When you feel sluggish and have low energy all day, it’s easy to blame a night of poor sleep. And sure, that happens to all of us once in a while. But when that happens day after day, the sleepless nights and low energy can be a signal that something is going wrong within the body.
Testosterone is one of several hormones the body produces, and as you probably already know, one of the most important for men in terms of development and body function — and men don’t stop producing it or needing it once puberty is over. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for everything from facial hair growth to muscle development, and so much more. When testosterone levels aren’t where they should be, it can affect the body in a wide variety of ways.
What Is Low-T?
Low testosterone levels can manifest in the body in a couple of medical concerns, including Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD), and Low Testosterone (Low-T). Both TD and Low-T are hormone imbalances that can affect men at any age, though they become more common concerns as men age. Essentially, Low-T is what happens when the body doesn’t produce as much testosterone as it needs to function properly. The body naturally produces less testosterone as a man ages, but if those levels drop below where they should be, it can have widely ranging impacts.
While Low-T is most commonly talked about in men, it can affect women too. Inadequate testosterone levels in women can cause similar effects such as low libido, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia and hair loss.
Effects of Low-T
Hormones are chemicals produced by the body to trigger a variety of different functions. While testosterone plays a key role in the male reproductive system, it does a lot more than just produce sperm. Testosterone also helps men:
- Maintain bone density
- Control fat distribution
- Maintain muscle mass and strength
- Grow facial and body hair (including the hair on top of the head)
- Produce sufficient red blood cells
- Experience a properly functioning sex drive
In addition, testosterone production (or lack thereof) can also affect energy levels, emotional health and concentration, and ability to sleep well. When the body stops producing enough testosterone, it can have a ripple effect that extends throughout the body and causes other systems to also shift .
What Causes Low-T?
There are a few different reasons the body may not produce enough testosterone. Naturally, the body produces less testosterone as you age. Usually, it’s a very gradual decline of only around 1% per year, and starts somewhere between ages 30–40.
Low-T, however, is more than just the natural decline of testosterone production. A variety of conditions can affect someone’s testosterone production and speed up the rate of declining production. This includes everything from injury and infection to chemotherapy, chronic illness, some medications, stress, obesity, and alcoholism. Since there are such a wide variety of causes, it’s important to start with a functional medicine appointment. For treatment to be the most effective, it’s helpful to know the underlying cause(s). Functional medicine looks at the body as a whole, so they can help treat the cause rather than just symptoms.
Symptoms of Low-T
Some symptoms of Low-T are more obvious than others. Issues relating to sexual function — low sperm production and erectile dysfunction (ED) — can be directly connected to a testosterone deficiency. Other symptoms, however, are less obvious. Any of the following symptoms could be a warning flag of a testosterone deficiency:
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty getting and/or maintaining an erection
- Low sperm count
- Unexplained hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Low bone density
- Weight gain, especially increased body fat
- Reduced muscle mass, especially loss of lean muscle
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low motivation
- Depression, emotional changes
- Swollen/tender breasts
It’s important to note that you may not exhibit all of the above symptoms, and some concerns may be more prevalent than others. Ultimately, you know your body best. Even if you only exhibit one or two of these symptoms, if something feels off to you, visit a functional medicine team to get checked out.
How To Treat Low-T
Talking to your doctor about the symptoms you experience, along with blood tests, can confirm whether you have Low-T levels or not. From there, the right course of treatment will depend on your body’s needs. Options like testosterone replacement therapy, a subset of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) treatments, can help to bring your testosterone levels back to where they ought to be. BHRT uses hormones that are biologically identical to what your body produces. Levels are set by your doctor based on blood testing. Over time, testosterone replacement therapy can help your body regulate hormone production on its own — but that may depend on the underlying cause of your hormone deficiency.
Diet and Exercise
While hormone replacement therapy is the most prevalent treatment for Low-T, there are a few other treatment options you can do to supplement the benefits. Dietary changes and exercise generally won’t be enough on their own, but they can both provide full-body health benefits that nicely supplement your testosterone replacement therapy regimen. Working with a functional medicine team that includes a nutrition counselor can provide guidance about what changes will be the most beneficial. Likewise, if you have concerns about exercise, or limitations, a chiropractor can provide a thorough consultation and adjustments, and a physical therapist can offer exercises that work with your physical abilities.
GAINSWave® Pulse Wave Therapy
Erectile dysfunction is one of the primary symptoms of Low-T. GAINSWave Pulse Wave Therapy can help specifically with ED, but it can also help with performance-based concerns caused by other health issues, like Peyronie’s disease. GAINSWave is a treatment that uses high-frequency, low-intensity sound waves to boost blood flow to the penis. That increased blood flow helps to repair damaged blood vessels and removes micro-plaque that might be hindering blood flow — and thus, also hindering performance. GAINSWave treatments are non-invasive, and typically call for 6–12 sessions that are 20–30 minutes each. Treatments can help increase the frequency of nighttime and morning erections, improve stamina, heighten sensitivity, reduce refractory time, and increase girth and vasculature of the penis shaft.
The Priapus Shot
Also called the P-Shot, the Priapus Shot can help enhance both pleasure and performance. The P-Shot uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to help strengthen and enlarge the penis. By injecting the platelet-rich plasma derived from your own blood, the P-Shot helps to improve erectile strength, boost circulation, and heighten sensation. Results also include a 10–20% increase in both girth and length within 2–4 weeks after treatment. The P-Shot lasts for 15–18 months, and it works as an enhancer for other ED therapies like Cialis or Viagra.
Seeking Help for Low-T
If you experience any of the symptoms for Low-T, you don’t need to just accept it. The functional medicine team at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria can help. From bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to nutrition counseling and ED-focused treatments, we can help you on the road to recovery and proper testosterone levels. We even offer in-house bloodwork and other testing for your convenience. Connect with us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help treat Low-T.