A few years ago I started getting depressed, losing muscle, gaining fat, getting injured easier, losing my sex drive and losing motivation at work. In short, my life was falling down around me for, apparently, no reason. I wondered “What the hell is wrong with me!” and when I couldn’t take it anymore I went to see a doctor. The general family doctor was convinced it was depression and wanted to put me on antidepressants. Having never been the depressed type, I was convinced otherwise. I researched my symptoms online and discovered that they all matched that of low testosterone. I went back to the doctor for tests and indeed my testosterone levels were that of a 65 year old man. I was 31 at the time. He referred me to an endocrinologist who ran more tests.
These further tests revealed that my testes / testicles were fine, and an MRI revealed that my pituitary was fine. Apparently the third cog in that HPTA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Testicular Axis) was not producing the two hormones (LSH / FSH) that would instruct the pituitary to create the hormone (GnRH), which would would instruct the testes to create the hormone testosterone in adequate levels for someone of my age.
Why my hypothalamus decided to stop working full time, I’ll never know. But I do know that within days of starting testosterone replacement therapy treatment all of my problems began to disappear. It was like magic.
However well it worked for me, I always try to remember that HRT for men has its own set of problems. Among them are an increased risk of prostate cancer and heart disease. More importantly, I don’t like the idea of being dependent on a drug for my manhood. It bothers me. I think this is something a lot of male HRT / TRT patients experience, but I can’t be sure since I don’t really know any others personally. Maybe I’ll meet some after starting this website…
Another thing that scares me is that one day I won’t be able to get my prescription filled for one reason or another. Maybe it will be for lack of health insurance (I live in the US and I’m sure you’ve heard about our insurance woes here), or maybe every doctor in my area will be afraid of the boogeyman “steroids” because they’ve watched too many after-school dramas and ESPN scandals. This “dependance” bothers me more than anything, because I know I’ll lapse into severe depression, fat gain, lethargy, and generally just be miserable if I’m not taking my testosterone.
Here’s something else that troubles me: My testes are fine… or they were, at least. But when you introduce external sources of testosterone into the male body all natural production ceases completely as the body seeks to reach homeostasis. In the process the testes stop working, and this is why bodybuilders have grapenuts – so to speak. I have secondary hypogonadism. But the treatment for this is the same as primary hypogonadism. The treatment, testosterone replacement therapy, CAUSES primary hypogonadism in men with secondary hypogonadism. Are you telling me there aren’t any treatments for low FSH/LH without having to mess around with other parts of my HTPA?
Don’t worry… if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about you soon will. Just keep reading my blog and all will be revealed. I’m sort of a research junkie when it comes to what I’m putting in my body.
Soooo, the longer I’m on this stuff, the less chance I have of recovering. But I spent three years miserable, tired, angry, depressed, with a deteriorating body before finally going on HRT, which practically got rid of all of my syptoms overnight. I’ve felt like a million bucks ever since. So the idea of going back to low testosterone scares the sh*t out of me.
On the other hand, I could stay on HRT for the rest of my life, which – if I live to be of average age – would be even long than I’ve been alive so far. That’s a long time for someone to be on HRT, and at that point I wonder what the risks would be. Has it even been studied for such a long period of time? The good news is I’d have the testosterone of a 35 year old into my 60s, which would be pretty sweet if my wife doesn’t get too fat (just kidding… sort of). Of course, that doesn’t do me much good if I’m dying of prostate cancer or have a heart attack.
So this is my journey and judging by how many patients my endo says he sees everyday, I am sure I’m not alone. Call it a blog, an information resource, a support center, a launching pad, whatever… But I’m glad you stopped by, and if you’re on HRT or thinking about going on HRT I hope this site can provide some value.