Are experiencing changes in your life that might be linked to an imbalance in your testosterone levels? In this blog post, we’ll explore testosterone imbalance, its symptoms, and how to address it with Easley SC Nurse Practicioner Tracey Scofield, a specialist in hormone balance.
It’s normal for testosterone levels to change as we age, but if you’re experiencing more severe symptoms than expected, you could be experiencing a testosterone imbalance.
If you suspect that you might have low testosterone, consider the following:
- Pay attention to symptoms: Look for signs such as low energy, weight gain, decreased libido, and mood changes, which may indicate a testosterone imbalance.
- Seek professional help: Consult with a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis, lab workup, and hormone testing to identify the root cause.
- Explore personalized treatment options: Work with a specialist to develop a tailored regimen, including lifestyle changes and possible hormone replacement therapy, to restore hormonal balance.
Questioning your own testosterone levels can be very debilitating. Many times men are afraid to seek treatment or get help because they’re ashamed and they think that it means that they aren’t manly enough. There is nothing wrong with getting treatment to become a better you. Most men who are experiencing low testosterone just want to get back to normal.
We often times associate testosterone levels with muscle building but it can actually affect a variety of conditions that men don’t always realize. Here are some of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Testosterone Imbalance:
- Low energy levels
- Difficulty sleeping
- Decreased muscle mass
- Mood swings and irritability
- Decline in libido
- Increased Anxiety
As you read these symptoms, don’t assume you have a hormonal balance right away though. We see plenty of people in our office that do not have a testosterone deficiency and it’s not the most common issue that we see in men.
When we do see men with this issue, typically their wives are the ones noticing the changes. Over time, if we’re dealing with a hormonal imbalance that slowly develops we don’t always notice it right away. So then, what causes hormonal imbalances to happen in men?
Often times we hear complaints like:
Why am I feeling so weak?
I feel like I’m not firing on all cylinders
I just can’t get up off the couch
I’m having trouble in the bedroom
Why Testosterone Levels Affect Men So Much
Testosterone is the dominant hormone for men. When testosterone levels are right where they should be, men typically feel great. They’re also at a way lower risk for many health conditions like dementia, heart disease, prostate health and certain types of cancers.
If testosterone levels start to fall with age, the previously mentioned symptoms tend to show up more. We can also make this process worse if we are not in good shape. So what causes testosterone to decrease?
Causes of Testosterone Imbalance:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Medical conditions affecting testicular function
Testosterone actually naturally starts dropping by the age of 50 and isn’t always a cause for concern, however sometimes we help men that are much younger who are dealing with another cause. The most common cause is obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. For men in particular it is very important to do workouts that involve weights. The human body is a machine created to be active and do physical work and if we don’t use our bodies, we start to grow weak.
Also, if someone has a history of using performance enhancing drugs for sports, it can cause issues with testosterone later in life. This is why it’s important to address testosterone naturally and not to use it as a performance enhancer.
Assessing and Addressing Testosterone Imbalance:
At our practice, we have two main ways to address a testosterone and balance. The first way is by identifying the root cause of the issue.
It can be challenging to find the root cause when, basic health advice is often times very convoluted and hard to follow. Everyone knows that they should eat better. Everyone also knows that they should exercise more often. However, the specific types of foods you should eat, are going to depend on your body type and genetic predisposition. In the same way, finding the right way to workout is not the same for every man. If you can get tested by a qualified professional, you can target your specific needs with the right lifestyle changes.
If we cannot get the results that are needed naturally we will use testosterone replacement therapy or (TRT).
Things to Consider with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT):
- Consider TRT if attempts to improve natural testosterone production are unsuccessful.
- Keep in mind that TRT is a long-term commitment, as it can make it difficult for the body to produce testosterone naturally in the future.
Lifestyle Changes that can Make a Huge Difference
- Maintain a balanced diet and avoid processed foods and sugar.
- Engage in regular exercise, including resistance training.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Ensure adequate levels of vitamin D and zinc.
- Take a good quality multivitamin supplement.
These simple lifestyle changes are very easy to explain but can be hard to implement. Implementing dietary changes means that you’re going to have to learn to cook more. Often times the meals that are easiest to prepare have a lot of preservatives and low quality ingredients. Just because a food is labeled as “healthy” doesn’t mean that it is the best for your body. If you would like specific recommendations, please set up an appointment with one of our physicians or a registered dietician.
Creating a Personalized Treatment Plan:
To create a personalized treatment plan typically we look at someone’s age and medical history. If they are older in age, sometimes we have to be a little bit more aggressive with the treatment or regimen. If they are younger, then we may get faster results by making a few tweaks. It’s not uncommon to have people come into our office after they’ve already tried a few supplements and over-the-counter solutions. Consistency is key and after we start to see some improvements, we will monitor their progress over a period of 6 to 12 months.
The Importance of Resistance Training
Resistance training differs from standard exercise, because it encourages testosterone production by putting demand on the body to grow and build muscle mass. Specifically men who may have a sedentary lifestyle can actually inhibit their natural testosterone production through a process called aromatization. Their natural testosterone production can be lost in their body fat and can become estrogen. Aerobic exercise is very beneficial for heart health and wellbeing, but one of the keys to improving testosterone balance is to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. This is why building a little bit of muscle can be very helpful.
Timeline for Results
Our personalized treatment plans may show results in 3 to 12 months, depending on the individual’s progress and adherence to the regimen.
If you suspect a testosterone imbalance, it’s essential to seek professional help to identify the root cause and develop a tailored treatment plan. By combining lifestyle changes and targeted interventions, you can work towards restoring balance and improving your overall well-being.
Tracey Schofield, Jr. NP-C is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner. He has training in Family Medicine and specialized in neurology and headache management. Schofield worked at several different venues including hospitals and the Veterans Administration. Tracey is motivated by treating the root cause of diseases to help patients heal, rather than relying on prescription drugs to cover up symptoms.