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Restoring your Testosterone now – The Male Menopause

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Walking down Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok you might have noticed “TRT” offered in the shop windows of the latest clinics popping up and thought to yourself, what does it mean? TRT stands for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and a short walk in Bangkok reveals it seems to be gaining popularity. It is important to note that it is just one of many ways I will also now tell you about that men can use to combat the Male Menopause and boost their testosterone.

What is Male Menopause?

Let’s jump straight into the topic. TRT is a treatment to raise the levels of testosterone within your body. There are also lifestyle changes you can make first to ensure you are actively raising levels as well. Testosterone in simple terms is the hormone for manliness in men. It is the primary sex hormone also responsible for many other body functions and behaviours for men – think drive, libido and strength. After the age of 30, the level of testosterone is estimated to decrease by 1% for every year after that. This means by 50, you have approximately 20% less testosterone than you did in your prime years. For some, this is still above the threshold your body needs but for others you might have already noticed changes with your body that you cannot explain. These hormonal changes in men result in what we know as the Male Menopause.

What causes the Male Menopause?

Your testosterone level eroding as your body clock ticks is not all that is working against you. There are also a few other lifestyle factors you do have some control over which may accelerate the Male Menopause effect. 

We are all born with differing levels of hormones, and this includes our base level of testosterone. Some men are born with more, and some less and so it reasons that each man will be impacted by Male Menopause differently. Unhealthy diet can also explain why low testosterone can be a worry for men as young as 21. Eating the wrong kind of fats or too many carbohydrates can cause insulin to spike after eating which also reduces the testosterone levels. For the most part our diets in Thailand are healthy, but it is something to be aware of. Lastly, in the fast-paced hustle of Bangkok we can all fall victim to stress or a lack of sleep with our busy work and social lives. Both these issues are going to upset the balance between your stress and sleep hormones (known as cortisol) and testosterone. Lack of sleep and/or too much stress and your cortisol levels are going to remain high and testosterone levels will reduce. I have written in depth about managing stress and insomnia on my Medconsult Clinic Online Blog if you want to learn more about those issues.

How do I recognize it?

If you feel you may need TRT, or are already going to start it, the first thing your doctor is going to do is give you a testosterone level test.This will ascertain how low your testosterone truly is. It will also serve as a baseline level your doctor will monitor as you progress. However, if you want to avoid the clinic there are some good indicators of low testosterone that you can look out for already. The most obvious would be low sex drive, erectile dysfunction or other ‘bedroom issues’ of similar nature.

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone so this is often a good starting point. You know yourself and your body so trust what feels normal to you. Feeling fatigued as the day goes on or the need for frequent naps could also be a sign you may want to check your testosterone. A loss of muscle mass or an unexplained increase in belly fat is also a sign of low testosterone.This one is more concerning as accumulating body fat around the middle is also attributed to a few more serious health issues such as heart disease. Testosterone is a growth hormone and so if you find a hard time gaining muscle, or are even losing it, then making lifestyle changes or considering TRT to raise testosterone levels can help with this. 


Turning back the clock: reversing Male Menopause and increase testosterone

If you are concerned you have naturally low testosterone (younger men) or are feeling the negative impacts of the male menopause as you age, do not let it get you down as you are not alone I can assure you. Many men suffer from this, and like hair loss for men, it is one of these topics that is not widely talked about.

You can drop into a clinic and speak to a doctor to discuss your concerns about low testosterone. The first thing they will do after a discussion around your lifestyle habits and background is get you to do a testosterone level test. With the result of this you can both observe your levels and see how they compare against normal ranges. Some really basic things I tell my patients to try out to stimulate testosterone levels are quitting smoking, moderating their alcohol consumption, losing weight, getting more sleep and reducing stress in their life. If you decide with your doctor that TRT is a good option, it is usually delivered as an oral medication or as an intramuscular injection once a month and so is easily integrated into a routine visit to a clinic. I will leave you with this knowledge that there are many ways for men, like women, to hold onto their best years and to look and feel better about yourself.

Check out our article on the Big Chilli Magazine on Page 76! If you would like to find out more about Dr.Donna, just click here!

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