It’s great to see a week devoted to Mens Health. When it comes to men’s health, particularly their reproductive health, men often suffer in silence, scared of ridicule and too embarrassed to speak up – but the symptoms are very real and can have a huge impact on their lives. The good news is that many men’s health conditions are very treatable – and a simple GP visit could make real difference to their quality of life.
GP Dr. Janine David, who specialises in this often neglected part of medicine, explains why men with a low sex drive, low mood, and/or tired with weight gain could be suffering from Testoterone Deficiency. Dr. David says treatment is often straightforward:
“Testosterone Deficiency (TD) becomes more common from age 40, and affects up to 12% of men aged 50 and over. Testosterone deficiency is a treatable medical condition that affects around 790,000 men in the UK.
“If you are over 40 and experiencing symptoms of tiredness, irritability, depression, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle and weight gain, you might be one of them.
What is testosterone deficiency?
“Testosterone plays an important role in physical and emotional wellbeing. Its roles include maintaining muscle and bone strength, sperm production, and the desire to have sex (libido). “Testosterone deficiency is a failure of the body to produce enough testosterone to maintain healthy levels.
Why might you have testosterone deficiency?
“The reasons for having testosterone deficiency are not always clear. However, the chances of it being present are higher in men who have certain other conditions, including:
- Diabetes (up to 50% of men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone levels)
- High blood pressure / cholesterol
- Heart disease
What are the signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency?
“Testosterone deficiency is associated with sexual, physical and mental symptoms that can affect your everyday life:
Your sex life
- Low sex drive
- Problems with erections
- Difficulty achieving orgasm
How you feel
- Low mood or irritability
- Reduced wellbeing
- Loss of concentration
- Hot flushes and sweats
How you look
- More body fat
- Male breasts
- Loss of muscle and strength
“None of these symptoms are specific to testosterone deficiency, so it is important to talk to a doctor to make sure that they are not due to other medical conditions. Talking to a loved one/partner can also help. People you are close to may have noticed changes that you haven’t and they can also provide you with support and advice.
How can testosterone deficiency be treated?
“Testosterone deficiency can be diagnosed easily in most cases by listening to your symptoms and arranging simple bloods tests. Based on these, a doctor can decide whether testosterone therapy (TTh), is suitable for you. There is excellent evidence that, when used properly, TTh can help alleviate all of the symptoms listed above.
“Recent good quality evidence suggests that safe use of testosterone therapy in men with testosterone deficiency is not only associated with improvement in general and sexual symptoms but can also lead to decreased fat mass, increased lean mass, reduced waist circumference and even, better diabetic control.
“There are different treatments for testosterone deficiency; the one that’s best for you will depend on what you and your doctor decide.
- Gels applied to the skin each day
- Injections into the muscle (every 2-3 weeks or every 10–14 weeks)
“Once you start treatment it is important to attend follow-up appointments so that your doctor can check whether your treatment is working, and doing so in a safe manner.”
What can you do to increase your testosterone levels naturally?
- Improving your overall health can help to boost testosterone levels:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Losing weight can help increase testosterone levels.
- Stay active. Regular physical activity helps your brain send out testosterone-boosting signals.
- Reduce stress.
- Eat a healthy balance diet.
About the author
Dr Janine David is the lead physician at Men’s Health Wales, a Private GP clinic situated a few minutes off Junction 37 of the M4 in Cornelly, South Wales.
Dr. David is a Fellow of the European Committee of Sexual Medicine, co-author of the British Society of Sexual Medicine 2017 Guidelines on Adult Testosterone Deficiency and is an internationally renowned speaker on Men’s Health.
Dr. David is an advocate for Men’s Health and understands that conditions such as testosterone deficiency, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are not just lifestyle conditions but are in fact barometers of a man’s overall health.
Mens Health Wales offer a confidential and completely professional service in brand new clinic rooms. Further information about the clinic, the services offered and the associated costs can be found on the clinic website www.menshealthwales.com – Dr. David can be contacted via email at [email protected] or by telephone on 01656 502503.