Tips & Advice

From Dr. Liz Herself

June 1, 2021
Testosterone at 20 and 50
Healthy Midlife Man and Woman

In dentistry, you may have heard the saying, “You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep.”

In my line of work, you could say you only need to balance the hormones you want to keep.

Now, we women are used to dealing with our hormones. We don’t have any choice. We grow up, things change, we hit puberty, all sorts of things happen. And we know it’s related to our hormones. Boys know that too. For women, it’s almost a daily change. 

It’s a little scary for the guys! We women are different almost every single day.

Midlife Women with black topAnd then… we go through “the change.”

Between perimenopause and menopause, all kinds of changes happen. 

This is well known. It even got made into “Menopause, the Musical!” The women on stage sing and dance on the stage about all these hormonal changes that they are going through. (It’s a lot of fun – my husband enjoyed it also!) 

What about for men?

Testosterone for Men at 20

Obviously, boys go through puberty with all its changes. Testosterone production takes off and peaks when young men are in their 20’s. 

Did you know, however, that starting at age 30, a man’s testosterone level goes down 1% every single year from then on. (Most people are not aware of this.)

This leads to what I call the “boiling frog” problem.

The Boiling Frog

The parable of the boiling frog is that if you toss a frog into boiling water, it will realize that it’s in danger and jump out. 

But the same frog, if you warm that water up gradually, it will not realize the danger it’s in until it’s too late.

This is my analogy for what men go through.

Why should we care? 

Testosterone for Men at 50 and beyond

Most people are aware that testosterone is related to sex drive and sexual function. However, it’s so much more than that. There are so many other impacts of testosterone for men: improves brain sharpness (ability to think clearly), metabolism, muscle building, motivation, mood, confidence, good immune function.

As I always ask: Who gets sick, young guys who are in their 20’s who have high levels of testosterone, or older men, where the levels have declined?

Healthy midlife man in the gym

Yes, it’s the older folks who get the illnesses. Testosterone is protective against these illnesses.

As far as metabolism, testosterone is the number one reason that men have such an easier time with their weight as compared to women.

Is it necessarily better to have high testosterone levels? I always like to say there’s a reason we don’t want 20 year-olds running everything.

Most of my practice is women, but I also am fortunate enough to help men with their hormone balance as well.

Part of the “boiling frog” problem is what almost all of my patients run into: the “normal range.”

The “normal range” for testosterone at most labs is between 300 and 1100 – this is a ridiculously large range. I often have men in my practice whose level is 310, and their doctor told them “you’re normal.”

Another piece of this problem is that as time goes by, our hormone receptors become resistant. In this situation, even with a higher level of testosterone, such as 400-600, you still might not be feeling good. 

You might be feeling a lack of any of those benefits I mentioned earlier.

Andropause

Women go through menopause and now we’re using the word andropause to describe when men feel symptoms related to hormonal decline that happens to us all as time goes by. 

If you don’t feel good – you feel tired feeling, unmotivated, depression, you’re working out at the gym but not getting the same results – it is worth getting your hormone levels checked out, starting with testosterone.

Many of the men I see in my practice got pushed to come see me by the women in their life.

What I want to convey to you is this:

Notice if you are not feeling your best.

There is something you can do about it. 

It’s worth getting checked out. 

It’s important to your health so you can do your best for the people you care about.

Don’t be the boiling frog.

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