Decreased testosterone levels are something most men will experience as they age. Testosterone levels naturally decline by about 1 percent a year after the age of 30 or 40. This is considered a normal decline, but men with low levels of testosterone levels need to be sure that what they are experiencing is, in fact, normal or if it’s due to a condition such as hypogonadism. Sometimes levels can dip drastically at a faster percentage over time and sometimes the drop can be sudden and caused by illness, prescription medication or simply stress. Treating Low-T can help in a variety of ways, even though some doctors are still opposed to it and do not consider it a “real” condition.
Having low testosterone levels is not easy to live with. Either men develop Low-T because the testosterone levels have declined naturally or because of a condition called late onset Hypogonadism. Unfortunately, living with Low-T means that many men will suffer from a variety of symptoms such as low libido, mood swings, insomnia or poor muscle strength. Additionally, men who have low levels of testosterone are more at risk for obesity, heart attacks, osteoporosis and more. This is why many men opt for treating low-T with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) since it has so far been the best way to restore testosterone levels.
First it is important to get tested in order to properly diagnose low testosterone levels and the reasons for it. Apart from aging and hypogonadism, testosterone could also decline due to thyroid problems, diabetes, and depression.
If you are concerned about having Low-T but are not sure then take this free online testosterone self-assessment test before you head to the doctor for a consult. It will give you a good indication of where your testosterone levels on the scale of normality and what kind of treatment might be right for you.
Testosterone levels naturally decline with age but some men experience abnormally low levels. When this happens, it could be due to a condition called male hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is when the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone – either it can be something you are born with or something that can develop later on in life. It happens primarily when the Leydig cells (testosterone-producing cells) are not functioning. The condition affects about a third of the aging male population. Treating Low-T is most commonly done using TRT, either in the form of topical gels or creams (like AndroForte), pellets, injections or supplements.
There are different kinds of hypogonadism. Childhood hypogonadism begins during fetal development and impairs the growth of external sex organs. If hypogonadism strikes during puberty, it can cause males to not develop a deep voice, impaired growth of body hair, impaired growth of testicles and the penis, decreased muscle mass and development of breast tissue.
Hypogonadism in adults can cause erectile dysfunction, a decrease in body hair, infertility, a decrease in muscle mass, and more. Additionally, some men may also experience emotional changes not dissimilar to what women experience during the menopause. For example, decreased sex drive, fatigue, hot flashes, and difficulty focusing.
So far using TRT is considered the most effective way of treating Low-T (in men and women). This is primarily because most of the current research leads us to believe this. Not too long ago, low testosterone and TRT was not talked about much and little was known about the condition, how it affects men and how using bioidentical hormones helps to restore levels without affecting the body’s own natural production. However, scientists, researchers and industry specialists are always looking out for new opportunities and new discoveries. A new discovery could be around the corner and it focuses on treating Low-T with stem cells.
Treating low testosterone with stem cells
Research and new studies are being performed all the time on this topic. Scientists are now looking into using stem cell research as an alternative treatment for low testosterone levels, particularly for men with hypogonadism. New research has suggested that this treatment would involve directly converting skin cells into testosterone-producing cells.
This would happen by creating something similar to Leydig cells and then transplanting them into men with hypogonadism. Scientists tested their hypothesis on male rodents and the result was a success. The rodents’ skin cells were successfully transformed into fully functioning testosterone producing cells. Normal testosterone levels were restored in male rodents suffering from hypogonadism.
Initial research has been performed and it is hoped that this will pave the way for clinical trials. It could take some time until this clinical research is performed and before anything can start being put on the market. Many people are questioning if this will prove to be a cost-effective method for treating men with low testosterone levels…. and it is a good question to ask. If many men leave their low-T untreated because they cannot afford simple topical creams, then how can they afford a more specialist treatment? As it is, TRT is not cheap and not always covered by health insurance. It is very likely that this new treatment will prove too expensive for most people to consider, but that’s something we’ll have to wait to find out.
How great would it be if a treatment like this would need to be applied only every 6 months or if it was possible to even cure Low-T with a one-time treatment?