Restoring energy levels, muscle tone and strength, and re-invigorating the libido
Just about all men will notice a slow drop in their energy levels, strength and libido as they go through their 40s, a process that accelerates through their 50s and 60s.
It can be depressing to experience this inexorable march of the ageing process, and until recently health care has paid little attention to treating it.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is of course well known and standard for menopausal women, but for men and their rather slower and less symptomatic decline - often called the andropause - there has been no help.
Until now. The advent of bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), has created a treatment for men that should slow the ageing process, helping men to hold onto their physical strength, energy levels, confidence, libido and overall balance for many more years.
Treating the andropause: How does BHRT work in men?
The middle-aged symptoms - the gradual decline in ‘maleness’ - is the result of falling levels of at least three hormones in the body:
Testosterone: The male hormone that provides many of the characteristics typical of maleness, such as libido, muscle tone and strength, stamina, confidence, and mental capabilities;
DHEA: A steroid hormone that is both responsible for a general sense of well-being and confidence, as well as being physiologically a precursor of testosterone. Almost unheard of in classical medicine, DHEA is increasingly recognised as a valuable addition to any andropause treatment. Its use has been shown to greatly improve quality of life, boosting energy levels, memory, libido and strength, promoting weight-loss and alleviating joint pain;
Pregnenolone: Another steroid hormone that is a precursor of both DHEA and all the sex hormones, and which itself directly helps to maintain mental abilities, including memory and ability to concentrate and to analyse.
BHRT consists of giving at least testosterone daily, and often DHEA and/or pregnenolone too. Over a period of time they work to restore the body’s male hormone levels and hence greatly reducing the typical andropause symptoms.
Starting the bio-identical hormone therapy process
Before starting treatment you will need to have a consultation with Dr Drucker to allow her to assess whether BHRT is suitable for you. During this she will:
- Describe the treatment to you;
- Ask you to fill in a form that provides your medical history;
- Ask you about your andropause symptoms;
- Take a sample of blood, which will be sent to a specialised laboratory for tests.
The tests will measure a number of things in your blood, including testosterone and DHEA levels, of course. Your Prostate Surface Antigen (PSA) level will also be measured to check for the health of your prostate gland.
A raised PSA level may mean that you need further investigations, and that BHRT is not appropriate for you.
Assuming that your PSA level is normal, Dr Drucker will then use the test results to determine how much DHEA and/or testosterone you should be treated with. She will then write up a prescription, which will be sent to a specialist pharmacy, who will put together your own personalised formulations for you to start taking.
How to take the BHRT hormones
A huge amount of research has gone into working out the best ways for you to take these hormones to get the best results risk-free.
The best methods for DHEA and testosterone differ:
- Testosterone is best taken as a skin cream applied every morning, a time when male hormone levels in the blood are naturally at their highest;
- DHEA is best taken as a daily pill on an empty stomach (principally first thing in the morning, before breakfast);
- Pregnenolone is best taken as a daily pill, in the evening before bedtime.
These are the methods favoured by Dr Drucker.
Remember: This is a long-term treatment, life-enhancing process that you may decide to stay on for a good number of years, during which you will need to take the prescribed hormones every day.
Reacting to the treatment
General improvements in the way you feel should develop within a couple of weeks of treatment starting. However, you may notice changes, such as a rise in energy levels and mood, within a few days, but these can be erratic and may take a while to become consistent. You may possibly also suffer some headaches in the first week or so, but these should fade as the body adapts to the new hormone levels.
Details of the treatment process
Before deciding to join up for BHRT please read the full description of the treatment process, including the consultations and tests you will need to have, and what you will need to pay for.