Testosterone has become more than a hormone – elevated in popular culture into this greater concept of “masculinity”. That stems, in part, in science, as men produce 90-95% more testosterone than women.
But one of the biggest discrepancies I continue to see, even after 20+ years of delivering hormone replacement therapy, is that both men and women often think testosterone and immediately think only sex drive and muscles. For some, that’s what makes you pick up the phone, for others that’s holds you back from considering HRT in the first place.
Testosterone is paramount to libido, sexual function and muscle tone in both men and women. But stopping there is only seeing a part of the health and wellness story, because testosterone actually affects every tissue in our bodies.
Simply put, adequate levels of testosterone aren’t just a “nice to have” for the body, they are a “must have”.
Studies have shown that optimal levels of testosterone are in fact beneficial for heart health, skeletal health and mental health, and when not at optimal levels, can seriously degrade quality of health and quality of life. Low testosterone levels have even been associated with increased mortality in male veterans.
Many men and women I talk to are indeed concerned with sexual health and a toned appearance. That’s great, because we can and will address that. But it’s important for all patients, and often their partners, to understand that treating suboptimal testosterone is a much larger topic than sex and muscles. It means addressing heart health, bone density, mood, weight gain (think diabetes), and beyond.
Our commitment to every patient begins and ends with optimizing your wellness and enhancing your quality of life. For those of you that have put hormone replacement therapy off your radar for one reason or another, my goal is to make sure you’ve done so with all the information at hand. Because you never know, you might find that a better way of living starts with simply understanding what your own hormone levels are.