The negative impact of low testosterone affects most men sooner or later. How do you know when it’s time to start a hormone replacement program? There is no exact age when men should start testosterone therapy. At Indian Lake Medical Weight Loss and Wellness in Hendersonville, TN, we treat men on a case-by-case basis, starting with a thorough screening process to make sure low testosterone is at the root of their symptoms.
What Is the Right Age for Testosterone Therapy?
While most men seeking testosterone therapy tend to be over the age of 40, the reality is that the effects of low testosterone can begin to present as early as a man’s 30s. The symptoms can be so subtle at first that they are barely noticeable but can eventually progress to the point where they severely affect many aspects of a man’s life and overall health.
Starting a treatment plan early, before symptoms have become severe, is ideal. However, it is never too late to begin therapy. Whether you have yet to enter mid-life or are quite advanced in years, it is possible that you could benefit from adding testosterone to your health and wellness plan. Rather than looking at age alone, it is important to find a hormone specialist who will do comprehensive testing and a full symptom review before establishing a treatment plan.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Men can be guilty of not paying attention to physical symptoms until they are extreme and greatly affecting their quality of life. Checking in with yourself periodically and practicing some self-awareness is important. If you are over the age of 30 and noticing some of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to get your hormone levels checked:
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty maintaining an erection
- Depression or irritability
- Chronic fatigue
- Reduced muscle mass
- Trouble losing weight
- Hair loss
Can It Be Too Late To Start Therapy?
We sometimes see patients who have been suffering in silence for many years, not knowing that there is a simple solution to their problems. While it might take a bit longer to get the testosterone dosage just right when someone has very advanced symptoms, we have seen excellent results with men in their 60s and 70s. Older patients often see the most dramatic change in their health and wellbeing after starting therapy, and deeply regret not starting sooner.
Can It Be Too Early To Start Therapy?
Yes – hormone replacement is not for everyone! A reputable hormone clinic will not take you as a patient if you are under the age of 26. If you are in your early 20s and experiencing some of the symptoms noted above, there are likely other physical or mental health issues to be considered. You should definitely seek treatment but boosting hormone levels will not likely be the solution.
Why Hormone Replacement Can Be the Answer
Women have benefited from hormone replacement therapy for many years, but it is only more recently that the medical community has recognized that men can suffer just as much from the hormone fluctuation that starts at a certain age. While a man’s symptoms will not look exactly like a woman’s symptoms, the effects can be just as debilitating. Unfortunately, men are much less likely to get the help they need.
Since there is no amount of diet or exercise that can reverse the effects of hormone depletion, finding the right testosterone replacement therapy is really the only answer. Working with a skilled hormone specialist who can get your dosage just right can be a life-changing experience for men who have been suffering unnecessarily. Finding a reputable clinic with highly trained specialists who will work closely with you to get your hormones on track is key.
Andropause is the male equivalent of menopause, although the symptoms do not look exactly the same, as noted above. After age 40, a man’s testosterone decreases by about 1% per year, but this process can start sooner in some cases. How soon a man begins to lose testosterone often comes down to genetics. If you are lucky, you may not begin to notice any signs of low testosterone until you are well into your 50s or even later.
How Testosterone Therapy Works
At the initial consultation, a blood sample is taken that looks not only at testosterone but also DHEA and thyroid hormones. It is important to take a critical look at the actual blood levels of these hormones, because many symptoms of hormone deficiency can also be caused by other health problems. Once we have determined what hormones are lacking and by how much, a treatment plan can begin. Hormones are typically delivered by injection on a weekly basis.
The therapeutic testosterone range is 450-800 mg/dl, but we don’t usually advise supplementation unless a man’s testosterone level is less than 600 mg/dl when we test him at his consultation. We recommend a weekly dosing with Testosterone Cypionate, delivered by injection. New blood work should be done every three months while on therapy to make sure testosterone is consistently at an optimal level.
When To Expect Results
Some patients notice an improvement in their symptoms within days of starting testosterone therapy, while others need more time for the benefits to fully take effect. In some cases, adjusting the dosage may be required to achieve optimal results. Typically, a man will see results within three to six weeks of starting treatment, but this can vary.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel the beneficial effects immediately — this can be a process that requires some patience, but most men do reap the rewards eventually. If for any reason you haven’t seen an improvement in your libido, energy level, mood, and sleep quality by the second month, we may need to re-evaluate your treatment plan. We may also take a look at other health and lifestyle factors that could be getting in the way of you feeling your best.
Making Healthy Choices
While healthy living alone cannot reverse the effects of low testosterone, coupling your therapy with good habits can certainly help you to get the most out of this treatment. Once men start therapy, they often have the motivation they need to eat better and get more exercise. The following are some simple lifestyle habits you should follow to help you look and feel your best while on testosterone therapy:
- Limit alcohol intake
- Stay hydrated (preferably with water)
- Avoid first-hand and second-hand smoke
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night
- Eat a healthy diet with enough protein
- Avoid sugar and processed foods
- Exercise several times per week
- Do weight-bearing activities
Stopping and Starting Treatment
Ideally, we like for our patients to stay on a long-term plan that is frequently adjusted with regular testing to make sure a man is always receiving the perfect amount of testosterone – never too much or too little. Once patients are feeling better, they sometimes make the mistake of cutting back on treatment or stopping it altogether. Testosterone therapy is not a one-stop cure, but an integral part of a long-term healthy lifestyle.
It is important to understand that your symptoms will eventually return if you stop treatment, and we will then have to start again from scratch getting your dosage right. While there is no rule against stopping treatment at any time and then picking it up again later, it is of course ideal to make this a permanent part of your health regimen.
Do You Need To Stop Treatment at a Certain Age?
Unless you have heart disease or certain rare medical conditions that make hormone supplementation ill-advised, this therapy can be continued indefinitely. We closely monitor our patient’s health and work with other members of their health care team throughout therapy if needed. Of course, we will let a patient know if they should pause their testosterone injections at any time for health reasons.
Ready To Make a Positive Change in Your Life?
If you are bothered by low energy, depression, poor sexual performance, or any of the other physical and emotional symptoms that can come with low testosterone, we’re here to help. Contact us today at Indian Lake Medical Weight Loss and Wellness in Hendersonville, TN so that we can schedule a consultation and get to the bottom of what is ailing you. There is a good chance that all you need is a simple testosterone boost.