It is perfectly normal to want to maintain a healthy sex drive as you age, and testosterone not only controls your sex drive, but your muscle mass, sperm production, and bone density as well.
However, testosterone supplementation may not be the answer for everyone.
Sex drive peaks in early adulthood and then drops about 1% every year thereafter, so the lessening of libido is a normal part of aging. But some men suffer from a condition known as hypogonadism, an unusual drop in testosterone. In those men, testosterone therapy may very well help increase their sex drive.
But before you hop in bed with testosterone pills for men, consider this: Science has not shown that t-therapy helps in cases of low to normal testosterone levels that are a result of the normal aging process.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, no pills, whether prescription or over the counter, can replace or boost testosterone in men who are deficient in it because of aging. Studies have been shown, at best, to be inconclusive. And in fact, the long term side effects of testosterone therapy are unknown. They do know that there is a connection between testosterone supplements and heart and kidney problems.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talking about sexual problems is never easy. Asking your doctor about your “drive drop” may be uncomfortable. But before you buy products claiming to boost your sex drive or cure erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor. Only he can tell you if you have a problem that is the outcome of natural aging or if you have a legitimate testosterone problem.
He can test for hypogonadism, and if you have the condition, he can prescribe supplementation that may help. There are side effects you should be aware of, though, even for those who actually need t-therapy. These include sleep apnea, enlarged breasts, acne, and testicle shrinkage. The Mayo Clinic does not recommend testosterone pills for men who are simply aging normally.
Lifestyle Changes to Help Low Testosterone
The number one priority in naturally boosting testosterone is sleep. For many men, this is the more important cause of low testosterone. You need to make sleep a priority, even if it means changing your late night habits and turning the TV or computer off earlier than you’d like. You need a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also a major factor. So if you weigh too much, consider an exercise routine to add to a healthy diet to get and keep the weight off. If you’re underweight, you may need supplementation to get up to a healthy weight and stay there. Again, talk to your doctor.
Stay active. Start and maintain a regular exercise routine, which keys your brain to tell your body to make more of the hormone. But don’t over do it. Endurance and extreme muscle building can actually decrease your testosterone level.
Manage your stress levels, which cause your body to release cortisol instead of testosterone. Your workday should come in at under 10 hours per day, and you should try to schedule in something you just like to do for an hour or two every day. Many men find walking to be stress-reducing.
Consider any medications you are taking. Some types of medication can cause testosterone levels to drop, including opioid drugs such as OxyContin, glucocorticoid, fentanyl, MS Contin, drugs such as prednisone, and steroids. Ask your doctor if any of your medicines could be causing your problem.
All of these are factors in low testosterone, and keeping them at healthy levels are much more likely to increase t-levels than testosterone pills for men.
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