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Thread: Really low testosterone...or maybe not page

  1. #1
    PrimalHunter's Avatar
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    Really low testosterone...or maybe not

    I had a blood test done just over a month ago. They called to warn me about my "really high cholesterol," but that was it. After I received the results yesterday, I wondered why they didn't say anything about my really low testosterone.

    Testosterone, Total, LCMSMS
    187 ng/dL (normal range: 250-1100)

    Testosterone, Free
    49.2 pg/mL (normal range: 35.0-155.0)

    My understanding is that the normal range includes all age groups, so even the low end of normal is not normal for a 38 year old male.

    I called them and the nurse said the doctor disregarded the results because they drew my blood in the late afternoon, and testosterone tests are only valid between 8-9 AM. Can someone confirm or deny this?
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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    Zach's Avatar
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    Test drops throughout the day but not drastically. Your results are VERY low and pretty conserning for a 38 year old. Those results reflect a 60+ year old male.

    How is your libido? Probably the best way to determine is by hard hard your erections are and also if you get spontanious erections throughout the day or at least in the morning. Ejaculate volume, viscosity and pressure is another.

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    Most doctors don't know squat about testosterone and/or they are terrified of the whole prostate issue (possibly a phenonmenon similar to the lethality of saturated fat) and/or prescribing "steroids".

    My experience and the experience of a lot of guys who have posted online is that you can present to a doctor with all the symptoms of Low T, he orders a blood test and what do you know.....the results come back low! The problem is that doctors prescribe a very convervative replacement therapy and if the lab they use specifies 250 as the lower limit of normal the doctor will do a happy dance and proclaim you cured once he sees a T level of 251. Never mind that you still have all the symptoms of Low T and still feel like shit all the time. T replacement therapy is a real tragedy in our medical system right now and many men are suffering for it. I got tired of taking Androgel after four years with minimal improvements and went back to my doc for injections. His prescription? 300mg of T every 4 weeks. T has a half-life of about 7 days so by the time the next shot comes around, you are down to like 7% of the initial treatment amount and have likely felt like shit for at least the past two weeks. I asked my doc about doing smaller amounts more often and he refused (also a VERY common experience for guys being treated for low T). To top it off, my insurance has now decided not to pay for my therapy and so far, haven't budged on that decision.

    I finally decided to just bypass my doctor and go to someone who specializes in T replacement therapy. There are some walk-in clinics that are sprouting up in shopping centers in more affluent neighborhoods and there are internet based companies that use locally licensed physicians and pharmacies to provide therapy. Guys I've talked to who are getting 100mg weekly (usually self injected) are reporting phenomenal improvement in their quality of life. Definately expensive but you can't put a price on getting your life back. Having a severe testosterone deficiency is like having a major depressive episode all the time. No fun!
    Last edited by Corwin1968; 09-04-2013 at 01:50 PM.

  4. #4
    PrimalHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    Test drops throughout the day but not drastically. Your results are VERY low and pretty conserning for a 38 year old. Those results reflect a 60+ year old male.
    Doesn't it just drop like 1% a year after age 30? So it wouldn't normally change all that much from 38 to 60?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach View Post
    How is your libido? Probably the best way to determine is by hard hard your erections are and also if you get spontanious erections throughout the day or at least in the morning. Ejaculate volume, viscosity and pressure is another.
    It's fine as far as I know, but I don't have any basis for comparison. It's not like being 18 again, but that's probably a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin1968 View Post
    Having a severe testosterone deficiency is like having a major depressive episode all the time. No fun!
    The thing is, I don't have any symptoms of a severe testosterone deficiency. I guess it would explain my lack of gains in the gym, but I had chalked that up to genetics. I feel perfectly fine, which is why I'm wondering if testosterone readings can vary dramatically from one day to the next or with time of day.
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

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    Alaskarunner2002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corwin1968 View Post
    Most doctors don't know squat about testosterone and/or they are terrified of the whole prostate issue (possibly a phenonmenon similar to the lethality of saturated fat) and/or prescribing "steroids".

    My experience and the experience of a lot of guys who have posted online is that you can present to a doctor with all the symptoms of Low T, he orders a blood test and what do you know.....the results come back low! The problem is that doctors prescribe a very convervative replacement therapy and if the lab they use specifies 250 as the lower limit of normal the doctor will do a happy dance and proclaim you cured once he sees a T level of 251. Never mind that you still have all the symptoms of Low T and still feel like shit all the time. T replacement therapy is a real tragedy in our medical system right now and many men are suffering for it. I got tired of taking Androgel after four years with minimal improvements and went back to my doc for injections. His prescription? 300mg of T every 4 weeks. T has a half-life of about 7 days so by the time the next shot comes around, you are down to like 7% of the initial treatment amount and have likely felt like shit for at least the past two weeks. I asked my doc about doing smaller amounts more often and he refused (also a VERY common experience for guys being treated for low T). To top it off, my insurance has now decided not to pay for my therapy and so far, haven't budged on that decision.

    I finally decided to just bypass my doctor and go to someone who specializes in T replacement therapy. There are some walk-in clinics that are sprouting up in shopping centers in more affluent neighborhoods and there are internet based companies that use locally licensed physicians and pharmacies to provide therapy. Guys I've talked to who are getting 100mg weekly (usually self injected) are reporting phenomenal improvement in their quality of life. Definately expensive but you can't put a price on getting your life back. Having a severe testosterone deficiency is like having a major depressive episode all the time. No fun!
    I agree whole heartedly with this...but it's also true for women...I went to my gynecologist last year with all the symptoms of low T and she tested my free T and it was low "normal" she prescribed testosterone injections for me and it was a god send! My pcp is astounded that I'm on this but what a difference in my quality of life and at 48 have an out of this world sex drive again. I wish more women would enjoy this therapy too!

