Low Testosterone Treatment

Hi, I am not sure if this community is the right place for this post but here goes: about 8 years ago I was referred to an Endocrinologist who did blood tests for all the usual things and found my T was very low (3). Everything else he felt was normal. He prescribed Testim gel to be applied daily. after a few months my T was up to 15 but I was having side effects - hair loss, very greasy skin and face acne, red and sore nipples. He suggested these were all to be expected. After about 6 months I noticed I was putting on weight and developing man boobs, and my testicle was shrinking. Again the specialist said these were all to be expected. All the specialist could suggest was to reduce the dose to 25mg per day. After 8 years on Testim mostly on 25mg my T is now about 9. My waistline has continued to expand, mostly belly fat, my hair is now very thin - male pattern baldness and my testicle is about the size of a marble. At a recent GP appointment I was surprised to be told that the Testim is in fact a strong steroid and as I understand it long term use of steroids can have all sorts of problems like weight gain and diabetes. I asked my GP if there are any natural ways to increase T without these steroid gels - a blank expression was all I got back. I am now starting to feel that using the Testim has caused a lot of problems and am tempted to stop using it. I am 67 and a widower. Does anyone know of a better way?

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  • Hi Yorkie, I've just had a glance at your past posts, and can't see any mention of a thyroid problem - do you have a thyroid problem? I see you have elevated cholesterol, which would suggest that you do. So, how are your thyroid levels at the moment?

    When one hormone is out of kilter, all the others will probably be so, too. But, optimising your thyroid levels might help with your testosterone.

    Also, I see you're taking statins. When did you start them? Are you still taking them? Because if you are, you don't have a hope in hell of raising your testosterone naturally. In order to make sex hormones, the adrenals need cholesterol. No cholesterol, no testosterone. Simple as that.

  • If you've not had a recent blood test for your thyroid hormones. Ask GP for TSH, T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3 and antibodies. Follow this procedure to get the best result:-

    When you have blood tests for thyroid hormones, they should be the very earliest possible, and fasting although you can drink water. Leave about 24 hours between your last dose of levothyroxine (if you get diagnosed and prescribed) and the test as this allows the TSH to be at its highest and that is mainly what the doctor uses to adjust hormones.

    Get a print-out of the results and post on a new question. Lab may not do FT4 and FT3 if your TSH and T4 are within the range. (TSH means thyroid stimulating hormone and T4 is the circulating thyroid hormone in our blood.

    greygoose is correct that cholesterol can be a clinical symptom of hypothyroidism,

  • Testim is a synthetic testosterone hormone, NOT a steroid!!

    Have you had your oestrogen levels checked? It can increase when taking testosterone. Also, it's possible for your body to stop producing as much testosterone when you start on replacement so you might need an increase if your testosterone has gone lower.

    My husband was using 2 sachets of Testogel (same as Testim) but is now on sustanon injections instead and has fewer side effects. He has also been prescribed something to reduce oestrogen but i can't remember what it's called. He's only in his 30s though, so I don't know if that will make a difference to the available treatments.

    Have you asked to see a different endocrinologist? Your GP sounds clueless!

  • Thanks for commenting on my post. I have been on Statins and Blood Pressure medication for probably 15 years. As my other posts have mentioned I have always struggled with the side effects but according to my GP I have little choice. My GP has tried changing the meds to try and find those that give me least side effects. I am now on Rosuvastatin 5mg and Candesarten 8mg, plus Aspirin and Fexofenadine 120mg to try and counter itchiness from the Candesarten. My Testosterone is 9, Cholesterol is 4.5. My BP goes up and down between 190/100 and 145/80 from one day to the next. Its always up when I have it tested at my GP - white coat syndrome I guess. I have had blood test a few months ago, i.e. Full blood count,Urea and Electrolytes, Liver function, Serum lipid, PSA. There wasn't any mention of Thyroid. I guess I need to be more specific with my GP.

  • They won't test for thyroid unless you specifically mention it! High blood pressure can also be a symptom of low thyroid. High blood pressure is always a symptom of something, it's not a disease. Your doctor should be trying to find out what's causing it, rather than just throwing pills at it.

    OK, so that's why your testosterone is low then : statins! It doesn't matter which one you take, low cholesterol means low sex hormones. But, doctors are so ignorant when it comes to hormones that they can't work that out!

    So, why don't you have any choice but to take statins - apart from it being a nice little earner for your doctor! Remember, he really does not have your best interests at heart, it's all about money.

    My 'boyfriend' was on statins for years - I warned him, but he wouldn't listen! He didn't even have high cholesterol, the doctor wanted him to take them 'just in case' as he was around 70 at the time. Well, first he developed diabetes, and then he found he had prostate cancer... Well, his testosterone was so low, it wasn't a surprise. Testosterone protects from prostate cancer, and they'd stripped away that protection!

    By the way, it's just by chance that I found this reply, and I doubt anyone else will have seen it, because no-one will have got notification that you've replied. You cannot just give a general reply on this site, you have to click on the green 'Reply' button under the post you're replying to, and then the person will be notified.

