What is low T?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and it performs a number of vital functions in the body. Testosterone levels are at their peak in our 20’s and 30’s and gradually decrease about 10% each decade thereafter. Low testosterone levels can lead to symptoms such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, obesity and decreased muscle mass. It can also contribute to the development of diabetes, heart disease, decreased bone density, and ultimately early death. This is why it is important for men to have their testosterone levels checked and to consider testosterone optimization if they experience these symptoms.
What is Testosterone Replacement therapy?
When most men think about doing something about their testosterone levels, they think of testosterone replacement. I prefer to talk about testosterone optimization because not every man needs to replace testosterone in his body and there can even be some downsides to doing so.
There are several options and methods available to optimize testosterone levels. One that I am particularly excited about is an oral medication called clomiphene (Clomid). Clomiphene is a pill taken daily or every other day. Rather than raising testosterone levels directly, it works in the body to increase a man’s natural testosterone production. Clomiphene is generally very well tolerated, safe, and has few side effects. The other more commonly used method to increase testosterone levels is direct testosterone replacement using testosterone itself administered topically or by injection. There are various reasons to choose one method over another and I discuss the benefits and risks of each with my patients before we make a decision about which to use.
Who would benefit from Testosterone Replacement therapy?
The testosterone levels in our blood are not the whole story. It is also important to consider how a man feels with the levels he has. Some men have what are considered low testosterone blood levels yet don’t have symptoms of low testosterone. There may be no need to increase their levels if that is the case. Other men can have “normal” testosterone levels and yet still have symptoms of low testosterone. These are the men who may wish to consider raising their levels to see if the symptoms improve. At The Prime Clinic, I work with my patients to find the optimal level of testosterone for each man, one that improves symptoms of low testosterone without raising it so much that it causes adverse effects.
What are the risks of Testosterone Replacement?
Of course, as with any medical treatment, there are risks involved in raising testosterone levels. Men with prostate cancer should not be taking testosterone. Although the use of testosterone does not cause prostate cancer, it can make prostate cancer worse in men who have it. High levels of testosterone can also increase production of red blood cells potentially leading to blood that is “too thick” to function properly. Testosterone use has also been associated with abnormal blood clotting, worsening of sleep apnea, and acne. Finally, a consequence of testosterone replacement is that it can turn off the body’s natural testosterone production (possibly permanently with long-term use).
What are the details of treatment at The Prime Clinic?
The first step towards testosterone optimization is a consultation at The Prime Clinic where you will be asked about symptoms of low testosterone and I can order lab tests to check your blood levels. Once I have both these pieces of information we can discuss whether testosterone optimization is right for you.
I offer testosterone optimization at The Prime Clinic on a monthly subscription basis. There are two options depending on whether or not a patient has health insurance. For men who do not have health insurance coverage, I offer a plan that includes lab testing, all medications, medical supplies, and personalized management of their treatment for one monthly fee. For patients whose health insurance will cover the costs of labs, medications, and medical supplies, I offer a plan that includes the same personalized management at a lower cost.
*Dr. Cross is not currently taking new patients for testosterone optimization.
Ready for change? Submit your contact information and we will reach out to schedule your initial consultation. Remember, the best is yet to come!
*Please note that most of our services are not covered by health insurance and we do not file insurance claims for our patients. We are happy to provide the proper diagnostic codes if you wish to file a claim. Payment is expected at the time of service.