Is Your Testosterone Low? Everything You Need To Know about Men’s Hormones

Low testosterone in men can lead to fatigue, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty building muscle. Some studies even show a connection between low testosterone and depression.

While testosterone levels naturally decrease with age, some men experience a dramatic onset of low testosterone symptoms that could indicate a hormonal imbalance.

If you have low testosterone, you may be able to boost it with diet and exercise. But lifestyle changes are not always enough, and you may need a more potent dose to balance and boost testosterone levels.

If you wondered how to increase testosterone safely, bioidentical testosterone at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, might be the best hormone imbalance treatment for you. Keep reading to learn more about how to optimize men’s hormones to feel strong, youthful, and vibrant again.

How Do You Know If Your Testosterone Is Low?

A little hormone fluctuation is normal. Male hormone levels fluctuate a little throughout the day, testosterone increases in young men going through puberty, and decreases as a man enters his late thirties, forties, or fifties.

Some symptoms of low testosterone include:

  • Low libido
  • Inability to build muscle mass
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Decreased strength of the erection
  • Decreased ability to orgasm
  • Low sperm count
  • Increased recovery time when exercising
  • Decreased endurance when exercising
  • Low motivation

Some studies show that low testosterone may increase overall mortality risk in men. For men who have low testosterone and sexual dysfunction, the risk is even higher. Thankfully, bioidentical testosterone can be used to combat low testosterone levels.

What Is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?

Bioidentical hormone therapy uses naturally-occurring testosterone from plants and other lab-derived sources to support men’s hormones. These hormones are physiologically identical to those found in the body.

The primary male hormone – testosterone – is necessary for development and reproduction. Low testosterone in men can lead to fatigue, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty building muscle.

Functional medicine uses bioidentical hormones to reduce hormone-related symptoms and get you back to optimal health.

Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?

When pharmaceutical testosterone first became available over 20 years ago, several studies seemed to show a connection between testosterone treatment and prostate cancer. But further examination showed that it wasn’t the testosterone increasing cancer risk, but rising levels of estrogen.

Whenever you add hormones to the system, they can convert to other hormones and metabolites. Testosterone can convert to estradiol (estrogen) or DHT.

When male estrogen levels increase, it may increase the risk of prostate cancer depending on your genetic makeup. If estrogen levels increase, Dr. Fox will add herbs that block the conversion of testosterone to estradiol. But you need to carefully monitor estrogen levels during bioidentical testosterone treatment for testosterone therapy to be safe.

Testosterone can also convert to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which can potentially increase hair loss or adversely affect the prostate. Dr. Fox will monitor these levels through regular blood draws. If the testosterone converts to DHT, she will use herbs that block that conversion.

Dr. Fox at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, will work with you to find the exact cause of your testosterone imbalance and introduce testosterone carefully to ensure your testosterone treatment is as risk-free as possible.

What Causes Low Testosterone In Men?

Man running after treating his low testosterone

The most common cause of low testosterone in men is adrenal dysfunction. Your adrenals are two bean-like glands found on top of each kidney. They are part of your survival instinct, prioritizing body functions based on perceived threats. 

For example, if you were to be attacked by a tiger, your adrenals would activate fight or flight, your sympathetic nervous system. They start pumping in adrenaline and cortisol to increase your chances of escaping or killing that tiger.

Testosterone and cortisol (the stress hormone) convert directly to each other. So when you are “burning the candle at both ends,” your testosterone converts to cortisol to help you push through the stressful situation. 

Often, if your testosterone is low, Dr. Fox will have you do an adrenal panel to get to the root cause of your hormonal imbalance.

Another way to improve testosterone levels is by taking DHEA, a precursor to testosterone. You will want to check your levels first. If testosterone levels are low, taking supplemental DHEA can help give you a natural boost. 

Testosterone levels can also be affected by cancer, pituitary disease, certain medications, alcohol and drug abuse, and testicular injury or infection – although these are rare. If you are experiencing any signs of low or imbalanced testosterone, talk to Dr. Fox at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine so she can investigate further!

What Is The Link Between Low Testosterone & Depression?

Studies show a connection between low testosterone and depression.

The two imbalances share a few common symptoms, including fatigue, anxiety, low sex drive, sleep problems, irritability, and trouble concentrating. 

However, low testosterone often causes notable physical symptoms like decreased endurance, low libido, and an inability to build muscle. The most common symptoms of depression, on the other hand, are apathy, lack of motivation, and anhedonia (the loss of the ability to feel pleasure).

Does low testosterone cause depression? Experts are still in debate. Depression is a common symptom of low testosterone and easily treated with bioidentical hormone therapy. If you feel depressed, have your functional medicine doctor check your testosterone and other androgen levels. 

How To Boost Testosterone Naturally

Hormone replacement therapy at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado starts with a blood draw to see your free testosterone, total testosterone, DHEA, DHT, and estradiol levels as well as an adrenal panel. Dr. Fox will then use the results to determine the root cause of your imbalance hormones. 

Testosterone comes in two forms – total testosterone and free testosterone. Total testosterone levels are a combination of free testosterone and protein-bound testosterone. Free testosterone is the one that binds to receptors on the cells and influences male hormonal health. 

The free testosterone is the one you want to check and optimize.

Once she’s determined the cause of your low testosterone, Dr. Fox may prescribe bioidentical testosterone cream. Testosterone cream is the best choice for treating low testosterone because it provides a consistent daily dose of hormones. Once on the testosterone cream, you will feel more energy, strength, endurance, and vitality!

How Long Does It Take For Bioidentical Testosterone To Work?

Bioidentical testosterone effectiveness varies from person to person. You may start to see improvement in your low testosterone symptoms within three weeks, but it may also take a couple of months. 

Dr. Fox often recommends you try hormone replacement therapy for six months to see if it will be an effective treatment for you. 

Dr. Fox uses herbs to prevent testosterone from becoming estradiol and DHT. Because bloodwork is the crucial component that keeps your hormone replacement therapy on track, Dr. Fox recommends blood draws at four weeks, three months, and six months to adjust levels and ensure that the bioidentical testosterone cream is achieving the desired results.

Man lifting weights after boosting testosterone naturally with functional medicine

Contact Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado

Bioidentical testosterone therapy for men at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, can treat low or unbalanced hormone levels. Dr. Fox , who has over 20 years of functional medicine experience, uses a functional medicine approach to treat low testosterone and androgen deficiency. She looks for the root cause of your hormonal imbalance and supports you on the journey back to optimal health.

If you have low testosterone, contact Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado to schedule a consultation for bioidentical testosterone therapy!

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Dr. Terri Rebibo Fox

Dr. Terri Fox is a holistic, integrative, functional medicine doctor in Boulder, Colorado. She works on your behalf as a medical detective searching for the underlying dysfunction, instead of just treating your symptoms. She has expertise in fatigue, bio-identical hormones, sleep disorders, gastro-intestinal dysfunction, and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome from mold toxicity and Lyme disease.

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