Low Testosterone Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction
Impact of Low Testosterone Levels
Many men experience low testosterone levels as they age. According to a study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, about four in 10 men age 45-plus have low testosterone levels. Low testosterone may be more common in men with diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, as well as men who are obese. Low testosterone may be a cause of erectile dysfunction — your physician should evaluate this as part of an ED diagnosis and treatment plan.
Effects of Low Testosterone Levels
While low testosterone can be an underlying cause of ED, it also can cause physical and mental/emotional symptoms, so being treated for it can improve a man’s overall health, energy levels, and feeling of well-being. Physical symptoms of low testosterone can include fatigue, decreased strength, increased body fat, depression, facial and body hair loss, decreased energy, decreased physical or work performance, hot flushes, and sweating. Mental or emotional symptoms can include depression, irritable mood, poor concentration and memory, and less motivation, drive, self-confidence, and enthusiasm. In addition to ED, low testosterone can cause low libido. Some experts believe testosterone levels are tied to heart health, blood sugar control, and osteoporosis.
Low T Therapy: Proceed with Caution
Low testosterone therapy, sometimes called testosterone replacement or “low T” therapy, is often advertised on television and in magazines as a way to help men feel more alive and energetic and to increase sex drive. It can be helpful to men with symptoms of low testosterone whose hormone levels are confirmed to be low with a blood test, but it is not a treatment that anyone can request just to feel better or increase sex drive and virility. Low testosterone therapy can be administered via a skin or mouth patch, gel, injection, or implants (pellets implanted into the soft tissues). Oral therapy is available, but is thought by some researchers to be harmful to the liver.
While Low T therapy can improve overall quality of life for some men, it is not without risks and side effects. These can include:
- Irritation, rash, or itching at the application site
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate cancer growth (your physician may recommend a PSA test before you start low testosterone therapy, as the treatment is not recommended for men with high PSA or confirmed prostate cancer)
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Blood clots
- Worsening of congestive heart failure
At Foothills Urology, our Denver ED experts will evaluate and diagnose the accurate cause of your erectile dysfunction. If it is low testosterone, we will provide the best treatment to most effectively help you.
Men’s Health: Erectile Dysfunction, AMS Men’s Health