It’s as if death is playing you like a fish on a hook, slowly letting out line until you’re exhausted and give up on living.
Sometimes, you don’t even know how hard it’s hit you until that one day when the virile man you thought you were gets to a crowded airport terminal only to have some young woman get up and offer you, the “old guy,” her seat.
Talk about a cold dose of reality!
Whether or not this abysmal new normal describes you to a T or is only partly true, the culprit is often a reduction in testosterone, a hormone that plays a big part in physical, mental, and, of course, sexual health.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Starting at about the age of 30, male testosterone levels start to drop. Maybe it’s just a consequence of things starting to wear out, or maybe it’s just that nature wants you to slowly die to make room for others. Sure, in her eyes, you’re past your prime reproductive years so she’s not really interested in you.
But nature’s not content with just letting your testosterone levels slowly peter out; she wanted to give you other obstacles, too. She made it so aging males would experience an increase in a protein called sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. This covetous protein grabs onto circulating Testosterone and chemically binds it up – holds it hostage — so it isn’t available to do its job in the body.
The testosterone left over to do the necessary work is called “bioavailable” testosterone, and combined with declining levels in general, there just isn’t enough of it to do all that it needs to do.
This reduction in testosterone and SHBG continues to progress, decade-by-decade, year-by-year, so by the time a man is in his 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s, he may be running on vapor.
Some people accept that decline as a natural part of life, of nature doing her thing. They’re certainly welcome to that view of life, but there are plenty of others who refuse to go gentle into that good night.
A Malady of the Young as Well as the Old
Then there’s the other problem, the one that no one really talks about. For some reason, be it environmental (chemical versions of estrogen in the environment), dietary, psychological (depression), or chemical (various prescription drugs), testosterone levels are dropping at a precipitous rate in younger men, too; men who are as young as 30 or 40.
As a result, the testosterone level of your grandfather was probably twice as high as yours at a similar point in life. It’s a well-documented fact that testosterone levels have dropped by almost 50% in the past two generations.
In one way, these younger guys are lucky because the new normal hit them so fast, they remember what the old normal felt like; they notice the difference and the more intrepid among them might want to do something about it right away and improve the quality of their lives.
But here’s the sad problem they face. They’ll go see a doctor and sure, the more savvy physicians out there might recognize their patient’s symptoms as those of testosterone deficiency and they’ll order a blood test. Great! Only the blood test will almost always show them as having “normal” testosterone levels and the doc will refuse to treat the deficiency.
Here’s the thing, the normal Testosterone range for a man is 200 to 1100 nanograms per deciliter of blood. You don’t have to be a doctor to see that 200 to 1100 is a ridiculously large, Grand-Canyonesque range. Even your poodle would likely register as “normal.”
But while a lower-tier level of 200 to 500 might be normal for some people, it might not be normal for you. Normal for you might have been towards the upper end of the scale, but since no doctor ever thinks to order a Testosterone baseline for someone in their twenties, patients in their 30’s or 40’s are often forced to play this silly, maddening game where they’re ruled by some arbitrary lab values.
You could even register a paltry 201 nanograms per deciliter and some doctors would turn you down for treatment, even though you exhibit every symptom of testosterone deficiency!
Plus there’s the perception of need. Conventional doctors assume that “no one ever dies from low testosterone,” so they might not see a reason to treat it. The trouble, as recent studies have shown, plenty of people do end up dying from low testosterone, as it’s been associated with cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, a higher death rate from all causes, and death as a result of system-wide decrepitude.
It’s crucial that a responsible physician observe his patient, listen to his symptoms, evaluate him, and, if needed, formulate a treatment based on humanitarian and scientific principles to restore his health and vitality, sometimes regardless of what the numbers say.
What are the Specific Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
The good news is that all of the side effects of having a testosterone deficiency can be reversed, many of them in just a matter of days or weeks.
During the first two weeks following testosterone treatment, most men will report an improved outlook on life. They’ll feel better, they’ll have more energy, and they’ll want a bigger piece of the pie that is life.
After three or four weeks, they’ll likely start to realize what the old normal was like, particularly in the sex department. They’ll generally have more sexual fantasies, more sexual dreams, spontaneous erections, and repeated instances of “morning wood.”
The cosmetic and health benefits start to manifest themselves in two or three months and continue for years. Men on testosterone replacement therapy will experience increases in strength, decreases in body fat, improved blood values, and better results in general in their annual physicals.
After several months, the new normal is a lot like the old normal.