Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Testing Low Testosterone Levels


Symptoms of low testosterone such as decreased energy levels and a diminished sex drive may often be caused by underlying medical conditions. So how do you know if your testosterone levels are low? How can you get tested for low testosterone?


You've probably done your research and have heard about all the symptoms of low testosterone on Radio or TV advertisements.  Ads in magazines for symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and a diminished interest in sex and other conditions like not having enough energy or perhaps gaining a little extra weight are ubiquitous. Men with symptoms like having a decrease in muscle mass with increases in body fat, depression or generally just not feeling like their old selves make it common for individuals to look for help. The first stop is usually doctor google. Where the internet can be extremely useful in providing information, the best choice is to speak to an expert in person. Many of the men’s health clinics that you find aren’t staffed by medical doctors, rather nurses or physician assistants. When you call, ask whether or not the provider is a board-certified physician and what there specialty is. More often than not, you’ll find many of the physicians went to medical school and specialized in an area of medicine unrelated to hormone therapy and preventative medicine. Not all doctors are the same. Think of it in terms of automobiles. Would you want a company that specializes in radio and speaker installation working on your engine and replacing your head gaskets? Or would you rather have a specialist fix your car? Expertise and experience are very important factors to consider in medicine.

But just what are some causes of low testosterone in men? One of the more significant risk factors for low testosterone is obesity.  Even in men in their 20’s being overweight can significantly impact their production of testosterone.  A recent study that was published in the Journal of clinical endocrinology investigated testosterone levels in 25 overweight men that were all under the age of 20.  The study showed that everyone of them had testosterone levels that were 40 to 50% below normal levels for men in their age group.  The problem is that it's difficult for men to lose weight with low testosterone levels.  They have less energy and motivation to start the lifestyle changes needed to burn the fat, build the muscle and increase their metabolism. So they continue to gain weight and their testosterone levels continue to drop. These men are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Is it impossible to overcome? No. But it’s certainly a difficult place to start for a man who is trying to improve their health. Its no wonder why in the United States that more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese. More than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults are considered to be obese. More than 1 in 20 (6.3 percent) have extreme obesity and almost 3 in 4 men (74 percent) are considered to be overweight or obese according to statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes.  

What symptoms prompt men to seek help for low testosterone? Often, we have men who come in to our clinic because they need help and treating erectile dysfunction issues.  During their consultation and exam, our physician will ask them questions relating to their energy levels, lifestyle and libido.  After performing a simple A.D.A.M. test, we typically can see a correlation between their symptoms and low testosterone levels.  The fortunate news is that its easy to test, diagnose and treat low T.

Is it normal for men to have lower testosterone levels as they age? Yes. Inevitably men's testosterone levels will decrease naturally with age.  One can expect the testosterone levels to drop by 1 to 2% annually. But that doesn’t mean a 40 year old man with T-levels of 300 to acquiesce to the fact that it’s probably due to “old age”  One of the biggest complaints that you see is men feeling tired. 40-year-old man with fatigue and no energy can't figure out why they feel the way they do.  Being tired doesn't necessarily make you a candidate for TRT but it is one of the symptoms that the physician may look for.  The Endocrine Society suggest testing men for low testosterone who presented the following symptoms. If an otherwise healthy male has low testosterone levels, taking a therapeutic dose of testosterone will help alleviate these symptoms and make them feel better and improve their health.


  • ·         Diminished libido
  • ·         Erectile dysfunction (which doesn't respond to traditional ED medication)
  • ·         Low energy levels and fatigue
  • ·         Increased recovery time after physical exertion
  • ·         Weak bones
  • ·         Depression and mood swings
  • ·         Weight gain
  • ·         Increased body fat
  • ·         Poor sleep quality at night
  • ·         decreased strength/mass of muscles
  • ·         decreased body hair
  • ·         swelling/tenderness in the breast tissue
  • ·         hot flashes
  • ·         effects on cholesterol metabolism



So if you do you have some of these symptoms, what will the doctor do to check for low T? Typically, a blood test is ordered and a physical exam and in person consultation is required.  Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day so most physicians like to get the blood drawn in the morning when the levels are the highest (usually between 6-8am is when a males levels peak) but the difference between a daily high and low level in a person can change by as much as 25%!  Changes in social settings and your sleep patterns will potentially influence this however it’s safe to say that most men follow this general rule in nature. Normal testosterone levels are between 300 ng/dL on the low-end and 1100 on the high-end.  If your levels are low according to the bloodwork your physician will be able to discuss options with you.  Usually free, total and bioavailable testosterone levels are measured as well as estradiol, PSA and a complete blood count.  Depending on what the doctor interprets, there may be some follow up tests to determine a cause and appropriate treatment may be required.

For a patient and the clinic, it's important to follow up and monitor the patient's results because not everyone responds the same way to treatment. Most patients will begin to notice results in a just a few weeks and really see tangible changes in a month. Most men however will tell you the benefits are life-changing.  Patients typically noticed increased energy and interest in sex right away.  They have an increased desire and improvement in performance sexually and better overall mood.  They lose fat and build muscle and have an overall increased level of confidence and improved quality-of-life.  One patient summed up his experience which seemed to echo what many men seem to feel. “I wish I started this sooner…I didn’t even notice how bad I felt until I began TRT…”

NovaGenix Medical Director, Timothy Sigman MD is a board-certified physician who specializes in internal medicine with close to 2 decades of experience in hormone replacement therapy. To schedule a consultation to test, diagnose and treat low T, please call us at 561-277-8260 and visit us on the web at www.NovaGenix.org