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The Times Online – Is TRT the cure for middle age?

| By: Dr Robert Stevens

It is interesting, the USA has a far more advanced health care system than here in the UK, open to new ideas and treatments that are not approved over here.  It’s no secret that the Americans have higher demands and greater expectations than us Brits.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing?  I think that they expect a greater degree of autonomy in the decisions they make about their lives, that we don’t.  We have an assumption and acceptance that the government is acting in our best interest, and decisions are made based on the greater good, not the sole needs of an individual.

The NHS was founded on the philosophy of need.  It wasn’t, nor can be, a progressive health care system as it simply lacks the finances and resources to even cope with current demand, let alone develop and nurture new treatments.  Money actually serves as the catalyst for change in America, along with acceptance that this medium will give you whatever you desire.  If you are American and you have the cash, you can pretty much have whatever you desire.  The American Dream.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in the US is big business because it works and there is a growing amount of research to support its use.  That aside, if common sense was to prevail, surely optimising a natural hormone in your body for life would make perfect sense?  The presumption that you should accept a decline in testosterone levels as a natural consequence of aging is ludicrous in my opinion.  If you are a person of principle, then you should really stop taking all of your preventative medications.  It is surely hypocritical to take any medication that alters the natural course of things?  Throw away those blood pressure pills, cholesterol tablets and heart medications because you are defying nature by taking them.  You can’t apply logic to the argument that TRT is unnatural.  In fact, since it is a bioidentical hormone, it is in more natural than 99% of the medications your doctor willingly hands out without a second thought!

I’m a big advocate in prevention over cure;  lifestyle, nutrition and exercise are the cornerstones of health.  I have always been inspired by the Thomas Edison quote “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”.  Preventative medication should be used as an adjutant to adopting a healthy lifestyle.  There is no rationale in addressing one integral element, without addressing the others.  This is something we encourage here at the Men’s Health Clinic.  TRT is not a band aid.  Optimising your testosterone levels will give you the necessary platform to allow you to be YOU again.

The Times article concentrates on the notion that TRT is useful in improving symptoms of low libido and energy, and this is fortunately one of the first things my patients note.  Take a look at the testimonial page on our website to see what our patients have to say about TRT and The Men’s Health Clinic.

Testosterone is known as the male sex hormone and is indeed necessary for healthy sexual function in both men and women, as this article highlights.  It is often one of the main symptoms that my patients present with, and they are thrilled that it is one of the first things they note improves with commencing treatment.  It is however only one of the benefits of TRT.  Admittedly, subjectively, a very important one.  A healthy sex drive and libido is pivotal to men’s health.  We are very simple creatures, a happy sex life has a knock on effect in our relationships.  Our confidence and self-esteem improve, which projects to our lives outside of the bedroom.  You could argue that this is enough to justify optimising testosterone levels in all men suffering with symptoms of low testosterone, yet the health benefits of testosterone extend much further than just an improvement in sexual function and energy, as the article dictates.

A healthy testosterone also improves metabolic markers involved in cardiovascular health such as lipids & cholesterol.  It improves insulin sensitivity, thus reducing the risk of diabetes.  It increases bone mineral density necessary for bone strength, decreasing the risk of fractures.  It also improves inflammatory markers & liver function.  The list goes on.

It is well recognised that testosterone is involved in increased muscle mass, necessary for increased strength and stamina.  The use of testosterone and its derivatives in competitive sports is well documented, as athletes continue to do whatever is possible to increase their chances of success.  Testosterone Replacement Therapy is banned in competitive sports.  It is classed as a Performance Enhancing Drug, giving the athlete an unfair advantage in their field.  Optimising testosterone is safe, it’s just not fair in competition.

Testosterone really shouldn’t be solely viewed as a sex-hormone, its benefits are far more wide reaching than this.  A healthy testosterone level will serve as a foundation for you to achieve your potential. With lifestyle, nutrition and exercise being the cornerstones of health, TRT can indeed help you be you again.

See how we can help you here at the Men’s Health Clinic.

The Times article can be found online here.

Dr Robert Stevens MBChB MRCGP Dip.FIPT