Most people know about the hormonal changes women experience when they reach menopause. But did you know men also go through hormonal changes that can severely affect their livelihood as they grow older?
TDS or testosterone deficiency syndrome is common and highly treatable. Yet many men do not know they have the condition or that they should see their doctor for a full diagnosis. Here are some quick facts to help you determine if you or someone you know is experiencing TDS.
What causes TDS?
As men age, it’s natural to lose some testosterone, but “testosterone deficiency” is more likely to be caused by serious health conditions. These conditions include kidney disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, obesity, genetic conditions, and diabetes.
Obesity is directly related to several causes of TDS – high blood pressure, type II diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. So often, doctors look at proper diet and exercise as the first line of defense against and treatment for TDS.
How can TDS affect your health?
Men who experience TDS can experience some of the following symptoms:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Worsening of sleep apnea and insomnia
- Weakness and increased recovery time between activity
- Weight gain
- Decreased muscle mass
- Mood swings
- Poor memory and concentration
When should you see a doctor?
Typically, men see their doctor because they have noticed symptoms related to TDS – often fatigue and sexual dysfunction. A routine blood test can identify low testosterone, and most men know there are treatments to increase their levels.
However treating the symptoms is not enough, because there may be a serious condition that could lead to chronic disease or death. It’s essential to get a full health assessment, including analysis of liver enzymes, blood counts and brain hormones that stimulate T production. Your doctor can help you find the specialists you need to ensure you get the best possible diagnosis and treatment.
How can TDS be managed?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may recommend a range of treatments to help increase your testosterone. Lifestyle changes that can improve your overall health and reverse testosterone deficiency can include simple things like changes in diet, exercise, and stress and sleep management.
Your doctor may also refer you to a urologist who can help you explore more extensive testosterone therapy options. These treatments come in the form of short and long-acting injections, inhaled medications, patches, topical creams or gels, and even slow release pellets that can last from three to 12 months.
It is vital to your safety that you should not get testosterone therapy for a “low T,” level alone without symptoms as this has serious health consequences. Furthermore, it’s important to note that while testosterone therapy has been proven effective, different treatments can cause side effects. Talk with your doctor about your lifestyle, symptoms and medical conditions to find the best treatment options for you. Together, you can make a plan to reduce your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.
UT Erlanger Urology offers comprehensive male reproductive and sexual health services, from routine screenings to treatment of complex conditions. Make an appointment today.