Everyone's talking about low-T: how it can make a man lose muscle mass, libido and erectile function, while slowly draining his athletic and mental energy. But don't declare just yet.
After age 30, as middle age and andropause creep closer, a man's testosterone does drop by about 1% every year. But it's not the only hormone to blame for muscle and bone density loss, erectile dysfunction, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Knowing how to increase male libido and decrease fat requires understanding the delicate synergy between all your hormones.
Testosterone is like the biochemical COO that manages your strength, muscle mass and sex drive by sending instructions from one set of worker cells to another. But to operate optimally, it must collaborate with estrogen, progesterone and DHEA. Unbalanced levels can put you at risk for diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and even Alzheimer's Disease.
You can't stop andropause, but you can stop its debilitating symptoms from disrupting your energy and vigor. When will you enter this new life stage? Your father's transition age can offer a clue, but genetic code is only one piece of the andropause puzzle. Your hormone balance fluctuates daily - in response to what you eat, how rigorously you exercise, how much stress you struggle with, and how effectively you tweak your levels.
So, if you're in your 30s, you're probably due for a hormone audit.
Your provider and Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson have spent years researching and delivering the ultimate biochemical accounting system: Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
Which of your hormones need how much balancing? That's what they've helped hundreds of men determine. They will meticulously test your levels and customize a prescription to address your exact imbalance - because at Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine there are no one size fits all solutions.
Our sexual health team has navigated men's life stages and prevented male midlife crisis from disrupting hundreds of mens' lives. They can introduce you to the transformative power of BHRT. For a thorough, holistic, compassionate consultation, call the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine at (713) 690-1991 or contact us here.
Bioidentical hormone molecules have the identical shape, make-up, and structure of your body's molecules - so they match your receptor sites like an aptly tweaked balance sheet.
Men often procrastinate a visit to our Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine suite because they first want to try another one-size-fits-all low testosterone medication. Soon enough, though, they realize their unique imbalance has not been optimized, and come in for testing.
Unlike some of your past providers who may have prescribed synthetic hormone replacement, we deliver hormones sourced from natural plants like yams, flax, and soybeans that match your body's - molecule by molecule. That's why BHRT doesn't present the same risks and side effects that synthetic hormones do.
Bioidentical hormones are:
By the time a man is in his mid-forties, testosterone levels can be down by 40%. Unbalanced hormone levels can negatively impact his:
Lifestyle factors such as excessive stress, weight gain due to lack of exercise, overuse of tobacco, alcohol and drugs - prescribed or illegal - and unhealthy diet can further aggravate these symptoms.
Heavy metals and other toxins are also common hormone disruptors. Most often we detect this "dirty dozen":
Some of these chemicals can disrupt the delicate signals sent between estrogen and testosterone, or even trick your body by imitating a hormone. That's why it's crucial to purge them from your system before determining your actual baselines for each hormone.
Hormones are the chemical messengers produced by your adrenal gland, pituitary gland, pineal gland, hypothalamus, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, and testes. These messengers send biochemical commands to every tissue, organ, and body system to control your growth, musculature, bone density, metabolism, emotional and sexual response.
That's why your provider and Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson will be testing and tweaking your levels of:
Testosterone helps generate your energy, muscle mass, and libido. Here's how your body makes it: cholesterol -> pregnenolone -> androstenedione -> testosterone.
You'll be tested for all of the above (including both your free and your total testosterone) so your levels can be replenished. We will keep your level in the optimal free testosterone range: 20-25pg/mL - which has proved beneficial for hundreds of our patients.
Men's estradiol helps modulate libido, erectile function, and sperm production. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports on research that shows both men with very high and very low levels of estradiol are more likely to die of chronic heart failure. In a clinical study the group of men who had balanced levels (between 21.80 and 30.11 pg/ml) had fewer deaths. Our BHRT team adheres to that estradiol range.
This precursor to estrogen and testosterone supports normal thyroid function, cardiovascular health, and nervous system health. For many of our patients supplementing it has eased anxiety, stabilized mood, enhanced memory, boosted brain function, and increased sexual satisfaction.
