Testosterone has definitely gone mainstream. Watch the national news any evening and you’ll likely see evidence of that in one or more commercials. But what are these commercials “selling,” and who needs it? Most testosterone marketing is focused on hormone replacement therapy or HRT. It’s actually “bio-identical” hormone replacement therapy because the replacement is an identical twin of the hormone produced in the human body.
What is being replaced during this therapy is testosterone, which is the primary male hormone for the reproductive system. The primary hormones for women are estrogen and progesterone.
Women and men both need testosterone for sexual libido, among other things. For those who participate in testosterone replacement, the treatment can increase sexual performance and desire. It can also increase bone density, increase energy, lower cholesterol, improve stamina and endurance, increase muscle mass, and enhance skin and hair texture. The increase in bone density is particularly important to women with osteoporosis or the precursor, osteopenia. Testosterone, combined with estrogen, is a powerful, safe, effective way to improve bone density and weight-bearing exercise.
A simple blood test will determine whether testosterone replacement might be something for you to consider. Testosterone can be administered as a cream, through an injection or compounded as part of a tablet. Oral administration (the tablet) is not generally recommended because of testosterone’s effect on the liver. Women do well with testosterone cream, but the cream does not work as well for men, who need a much higher concentration of testosterone.
A word of caution: Testosterone should not be administered in anyone who has an elevated prostatic specific antigen or PSA. An elevated PSA is an indicator of possible prostate cancer. Testosterone can worsen prostate cancer once it is established. However, it can prevent prostate cancer if taken before there is any cancer present. Curiously, testosterone is an effective antidepressant for men.
A controversy surrounding testosterone is its use to improve muscle mass and stamina for weight lifters, body builders and high-endurance athletes. While there may be a black market providing testosterone for this purpose, that activity does not negate the valid and appropriate use of testosterone for anti-aging purposes.
In my practice, I am careful to let my patients know that they may not participate in any sporting event that tests for hormones. For the majority of my patients, that isn’t an issue.
Finally, a quick note to married and long-term commitment couples. It can be a bit tricky to put one person on testosterone supplement and not put the spouse or partner on it as well. As you might imagine, this can lead to a libido imbalance that can add stress to the relationship. Of course, this is easily handled by supplementing both partners at the same time.
Testosterone is just one of the major human hormones that when safely and correctly maintained can keep you looking and feeling young.
To learn more about testosterone replacement therapy, contact Elizabeth Keller, APRN-BC, LPC, at Life Motivations (www. LifeMotivationsSA.com). Life Motivations is Keller’s private practice that specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement, HCG weight-loss programs and the mental game of weight loss. For more information, visit her website or call 210-473-1619. Testosterone Replacement healthyliving by Elizabeth Keller