Too Tired, Depressed and Lethargic?
You Might be Low in Testosterone!
He felt he was at the lowest point in his life. For five years, he had been suffering daily fatigue and lethargy, diminished drive and motivation to live; lost confidence and vitality, and most of all, five years of indifference to women and sex! A chance encounter leads to a revelation that he was suffering from Testosterone Deficiency – a condition commonly found in men in their mid-40s and onwards.
On local television, TCS Channel 8 actor Bernard Tan is your macho hunk of a crime-buster showing off his brute strength and fast and slick power punches to beat down baddie smugglers to a pulp. In real life though, his daily existence was the extreme opposite. It was Life who was beating him to a pulp. He was dragging himself to work everyday due to chronic fatigue and lethargy. He felt depressed and had lost all motivation to live.
Fortunately, a checklist in a pamphlet in a clinic caught his eye, and answering seven out of the 10 questions in the list, he realised he could be suffering from Hypogonadism – a medical term for decreased functional activity of the gonads that results in lower amounts of testosterone, which then leads to fatigue and decreased sex drive.
Testosterone Deficiency Can Cause Depression in Men
Bernard Tan’s case is not uncommon at all. According to data from a survey by the Society of Men’s Health in Singapore, one in four local men above 45 years old suffer from testosterone deficiency1, and among these men, over 20% reported experiencing depressed mood.2
In addition, according to Prof Peter Lim, Senior Consultant Urologist at Gleneagles Hospital and President of Society for Men’s Health Singapore, well-controlled studies indicated testosterone levels are lower in depressed men than in healthy men3, and those treated for testosterone had a significantly greater rate of decrease in the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale4.
Testosterone Deficiency Research Shows Higher Mortality
Perhaps what men really need to sit up and pay heed to is that, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal in 2010, there is accumulating evidence of an association between Testosterone Deficiency and cardiovascular co-morbidities and an increased risk of mortality when compared with men with normal testosterone levels5.
According to an article on www.mayoclinic.com, “Testosterone therapy can help reverse the effects of hypogonadism, but it’s unclear whether testosterone therapy would have any benefit for older men who are otherwise healthy.”
Testosterone Therapy for Men
Treatment for male hypogonadism dependson the cause and whether you’re concerned about fertility.
For hypogonadism caused by testicular failure, doctors use male hormone replacement (testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT), which can restore sexual function and muscle strength and prevent bone loss. In addition, men receiving TRT often experience an increase in energy, sex drive and sense of well-being.
Methods of TRT delivery include:
• Injection. Testosterone injections are safe and effective. Injections are given in a muscle about every two weeks.
• Patch. A patch containing testosterone can be applied each night to the back, abdomen, upper arm or thigh.
• Gel. Testosterone gel is rubbed on the lower abdomen, upper arm or shoulder. As the gel dries, the body absorbs testosterone through the skin.
Launched last year in Singapore is AndroGel® – a daily testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) that can bring testosterone levels back to normal and help keep them there. A prescription medicine only, AndroGel® comes in individually wrapped sachets. Androgel© is the only US FDA-approved testosterone gel in Singapore.
A study in the US found treatment with AndroGel® restored T levels in men with low T levels to normal range. AndroGel® treatment was effective in improving sexual function, mood, and muscle strength, increasing lean body mass and decreasing body fat.
• Oral. Taking testosterone orally isn’t recommended for long-term hormone replacement, because it may cause liver problems, raise cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease.
1 Data from survey by the Society of Men’ Health, 2010
2 Data from survey by the Society of Men’ Health, 2007-2009
3 Schweiger et al. 1999; 3. Barrett-Connor et al. 1999
4 Pope, HG, et al., Am J Psychiatry 2003; 160:105–111
5 Eur Heart J (2010) 31 (12): 1436-1437. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq096