Low testosterone is easy to treat and can be life changing
By Sarah Te Slaa, Multimedia Producer/ Anchor - email
There are several different options to treat low T including gels, patches, implants, and injections.
As men get older, their testosterone levels begin to drop. That's a normal part of the aging process, but what's not normal are the unpleasant side effects of not having enough testosterone.
No doubt, you've probably seen the commercials that urge men to talk to their doctors about low T, or low testosterone levels. The commercials may be carefree, but it's a pretty serious problem.
"As men age and usually after the age of 30, we lose about one to two percent of our testosterone throughout our lifetime," says Dr. Paul Parmelee with Floyd Valley Family Medicine Clinic in Le Mars, Iowa.
Dr. Parmelee says he has a handful of patients with low T. He says it's something many men don't want to talk about.
"I think some people think this is just a natural part of aging and it really doesn't have to be that," says Dr. Parmelee.
He says men come to him looking for answers as to why they are experiencing a variety of symptoms, like extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, and low sex drive. A low T diagnosis is made through a simple blood test, but other possible health problems are ruled out first.
"If a man feels these symptoms, he needs to be seen and be examined," says Dr. Parmelee. "Other laboratory tests should be done to determine if it's from low T or if there are other medical problems that need to be addressed."
Dr. Parmelee says treatment for low T is pretty easy and there are several different options, including gels, patches, implants, and injections.
"Replacement therapy can make a big difference in men's lives," says Dr. Parmelee.
And to do that, he suggests having a heart to heart with your doctor first.
"Don't be afraid to come in and be open about it because it's such an important part of our life and it can be such a life changing treatment that it's worthwhile to come in and have it addressed," says Dr. Parmelee.
There are risks to the testosterone replacement therapy. The treatment can cause sleep apnea, raise the red blood cell count, and acne. There's also current research into if it increases the risk of prostate problems.
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