Q. My husband was diagnosed with low testosterone. What will be his supplement options during testosterone replacement therapy?
A. Low testosterone is a condition that affects 3 to 5 percent of males between the ages of 60 and 79. The most common symptom is low sexual desire. Other symptoms can include erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass or strength, decreased vitality and depressed mood. These symptoms are not exclusive to low testosterone, so other potential diagnoses should be considered. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your testosterone level if it is deemed appropriate when placed in the context of your symptoms. If you are found to have low testosterone, potential risks and benefits of treatment should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor. There are multiple preparations of testosterone that are FDA-approved for testosterone replacement. These include gels that are applied to the skin, pills, tablet-shaped patches that are applied to the upper gum in the mouth, injections, and patches applied to the skin. It would be wise to review your insurance formulary prior to a treatment discussion with your doctor as many of these preparations can be expensive, and your insurance provider may have certain preparations that are better covered.
Paul Boerema, M.D.
Board-Certified in Family Medicine
Family Medicine Center
2700 Westside Drive, Suite 103
Cleveland, TN 37312