Lack of energy, a waning sex drive and depression are just a few signs that many men overlook or for which they simply don't seek treatment. But prescription therapy is making men feel better.
Researchers estimate that more than 17 million hard working, hard playing, hard bodied men have a little secret: low testosterone.
The majority of men with "Low T" aren't themselves. They can't sleep, always tired, or unhappy, and they've lost that loving feeling.
In his early 40's, Kenny Jefferson had all the symptoms of low testosterone.
"The least I can do is come and get tested and see where I sit and where levels are,” Jefferson said. “So happens, I was real, real low."
Jefferson's been on the replacement therapy for eight months and said he feels like his old self.
“Used to be I’d want to take a nap at one in the afternoon,” Jefferson said. “Now I keep going and going and when its bed time I crash."
“I started getting tired. Not going to gym,” Dr. Johnny Mitias said. “Then get home and didn’t play with kids as much just lie on the couch.”
He is an orthopedic surgeon, maybe that is what lead Dr. Mitias to ask his doctor to test his T level, and it was low.
“He gave me an injection on a Friday,” Mitias said. “I woke up Monday morning thinking, oh my gosh, I remember this guy. I felt great.”
Testosterone starts decreasing in most men in their 40's. Men's "andropause" happens much more slowly then women's "menopause" and may go unnoticed.
T levels in younger men can also drop because obesity, diabetes and depression.
"We have gotten guys off anti- depressants, off sleep aids, Levitra and Cialis just because they were secondary to low testosterone,” Ageless Men’s Health’s Jeff Pipkin said. ”When you treat the testosterone, the symptoms go away."
“They just don’t know," Mitias said.
Of the estimated 17 million men with low testosterone, Dr. Mitias said only about one million get treatment. Some men don’t know; others worry about possible risks from the hormone.
Treatment does require regular monitoring of the T level and other vital signs.
“Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer but it will make it worse,” Mitias said. “So we keep a close eye on the patients’ PSA.”
There is no turning back for Jefferson. Like the claims of other men; he's now sleeping through the night, feeling rested during the day and he's got that loving feeling again.
"You feel the same kind of energy for sex that you felt,” Jefferson said. “The sex drive is tremendous."
A blood test is needed to check your Testosterone level.
If its low, your doctor will likely prescribe a daily gel that you put on your chest or arms. Some patients may require injections. Most insurance plans cover part of the cost.