After age 40, a man’s testosterone levels begin to slowly decline. Men with low testosterone have a condition often called “andropause” because testosterone is in a class of hormones known as androgens. Androgen deficiency is associated with many common medical conditions including metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis; as well as elevations in triglycerides (TGs), total cholesterol (TC), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).
Low levels of testosterone are associated with specific signs and symptoms, including:
- diminished sex drive and sense of vitality
- erectile dysfunction
- heart disease or worsening cholesterol profile
- reduced muscle mass
- increased fat mass
Testosterone levels are usually measured by blood tests. Hormone therapy is recommended for men with symptoms of low total testosterone levels or high estrogen levels. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has relieved symptoms and improved the quality of life for many men. Laboratory values and symptom relief should be monitored frequently so that any necessary adjustments can be made.
Testosterone is most commonly administered in a transdermal cream or gel so adequate amounts of testosterone can be absorbed to mimic a man’s normal daily production. Testosterone can also be administered as an injection just under the skin or deep into the muscle. It is also available as a fast absorbing sublingual drop or a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth.
Compounded preparations can be very advantageous for patients. Topical (transdermal) hormones can be concentrated into small amounts of cream so the patient does not have to apply a large amount of gel. Special dispensing devices can make dosing easier and improve compliance, and compounded hormones can be more cost effective.
For optimal results, it is vital that hormone replacement therapy be combined with adequate exercise, proper nutrition, and appropriate use of supplements. The knowledgeable staff at Las Colinas Pharmacy will work with you to achieve the best quality of life as you age.