  • Ok, thanks greygoose, sorry you had to tell me how to use this site. When I say I have no choice but to take statins I say that because I did stop taking them for 6 weeks with agreement from my GP. During that time my cholesterol went fro 4.6 to 6.9. I also at this same time got referred to the stroke clinic after having a visual disturbance (lost vision in one eye for a few hours). They did loads of tests but found nothing. However, the consultant went ape when he learned I had stopped taking statins. He insisted that went back on them immediately saying I was at serious risk of having a stroke. He wrote to my GP with the same comments. My GP then said to me that he had to follow the instruction from the hospital consultant and since my Cholesterol had significantly increased I should go back on statins. Both my parents had strokes (my father at the same age as I am now). Surely we have to have some trust in our GP's?

  • But cholesterol doesn't cause strokes. That's been proved over and over again. I would suggest you do some serious research of your own, rather than rely on doctors whose education has been provided by sales reps, desperate to sell statins. And no, I have no trust what. so. ever. in doctors.

    And one thing is cristal clear : you will never be able to raise you testosterone whilst taking statins.

    I would recommend you read the blogs and books of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick to learn about cholesterol and the statin con. There is no law that says you have no choice but to do as you're told by doctors - especially doctors who are harming your health with dangerous drugs. You do have a choice, and a free will, you're not a puppet. And these doctors are not gods!

    drmalcolmkendrick.org/

  • Hi Greygoose, I hope you are well. I took to heart your comments about 9 months ago and saw a different endo that was recommended on this site. He was like a breath of fresh air - he looked at all the meds I was taking and told be to stop taking all of them except those for blood pressure and the Aspirin. So I stopped the statins and the Testim. This was about 8 months ago. Since then my Cholesterol has been tested and has gone from 4.6 (while on statins) to 6.8 in March and 6.0 last week (July). My GP keeps an eye on this and is inclined for me to go back on statins but has agreed with me that I should continue to try and manage the Cholesterol by lifestyle / diet. I am not managing to lose any weight but at least the Cholesterol is not going up. However, over the last few months I have been suffering from fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches, low sex drive. My GP did a blood test last week and its come back as (no Testosterone) and I have a retest set for tomorrow. I am pretty sure that's going to come back the same and I will be recommended to go back on the Testim which will result in all the side effects I described in my first post. I had hoped that my Testosterone might have rallied after stopping the statins but it doesn't look like that's happening. I feel generally pretty rubbish at the moment so I guess I need to do something to raise my Testosterone levels. Back on Testim I guess. Are the injections likely to have less side-effects?

  • The cholesterol is a complete red herring! It doesn't matter if it goes high - whatever you do, don't go back on statins! But, it would suggest that you are hypothyroid.

    When you are hypo, with low T3, the body cannot use the cholesterol correctly, so it mounts up in the blood, and that's why your cholesterol is high. It has little to do with what you eat. Just forget it, and concentrate on getting your T3 optimal. When you've done that, the adrenals will be able to use the cholesterol to make testosterone. But, nothing good is going to happen until that T3 is optimised. Have you not had your thyroid tested, yet, in all those nine months?

  • Yes, I have had thyroid and parathyroid tested and my GP said both were normal.

  • And you took his word for it? Ask for a print-out and see for yourself. You need to know exactly what was tested, and exactly what the results were. Doctors are notorious for getting it wrong, when it come to thyroid. And, yours wants to prescribe statins for you, because he gets finding points for that. He gets nothing for prescribing levo.

  • I got a copy of the Thyroid test results:

    Serum TSH 2.1 mu/L

    Serum free T4 12.1pmol/L

    I also got the results of the retest of Testosterone. That came back as before - no testosterone. My GP sent me a prescription to go back on Testim gel. However, I spoke to the receptionist (can't get past them these days!) and said I didn't want to just go back on Testim since it was the side effects from it that made me stop using it at the end of last year. Also, it might not be too surprising with hindsight that my testosterone have dropped through the floor since I was prescribed a steroid cream for the itching in the groin / sctrotum area for twice a day over a year ago. I have asked to be referred to an Endochrinologist to review the situation and try and establish the cause of the problem before just restarting the Testim.

  • Well, I hope you get a good one! Contact Louise for her list of decent endos.

    Your TSH is too high for someone on thyroid hormone replacement. It should be one or under. You don't give the range for the FT4 (please, please, always give ranges) but it does look low, So, your FT3 is likely to be low. Probably quite a long way from optimal. :(

  • Sorry if I have confused you. the ranges are:

    Serum TSH 2.1 (range 0.35 - 4.94)

    Serum Free T4 12.1 (range 9.0 - 19.0)

    I am not on any Thyroid Replacement Therapy - I am talking about Testosterone Replacement Therapy (Testim gel).

    Who is Louise and how do I contact her?

  • Oh, sorry, I didn't got back to the beginning and reread. But, I did think you were hypo as well as low testosterone.

    In any case, your TSH is on the high side, so your gland is struggling. And, the fact that your cholesterol is going up, does rather point to hypothyroidism. It would be interesting to know what your FT3 is.

    Louise is one of the Admin. I can't remember her new surname, because she just got married. Therefore can't remember her email address. But, you could post a new question, asking just that.

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