DHEA is also produced from cholesterol. It can produce either estrogens or testosterone, then regulate their levels. Millions of aging men have both low testosterone and high cholesterol. Conventional physicians prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs, but your aging body may just be producing more cholesterol to replenish the raw materials you need to produce hormones.
How much of each hormone will you need and for how long? That depends on your age, baseline levels, health, genetics, diet, lifestyle, environmental factors and follow-up care.
During your initial consultation your provider and Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson will ask you to honestly discuss your:
A genital exam may help diagnose or rule out non-hormone related medical conditions that could be at the root of your symptoms. Finally, our team will perform one or more of the following to assess your base hormone levels:
Your blood sample will be sent to a lab for analysis and hormone level assessment. The sex hormones in your bloodstream, however, are 95-99% bound to carrier proteins, and in this form are unavailable to target tissues. A blood test may not detect them completely.
This test effectively assesses peptide hormones such as FSH, LH, prolactin, fasting insulin, and thyroid hormones, including reverse T3, as well as thyroid antibodies. It is also used to measure sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and sometimes cortisol binding globulin (CBG).
Non-invasive saliva testing measures the bioavailable amount of hormone (the amount actually available for your tissues to absorb). That's why saliva testing also helps us monitor and tweak your hormone levels at all your appointments throughout your therapy.
Much research suggests that saliva tests most accurately determine testosterone and DHEA levels. This sampling method requires patients to spit into a plastic tube and allows them to collect saliva at home at specific times to more accurately measure hormone levels.
Urine testing detects your free and total hormone levels, and shows how well you're metabolizing your hormones. It measures all 3 types of estrogen and let us know your body is methylating (detoxifying) estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
It also detects 5a-DHT - the more androgenic form of testosterone. Imbalanced levels, especially when combined with high estrogen, can lead to hair loss, prostate problems and increased cancer risk.
After reviewing all your baseline levels, your provider and Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson will determine whether you need BHRT. Even if you don't need it now, lifestyle, aging and environmental factors are constantly altering your levels, so we recommend periodic testing.
Level testing merely provides a starting point which helps determine next steps. Your hormones fluctuate throughout the week, even the day. We'll help you interpret and act on your diagnosis- throughout your treatment protocol. So, make sure not to miss any of your scheduled follow-up appointments.
After considering your test results, your medical history, general health and lifestyle your provider and Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson will decide which of the following delivery modes is right for you:
Injecting hormones delivers them directly into you bloodstream, so you can guarantee 100% absorption of your custom dose. This delivery method is easy to monitor and allows you to adjust your levels throughout your protocol.
Injecting hormones yourself in the comfort of home is convenient and it alleviates symptoms quickly and effectively - you'll start to feel better almost immediately.
Creams and gels allow you to easily adjust doses any time. This transdermal, minimally-invasive delivery avoids the first-pass through your liver. However, every man's skin absorbs them differently, so it may take a while to figure out exactly what dose your body is actually using.
You can apply creams and gels to your arms or shoulders, but not near your abdomen or breasts. As long as you continue to apply the product every day, your levels should remain stable and your symptoms will resolve.
Your imbalance took years to develop, so you have to give it time to resolve. After your procedure, the BHRT will begin seeping into your bloodstream, preparing to put you back on the path to the active routine and sex life you're used to.
Most men report feeling improvements in as little as two to four weeks, but full optimization may take up to six months. At every follow-up visit your levels will be retested and your prescription may need to be tweaked.
Your BHRT success rates will depend on:
As with any medical treatment, results will vary from patient to patient, depending on age, genetics, environmental conditions, and other health factors. Tobacco users and heavy alcohol drinkers may not experience the full range of BHRT benefits.
Your body is meant to change as you age - and so is your hormone healthcare. Your provider, Physician Assistant Lisa Wilkerson and their team at the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine are here to listen. They've all been trained to treat your whole health, and improve your quality of life - with customized, adjustable treatment plans.