Information on Male Hormones and Sex
To feel sexual interest, you need hormones. When men pass from their mid-30s onto their mid-40s they undergo significant changes. Their hormone levels, starting with testosterone, start to dwindle. Since men never talk about hot flashes and night sweats, we never knew they experience them. But they do. Many women patients are starting to talk about their men’s night sweats, their mood swings, their depression and their weight gain. And why not, just like in women, male hormones do drop with age. Testosterone made in the testicles and adrenal glands, starts waning with age and just like with women, as its quality and quantity declines, symptoms arise.
About two years ago, the medical literature, and in particular journals of urology started to publish articles connecting an improved sense of well-being in aging men, with testosterone supplementation. It was a major step forward for a profession where testosterone was used only to treat young males with diseases of hormone deficiency. It was a first step toward acknowledgment of the existence of male menopause. The connection between low testosterone levels and previously unaddressed and disconnected symptoms, was being made by both the lay public and conventional medicine.
Finally, in the past three years, testosterone supplementation has entered the conventional world of wellness and anti-aging. However, it has not yet moved into the mainstream of medicine or become a topic of dinner conversation in the way of menopause. Although, only recently men have started to admit to experiencing the same symptoms previously reserved to women, the door is only slightly ajar. In my practice, in response to the need, I developed The Hormone Solution program for men.
Every day one of my women patients brings up the topic of male menopause/ andropause. The question invariably is “How can I help my husband/lover?” The answer is clear and simple and backed by numerous medical publications: “supplement his testosterone”. So, why aren’t more doctors prescribing it? Do doctors still consider testosterone outside the area of conventional medicine? For our sake and our men’s sake, I hope not. What used to be the domain of body builders and athletes, is now without a doubt a normal part of any man’s world. To provide the proper solutions to the men, conventional medicine must follow.
Before we go on, let’s pause and look at the most common symptoms associated with testosterone depletion in the average, healthy, 50 year old man:
- Inability to build muscle as easily as at age 20
- Problems losing weight as easily as at age 20
- Inability to ejaculate as often as at age 20
- Problems maintaining an erection as long as at age 20
- Diminished sex drive
- Depression and loss of excitement about life and career
- Insomnia and other sleep disorders
- Having to urinate at least once a night
- Lack of energy
Even if these symptoms do not appear to be exactly the same as those experienced by women as a result of hormone depletion, they are strongly similar. And beyond that point, women and men are not identical in the expression of these deficiencies.
Just like women, certain men suffer from symptoms, incapacitating to various degrees, while some sail through this period of their life with minimal problems and settle into the next stage without much trouble. Those who do have difficulties are easy to identify. Just like their female counterparts, these men’s lives are turned upside down. Coping mechanisms fail and the aging process becomes unmanageable.
Allen came to see me in a state of quiet desperation. He was a successful 52 year old attorney. His life had been on an even keel. When he turned 50, things started to unravel. He stopped enjoying work, he had difficulties with family and friends, even stopped playing golf, his favorite hobby. His wife suggested he see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist spent a long time talking to Allen finally deciding to start him on Prozac. Allen felt a little better. He seemed to regain some of his lost joie de vivre, he even returned to his Saturday morning golf game. But something still wasn’t right. The psychiatrist raised the dose of Prozac, and added another antidepressant for better balance (Wellbutrin). Allen became groggy and the little sex drive he had, was gone. His wife, also a patient of mine on the Hormone Solution Program was coping well and Allen’s problems were a source of worry to her. One day, at work, Allen lost his temper and spun out of control. During an important meeting he started screaming and acting totally out of character. Embarrassed, he apologized to his boss and that same evening, asked his wife to get him help. She brought him to me. I tested Allen’s PSA and testosterone levels. His testosterone level was very low. He was depressed and anxious at the same time. The psychotropic medications were clearly not helping him, they were only confusing an already difficult situation. After an extensive consultation I started Allen on the Hormone Solution Program including transdermal testosterone cream and we checked his blood hormone levels every six weeks. By the time his testosterone levels neared 600, Allen felt well enough to stop taking anti-depressant medications. It only took two months to get Allen back to the life he thought he’d lost.
Allen’s story is the rule for men in the 40s and 50s who start taking testosterone supplementation. The unfortunate exceptions are the men who don’t know about the miraculous recoveries achieved through testosterone supplementation. Because they don’t know about the testosterone solution, they either ignore bothersome and destructive symptoms, or take antidepressant medications prescribed by physicians unfamiliar with the benefits and safety of the testosterone option.