Androgens are male hormones which regulate both physical and mental characteristics of men. As men age, androgen levels diminish, beginning in their 40’s. The concept of “andropause” is not well understood, but unlike menopause, the drop in hormone levels is gradual and symptoms may be subtle. Symptoms include physical changes as well as psychiatric ones. Men can experience a loss of muscle mass, increase in abdominal weight or circumference, decreased energy levels, poor erections and a decrease in seminal volume. They can also develop low sexual desire, depression, anxiety and irritability. Low testosterone has also been associated with lower high-density cholesterol (HDL) levels, an increase in total body fat and lower bone density (or osteoporosis).
It is important to diagnosis androgen deficiency or low-T syndrome as it can affect not only patient’s overall health but also the quality of life. Dr. Movassaghi pays special attention to testosterone levels in all of our patients but only selectively treat men who are having symptoms, along with abnormal test results. Testosterone replacement can most effectively be done through injections, patches, and gels. Injections are usually given monthly or quarterly. However, they cause a surge once given and gradually diminish to abnormally low levels before the next injection. This “roller coaster” effect can be minimized through patches and gels which deliver a more consistent level to the patient. Injections are usually less expensive and covered by most insurance plans. Men on Androgen replacement should be monitored not only for their testosterone, but also cholesterol levels, red blood cell levels as well as prostate cancer. Contrary to previous beliefs, testosterone does not cause prostate cancer. However, if prostate cancer is already present, testosterone can help it grow.
If you believe you or your partner are suffering from androgen deficiency, make an appointment to visit Dr. Movassaghi for a full evaluation.