Debbie Wood realised her husband Kerry had a problem the day she married him. “He was totally uninterested in sex and would make every excuse possible to get out of it” she says.
“It wasn’t that he couldn’t perform – he just didn’t want to. We only had sex once or twice a year and he just did it to keep me quiet.”
Unsurprisingly, Debbie, now 44 began to believe that her husband didn’t love her. “It was a constant cause of arguments. By the time we hadn’t had sex for 2 years, I made him go to the Doctor. It was that or get a divorce. Kerry, 50 had a blood test to rule out diabetes, was prescribed anti-depressants and was sent to relationship counselling, but nothing helped.
It was only when he was referred to The Leger Clinic in Doncaster that Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome was correctly diagnosed by Doctor Savage.
Debbie says “within 3 weeks of using a testosterone gel, he was a different fellow. He had more energy, we have a normal married life now.”
Although lack of sex drive and energy are common and important symptoms, TDS is also a potentially life threatening condition. Men with low testosterone are more likely to develop central obesity, insulin resistance, poor glucose control, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels.
This combination of symptoms and signs (known as metabolic syndrome) greatly increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and of having a heart attack or stroke. In fact, if you have an untreated low testosterone level, you are 60% more likely to die prematurely than a similar man with a normal testosterone level.
If the problem is correctly diagnosed, testosterone replacement therapy can improve nearly every aspect of life – and has the potential to prolong it.
Bringing testosterone levels back up into the normal range improves glucose control in diabetes as well as improving energy levels, sleep quality and mood.
It boosts the libido – usually within 4 – 6 weeks of starting treatment. Having a normal testosterone level also increases the chance of a good response to the erection boosting drugs such as Sildenafil (Viagra).
Testosterone deficiency in the younger patient
We are seeing an increasing number of young apparently “healthy” men with symptoms of testosterone deficiency with borderline levels i.e. around 12 nmol/l. These patients are generally told that their levels are normal and they get labelled as suffering from depression or stress. I see some young men who are on their 3rd type of anti-depressant and of course, no improvement to their symptoms.
One of the main problems is when a GP orders blood tests the “normal range” is given out by the laboratory between 7 – 30 nnmol/l by the lab without any mention of age or symptoms or the need to do a calculated free testosterone. Therefore making it likely that the patient will be “dismissed” as not suffering from testosterone deficiency. This is despite the fact that there are now several guidelines which state the importance of the calculated free testosterone level; that levels under 12 warrant a “trial of treatment” and indeed a group of many of the world’s leading andrologists in 2015 stated:
- Symptomatic men with total T levels lower than 12 nmol/l should be treated with T therapy
- A trial of T therapy in symptomatic men with total T levels higher than 12 nmol/l can be considered based upon clinical presentation.
i.e. if a Testosterone specialist such as myself feels that the clinical picture fits with testosterone deficiency, then a trial is justified