The muscle weakness, fatigue and mood swings that you’ve been experiencing with increasing frequency lately may be more than random signs of the aging process. They may be symptoms of low testosterone, a common affliction that affects millions of middle-aged men.
Low testosterone, also known as “Low T,” has two potential instigators. The first is a signaling conflict between the area of the brain that directs testosterone production and the testicles, which produce the bulk of the body’s testosterone supply. The second is a physical inability of the testicles to produce the hormone in the necessary quantities.
In either case, “Low T” has the potential to become chronic and cause hypogonadism, a medical problem common in men with low body levels of free testosterone. Most doctors set the lower threshold for “normal” levels of testosterone at 300 nanograms per deciliter of blood.
There are a number of “Low T” warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore. These may include simultaneous feelings of fatigue and physical weakness, pronounced mood swings that feature bouts of depressive behavior, and a weakened sex drive. You may also notice accelerated losses of body hair, muscle mass and bone density in combination with increased levels of body fat. Many men who suffer from hypogonadism report dramatic weight gain and a reduced need to shave.
Men who suffer from chronic low levels of testosterone often attack the problem directly using testosterone-replacement treatments. These come in three principal forms: topical gels, sub-dermal implants and directly-injected liquids.
Topical gels are the most popular and least painful of these three types of treatment. Typically applied daily to the upper arms, shoulders and upper back, these products provide short-term boosts of testosterone and may slowly increase baseline levels of free testosterone within the body. They have two principal drawbacks: They can’t come into contact with water during the hours-long drying process and they can’t be directly handled by women or children.
The two most effective brands of testosterone-replacement gels, Androgel and Testin, are available by prescription and may be covered by your medical insurance plan. Before you ask your doctor for either medication, you may wish to check that this is the case: Monthly supplies of these gels typically retail for $500 or more.
Sub-dermal pellets provide testosterone boosts that last longer and require less maintenance. Although they must be inserted by a doctor, this typically occurs during a routine outpatient procedure and involves little pain. In fact, you may eventually forget that you have one inside of you: These implants give off a steady dose of hormone for three to six months with no prompting or adjustment. Like gels, they can be quite expensive without proper insurance coverage.
Many doctors recommend liquid testosterone injections over topical gels or sub-dermal implants. While these shots may boost free testosterone levels within the body for longer than two weeks, most doctors recommend dosing intervals of no more than 14 days. Their clear effectiveness must be weighed against their equally clear drawbacks.
First, as each dose fades, you may experience a “crash” characterized by depression, physical weakness and reduced libido. You may also notice unpleasant side effects like injection-site itching, redness and swelling. Finally, injected testosterone-replacement treatments are expensive and must be administered under careful clinical supervision.
If you’re unwilling to put up with the pain and expense associated with traditional testosterone-replacement treatments, consider using a homeopathic HGH supplement instead. Human growth hormone encourages cell division, growth and repair in various regions of the body and counteracts the symptoms of low testosterone by increasing levels of energy, mood and sexual interest. It also directly stimulates the testicles to produce more testosterone and sustain these mood-boosting benefits over the long term.
Whether you choose to counteract the symptoms of low testosterone with testosterone-replacement treatments or natural HGH supplements like Sytropin, you’ll be happy with your decision to take back your life.