  6. #6
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    ArtOfManliness had a great series on naturally boosting testosterone, which you can read here: How to Increase Testosterone Naturally | The Art of Manliness

    That was a segment of a five-part series, and in several of the parts, the writer emphatically stressed the point that T levels can fluctuate greatly from week to week, day to day, and, as your doctor said, even by the time of the day. In the case of that writer, his levels went from the low end of the range, where yours are, all the way up to the high end of the range, just by (a) changing his diet to a stricter high saturated fat paleo, (b) getting his damn 8+ hours of sleep, and (c) lowering his stress levels.

    I heard once that even having a can of soda makes your testosterone readings drop 20%.

    So the point is, you really should get tested three or four times, each time under a different circumstance. Then get an average of those scores and determine if you really are low.

    There is one other point about all of the T talk that I run across that's rarely mentioned, and that is that I strongly suspect that, if one's T levels are low, that's indicative of poor hormonal health across the board - poor HGH, pregnenolone, T3, and on and on and on. While testosterone is obviously very important, I think it's stupid to just start sticking synthetic testosterone up your butt to boost your mood and muscles, while the rest of your hormones are still in the shitter. On the other hand, if one treats his low T naturally (like the ArtOfManliness), then it can be assumed that all of the hormones are at good, healthy levels.

    So, in summation, 1. Get several testosterone readings before making major changes, 2. try to make diet and lifestyle changes before paying for synthetic T.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidBrennan View Post
    ArtOfManliness had a great series on naturally boosting testosterone, which you can read here: How to Increase Testosterone Naturally | The Art of Manliness

    That was a segment of a five-part series, and in several of the parts, the writer emphatically stressed the point that T levels can fluctuate greatly from week to week, day to day, and, as your doctor said, even by the time of the day. In the case of that writer, his levels went from the low end of the range, where yours are, all the way up to the high end of the range, just by (a) changing his diet to a stricter high saturated fat paleo, (b) getting his damn 8+ hours of sleep, and (c) lowering his stress levels.

    I heard once that even having a can of soda makes your testosterone readings drop 20%.

    So the point is, you really should get tested three or four times, each time under a different circumstance. Then get an average of those scores and determine if you really are low.

    There is one other point about all of the T talk that I run across that's rarely mentioned, and that is that I strongly suspect that, if one's T levels are low, that's indicative of poor hormonal health across the board - poor HGH, pregnenolone, T3, and on and on and on. While testosterone is obviously very important, I think it's stupid to just start sticking synthetic testosterone up your butt to boost your mood and muscles, while the rest of your hormones are still in the shitter. On the other hand, if one treats his low T naturally (like the ArtOfManliness), then it can be assumed that all of the hormones are at good, healthy levels.

    So, in summation, 1. Get several testosterone readings before making major changes, 2. try to make diet and lifestyle changes before paying for synthetic T.
    Well you don't take testosterone up the ass....you take it in the ass...it's the best thing Well one of em that you can do for yourself and no amount of weight lifting is gonna do what an injectable form of it can do for you....ever!

  8. #8
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    OP back with an update. I read the Art of Manliness article as well as canuck416's article. Good tips, but unfortunately I'm following most of them already.

    I had another testosterone test last week, this time at 8:30 AM. Total testosterone was 389 (up from 187 when it was tested before in the late afternoon). That's around the 10th percentile according to this, so not freakishly low, but far from great.

    I'm on the fence about testosterone replacement therapy. On the one hand, I'd love to gain muscle and lose fat, and I don't think that's happening any other way. On the other hand, I'm not really showing any symptoms, and I'm not thrilled about screwing around with my hormones (cost? sterility? personality changes?).

    Is there anyone out there who started with low but not super low testosterone, and who felt fine, but went on replacement therapy?
    "Don't go in there, General, it's a trap! That's a grain chamber. It makes people like you into people like me."

  9. #9
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    About two years ago I went to an endocrinologist becuase 1) I found it hard to lose weight 2) I felt kind of sluggish 3) during my regular physicals with my GP Doctor I was on the low side for thyroid results. I had never been tested before for testosterone though. Anyway, the endocrinologist tested for it as well as thyroid. I was in the low 300s for testosterone (late morning test) and have always been relatively low on the thyroid stuff. I'm wondering if one positive byproduct of this low metabolism is that one ages more slowly, kind of makes sense, and many people think I am 5 to 10 years younger than I am.

    I read the "Art of Manliness" article before and saw some kettlebell videos by Mike Mahler where he discusses low testosterone. Mahler (although no expert) recommended Maca root powder, Zinc, and Selenium. I tried the Maca but it tastes awful and did not do much although I regularly take the other two. I already pretty much eat along the lines recommended in the A of M article which is close to primal anyways. I have cut back somewhat on my cardio and tried to dial the intensity of my main cardio (bike commuting, 2 to 4 hours per week) down so that it is more like movement at low intensity rather than chronic cardio. I also cut back drinking to just the weekends. I have also really fixated on getting better sleep and seen some outstanding improvements in that area.

    Anyway, through some combination of all of this, I suspect that my testosterone has improved although I have no specific confirmation since I have not had it tested again. The one obvious area in which I note improvement is the euphemistically stated "morning wood", very much present nowdays whereas it was not before.

  10. #10
    Grafter's Avatar
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    JeffC - Improvement in morning wood is definitely a good sign (or a sign of things working the way they should). Like you, I tried Maca, and honestly, it seemed to do more harm than good. After a bit more searching, it does seem like it and some of the other herbs that are commonly suggested to improve T may impact thyroid function as well.

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