One of many articles in the New York Times noted that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that afflicts about a third of men in their 50s and half of men in their 60s. This condition affects tens of millions of men and it is but one of several sexual maladies. According to the article, “for couples on a limited budget, the cost of drugs like Viagra or Cialis, at about $15 a pill, and not covered by most private and federal insurance plans, can be prohibitive to use on a regular basis.” Dangerous side-effects such as blindness have also been reported by users of these sexual enhancement drugs.
What if there was another way to treat sexual dysfunction in older men?
Research from U.S. government-sponsored testosterone trial, released on February 17, 2016, suggests that low testosterone is the cause for many sexual problems men experience, especially as they age. The multi-center trial included a total of 790 men, who were aged 65 and older and had lower levels of the hormone testosterone, as compared to the average of younger men, aged 19 to 40 years of age.
This ground-breaking research revealed that by bringing the levels of testosterone to the levels of that of the younger men, the older men improved their sexual interest, sexual function and erectile function. Interestingly, the research noted that greater testosterone had minimal effect on the older men’s energy levels and walking ability.
In an effort to decipher what this research means to older men, the founder of Hormonal Health, Wellness and Aesthetic Centers – Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC – was asked for her professional opinion of this study.
This Report Supports Hormone Replacement Therapy
“In the past few years, we have had many reports about the effects of testosterone therapy.” Terri noted. “The great thing about this government—sponsored research is that it is positive in its results. Historically, some of the reports (about testosterone replacement) have been more negative and have created some unfounded fears in the general population.
“While I believe this report is a good thing, any time we are talking about sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and other disorders in men, it is becoming more and more of interest. As we are living longer these days, we realize that sexual health is a vital part of our well-being. So, I think this news is really positive.”
If you are experiencing low libido, ED, lack of desire or other sexual conditions and are ready to change this, click here to make a no-obligation appointment with Terri and her team.
As Men Age, Testosterone Levels Decline
“Testosterone is the ‘driver’ of desire in both men and women,” she noted. “Interestingly, for men, sexual desire is probably the last symptom to be noticed when testosterone begins to decline. Starting in their mid-thirties and sometimes younger, men lose between 2 and 10 percent of their testosterone. So, by the time they get in their mid-forties, this hormone is really much lower than when they were younger. It’s actually a pretty sharp decline.”
“However, men typically have a strong sexual desire and when they get to the lowest level of testosterone, that’s when that desire goes. Plus, a lot of men who are 50 and older are on other medications which also affect libido and sexual function. It is multi-factorial and it is definitely something of concern to men.
Are there other factors besides testosterone which might affect a man’s sexual interest?
“We’re talking about two different things,” she said. “Desire and function. Most men lose the physical ability before they lose desire. The desire to have sex, in a normal male, is the last thing to go. However, there are medical conditions and medications that do affect sexual desire, including blood pressure medications and anti-depressants. Both will affect desire and function.”
“Realizing that the sexual desire is gone can be very hard for men. It can actually exacerbate depression.”
What About Other Age-Related Problems?
The government’s study was designed to determine whether replacing testosterone, lost due to normal aging, can cause age-related illnesses such as decreased energy, sexual interest, cognition and even bone density. Are there other hormones besides testosterone necessary to help an older man’s physical ability levels?
“This is the challenge of these types of studies,” Terri said. “I’d like to know what type of testosterone they put these subjects on. What did they get their (testosterone) levels to? These are all very important considerations.”
“In our practice, we’ve treated thousands of males and energy is one of the first things that increases greatly! We’ve seen bone density improvements. Obviously, we’ve also seen sexual function improve.”
“One of the things that I was disappointed about this study is that they didn’t talk about the type of testosterone they used. In our practice, we want our male patients to be in an optimum range of testosterone – the ‘youthful level’ which is around 900 to 1,000. That’s the sweet spot for testosterone in the blood for men. It’s when they feel the best. I didn’t see anything in that report where they noted the subject’s achieved testosterone level. This would give us more information about the ‘energy’ aspect of the results.
How Do ED Drugs Work?
By watching the number of commercials on primetime TV, one would think that every man on the planet is experiencing some form of ED.
Can testosterone replacement therapy take the place of these prescription drugs for this condition?
“Since erectile dysfunction is caused by multiple factors, in some cases, it can,” Terri noted. “Low testosterone absolutely plays a role, but so does the natural process of aging. The vasculature of the penis is one of the things that can cause this problem. As we age, the blood vessels get stiff and they are unable to expand in the way they did when we were younger. So, there is a ‘mechanical’ problem caused by the aging process, not just the low testosterone.”
“What all of these drugs (for ED) do is they increase blood flow for men, which increases their erectile function. Some men are able to go off these drugs, but some can’t because this is a part of the normal aging process.”
“In our clinics, we see preventative measures that have worked,” she said. “For example, if a man begins replacing his testosterone in his early forties, when it begins to go lower, he will often experience less decline in his erectile function. There are other treatments as well, such as platelet rich plasma therapy (PRP). This therapy is really phenomenal because you are injecting platelets from your own blood. The platelets have stem cells and growth factors, which rejuvenate the vasculature of the penis.”
Younger Men are Not Immune from this Condition
The study focused on men older than 65, but what about younger men? Do they have lower sexual energy from low testosterone?
“Not typically,” she said. “However, when a young man has low sexual energy one of the first things he would want to check would be his testosterone level because this is certainly not normal.”
“We are seeing younger and younger men with lower testosterone levels and there are a lot of theories for this. One that we know has this effect on younger men comes as a result of consuming all of the processed foods they eat. The hormones that are added to the foods are really affecting younger men. Plus, the medications that teens are taking – for depression and ADHD – are affecting the brain chemistry and the hormones start in the brain.”
Diagnosis and Treatment are Easy
If someone is concerned about low testosterone, how complicated is the diagnosis process?
“It’s very simple,” Terri said. “First, we get the blood work done and test, not only hormones, but the other factors that might be affecting the patient such as vitamin E and iodine levels along with the thyroid. We look at all these labs, evaluate them and come up with a treatment plan.”
“The majority of the men who come to our clinics are great candidates for hormone replacement therapy and we prefer the natural testosterone which is delivered via pellet therapy. It’s been around since the 1930’s, it’s been widely tested and guys only have to have this treatment twice a year.”
If you would like to listen to the entire interview with Terri Suresh DeNeui talking about treating sexual dysfunction with hormone replacement therapy, listen to our podcast.
If you are experiencing the effects of low testosterone, this condition is treatable. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation and start experiencing all the joy life has to offer.