Testosterone plays a necessary role in the human body. It’s the key male sex hormone that regulates fertility, body hair growth, muscle and bone mass. While men have significantly higher levels of testosterone in their bodies, women produce the hormone as well, and both genders can be affected by out-of-whack levels.
Typically, testosterone declines steadily after the age of 30, though more sudden or extreme declines can take a major hit on your lifestyle.
Dr. Michael Oglesbay of Family Health Care of Post Falls is certified in integrative medicine and age management medicine. A member of the Idaho Medical Association, the American Holistic Medical Association and the American College for Advancement in Medicine, Dr. Oglesbay has a reputation for helping patients achieve optimal health through the balancing of nutrition, exercise and hormones.
Testosterone treatment is one of many hormone therapies he offers, pinpointing levels and measuring them against patient symptoms.
“There are lab values… but every male has different optimal levels,” Oglesbay said. “Someone can still test within normal range, but if a man had fairly high testosterone in their youth and suddenly it drops in half, he feels it… like when a typically active man comes in and says I don’t feel like doing anything anymore.’ The endurance is a big one too. You are fatiguing faster, or it takes you longer to recover from a workout.”
Optimal levels of testosterone can be tied to improved energy, strength, endurance and sexual function, Oglesbay said. Significant decreases can be connected to loss of motivation, night sweats, decreases in libido, and even erectile dysfunction in extreme cases.
Oglesbay said that while the loss of testosterone is a normal part of aging, it doesn’t need to make such a drastic influence on your lifestyle.
“We’ve had countless patients who feel so much better, and we are real careful to keep those levels within safe range,” he said. “We can put those levels back to where they were in their prime.”
Testosterone treatment often gets misrepresented, Oglesbay said, with stories about athletes abusing treatments or those who have shown aggressive behavior from extreme dosage.
“It’s not the wicked hormone that was classically talked about in the past - it’s a hormone we’ve carried our whole lives,” he said. “It’s nothing to be feared, but you respect it and you should be treated by someone who knows what they’re doing.”
Oglesbay takes care by monitoring levels of all treated patients, He prefers topical treatments which provide small doses that gradually increase testosterone in the body (and patients generally enjoy avoiding injections). He rechecks levels initially within 4-6 weeks, then as necessary depending on the patient.
A risk of prostate abnormalities has been associated with excess testosterone therapy, though Oglesbay said there’s research attributing optimal levels of testosterone to the prevention of prostate cancer when it is not already present in the body. Inversely, testosterone treatment can be like “miracle grow” on existing cancer, Oglesbay said, which is why he routinely tests the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for abnormal changes after the start of treatment.
For those experiencing a more gradual, age-related loss of testosterone, Oglesbay said people can do a number of things at home to help boost the hormone naturally.
“Exercise brings up testosterone,” he said. “Avoid diets high in soy or products with excess estrogen.”
Weight loss, eating healthy fats, avoiding sugar, reducing stress… all those universally good healthy habits also help with testosterone. Zinc supplements can also help people feel the more positive attributes of the hormone.
On the other hand, Oglesbay said persistent use of pain medication, can significantly influence natural testosterone levels.
“If somebody has been on chronic pain meds, that will permanently decrease their testosterone levels… that’s the reality,” Oglesbay said.
For more information on testosterone and other hormone treatments, contact Family Health Care of Post Falls at (208) 773-1311 or visit www.TheHormoneDr.com