I would like to speak with you about the condition referred to as an androgen deficiency. This is a condition that affects nearly 14 million American men. In this article, I’m going to discuss the symptoms of androgen deficiency, the evaluation of androgen deficiency, and what treatment options are available for this common condition.
Many men often confuse erectile dysfunction and lack or loss of libido as the same condition. But these are really two different conditions. Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability to achieve and maintain an erection adequate for sexual intimacy between a man and his partner. Loss of libido refers to a decrease in the interest for sexual intimacy. ED and decreased libido are really separate conditions but often can occur together in the men. For example, if a man has long-standing erectile dysfunction it is not uncommon for him to have also a decrease in his libido.
Let’s look at the symptoms of androgen deficiency. Androgen deficiency is often accompanied by a lack of energy or lethargy, it also associated with a decrease in strength and muscle mass, there can be a weakness in the bones, and also a decrease in height as the back becomes shorter and smaller that’s the man will lose height often as he grows older due to the androgen deficiency. People, who have androgen deficiency, are got tired after meals, and they fall asleep after dinner, and in severe cases, androgen deficiency can be associated with depression and decreased enjoyment in life.
The causes of androgen deficiency can be as a result of decreased testosterone produced in the testicles, it can also occur as a result of a problem with the pituitary gland, which is located at base of the brain and can be affected by tumors of the pituitary gland that send out a hormone that decreases the production by the testicle.
Also, I want to point out that various drugs, particularly anti-depressant drugs, tranquilizers, or drugs used to treat hypertension can be associated with the side effects of decreased libido and androgen deficiency. The use of illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroine, especially if used over a long period of time, are frequently associated with the problem of androgen deficiency and a decrease in sexual performance.
The testosterone level in most men declines after the age of 40. A normal testosterone level is usually between 300 and 800, and for men over the age of 50 or 60, a level between 400 and 450 is usually considered normal. It is estimated that one in five men over the age of sixty have a low testosterone level. The aging process itself is also associated with decrease testosterone. Testosterone production is high in men between the ages of 20 and 25 and then decreases slowly after that. Also, poor general health can be associated with decreased testosterone as well as excessive weight gain or obesity.
Now let’s look at the how the diagnosis of androgen deficiency is made. It requires a careful history, a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam to check the prostate gland, and then a very simple blood test usually done in the morning, can easily detect and confirm androgen efficiency.
Finally, let’s look at treatment options for androgen efficiency. There are pills; there are injections of testosterone that are taking every two weeks; there are gels that can be applied to the skin on a daily basis that can pass the testosterone from the skin into the bloodstream. And now there is a pellet that can be in inserted underneath the skin and will last for 4 to 6 months and then is replaced when the testosterone level becomes diminished or decreased. The pellet is done in the office under a local anesthesia will minimal, or low pain or discomfort after that procedure and men can have significant improvement in their testosterone level just within a few days.
Men, who are receiving androgen replacement therapy with testosterone supplement, either through injection, gels, or the pellet need to see the doctor on a regular basis to get a periodic blood test and a PSA test as well as a digital rectal exam.
Finally, what are the benefits associated with hormone replacement therapy? There is often an increase in energy, there is an increase in muscle mass, there is an improvement in sexual functioning, and the overall mood of the man is significantly enhanced.
Finally, androgen deficiency is a common condition that affects many American men. The evaluation is easily accomplished in the outpatient setting and treatment is available for nearly every man, who suffers from the condition of hormone deficiency.