Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, affects more than just your sex drive. Whether you’ve noticed a drop in your libido, are gaining weight in places you didn’t before, or just aren’t feeling like yourself, the cause might be low testosterone. At his practice in Santa Monica, California, board-certified urologist Mark J. Kelly, MD, is experienced in helping men manage andropause, or age-related hormonal changes, as well as other causes of low testosterone. To schedule an appointment at the Medical Office of Mark J. Kelly, MD, Inc. call or book online today.
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. Hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate many bodily processes, and sex hormones are specifically responsible for sexual development and reproduction.
Testosterone stimulates many of the physical changes you experience when you go through puberty, including:
Throughout adulthood, testosterone continues to play several important roles. You may associate it with your sex drive and sperm production, but that’s not the only process it’s responsible for. Testosterone also increases your red blood cell production, helps regulate your mood, and affects your overall energy levels.
It’s normal to start producing less testosterone around age 30. This drop in testosterone levels has different effects on men. Sometimes, this results in a set of bothersome symptoms, usually beginning between the ages of 40 and 60.
Collectively, symptoms resulting from an age-related drop in testosterone are known as andropause. Andropause is sometimes referred to as “male menopause,” but there are some key differences other than gender. Unlike menopause, it doesn’t mark the end of your fertility, and the change in your hormone levels is gradual rather than sudden.
Signs and symptoms of andropause include:
Note that these symptoms aren’t always the result of low testosterone. Before moving forward with treatment for low testosterone, Dr. Kelly rules out other conditions. For example, erectile dysfunction may result from untreated high blood pressure or diabetes, and clinical depression may be responsible for changes in mood and energy levels.
In addition to andropause, low testosterone can affect men of all ages as a result of other conditions, including HIV/AIDS, pituitary gland tumors, and undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
After confirming a diagnosis of andropause or low testosterone using a blood test, Dr. Kelly may recommend treatment with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT is available in several forms, including an injection, patch, or gel. By correcting your testosterone levels, TRT can improve your energy, mood, and sex drive, and help you to rebuild muscle mass and lose weight.
Dr. Kelly encourages patients to make lifestyle adjustments in order to get the highest possible benefit from TRT. Behaviors including losing excess weight, getting regular physical activity, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule naturally improve your body’s testosterone production.
Andropause and low testosterone may be draining, but there are treatments that can revitalize you. To learn more, call the Medical Office of Mark J. Kelly, MD, Inc. or use the online booking tool.