A fascinating, often forgotten about hormone for men is testosterone.
It seems to be a test that is often missed in general health checks. There might be some embarrassment from the male, not wanting to ask, combined with the GP who might not click that this hormone could be playing a role. Whatever the case, testosterone deficiency is an interesting area of medicine and shouldn’t be ignored.
This isn’t an exclusive problem to men either, testosterone deficiency can occur (and quite often does) in women.
I tend to screen those men who have low libido, erectile difficulties, memory ‘fog’, symptoms of depression, low energy, muscle wasting or just ‘don’t feel right’.
It is also important to ensure there is nothing cause the low testosterone and the GP may need to consider these secondary causes with brain imaging or other hormonal tests. In saying that, it is mostly an isolated problem. It is estimated >5% of men over 50 in Australia are testosterone deficient.
The good news is, there is treatment. At present my most common treatment is an injection, given every 6-8 weeks by our nurses. There is also a cream available if it is too hard to come into the clinic.
To enable the medicine to be given under the PBS (Pharmaceutical benefits scheme), there are specific requirements such as that the testosterone needs to be less than 6 on two separate readings. There also needs to be a specialist who arranges the first script.
Off the PBS, prices may vary of this treatment.
From my experience, once on treatment, a lot of the symptoms are reversed, and men return to feeling human again. Keep in mind that treatment is ongoing and ideally shouldn’t be stopped.
Check out this article in healthy male for more: Testosterone deficiency – Low Testosterone – Symptoms & Treatments | Healthy Male