Are you one of the many people in South Bay who are burning the candle at both ends and maybe only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night? Are you also one of those guys having problems with his sex drive and feeling out of sorts? Well, recent studies done in South Bay in the last 3 years show that these symptoms could all be due to the effect of sleep on testosterone – just how, though, may be a chicken and egg question!
While it’s true that lower testosterone levels can be the cause of a sluggish sex drive and irritability it seems to be a matter of research opinion whether low sleep levels cause low testosterone or low testosterone causes lack of sleep.
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There's a growing interest in testosterone hormone replacement for treating symptoms related to aging. You've probably seen advertisements of virile, muscle bound men in their 60's and 70's.
Along with the growing interest there's also a growing amount of information. But much of it is anecdotal stories, misleading data and flat out, unproven myths. Especially as it relates to testosterone replacement therapy for women.
The fact is that medically administered, testosterone therapy is also used to successfully treat symptoms of hormone deficiency in pre and postmenopausal women. And two physicians-Dr. Rebecca Glaser and Dr. Constantine Dimitrakakis-are dispelling the misinformation about it through scientific research.
Dr. Glaser and Dr. Dimitrakakis focus on subcutaneously implanted, bio-identical hormones (human identical molecule) and not oral, synthetic androgens or anabolic steroids.
With that in mind, here are the 10 myths of testosterone replacement therapy for women.
Myth #1: Testosterone is a "male" hormone
Although men have a higher circulating level of testosterone than women, from a biological perspective, men and women are genetically similar. Both sexes include functional estrogen and androgen (testosterone) receptors. And while estrogen is popularly considered the primary female hormone, throughout a woman's lifespan, testosterone is actually the most abundant, biologically active hormone with significantly higher levels than estradiol. And as early as 1937, testosterone therapy was reported to effectively treat symptoms of the menopause.
Myth #2: Its only role in women is sex drive and libido
There's a lot of hype about testosterone's role in sexual function. But in reality, it's a fraction of the overall physiologic effect testosterone plays in women. That's because testosterone governs the health of almost all tissues including the breast, heart, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, lung, brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, bladder, uterus, ovaries, endocrine glands, vaginal tissue, skin, bone, bone marrow, synovium, muscle and adipose tissue.
The function of these tissues declines as testosterone declines. The result of this deficiency in both men and women includes dysphoric mood (anxiety, irritability, depression), lack of well-being, physical fatigue, bone loss, muscle loss, changes in cognition, memory loss, insomnia, hot flashes, rheumatoid complaints, pain, breast pain, urinary complaints, incontinence as well as sexual dysfunction. And just like for men, these symptoms are successfully treated in women through testosterone therapy.
Myth #3: It masculinizes females
Testosterone therapy has been safely and successfully administered in women for over 76 years. Rather than decrease a woman's femininity it increases it. Testosterone stimulates ovulation, increases fertility and safely treats the nausea of early pregnancy without adverse effects.
Sure, large doses of supra-pharmacological synthetic testosterone are used to treat female to male transgender patients to increase male traits like body hair. But this requires high doses over an extended period of time. Even then, true masculinization is still not possible. And these effects are reversible by simply lowering the dosage.
Myth #4: It causes hoarseness and voice changes
Hoarseness is most commonly caused by inflammation due to allergies, infectious or chemical laryngitis, reflux esophagitis, voice over-use, mucosal tears, medications and vocal cord polyps. Testosterone possesses anti-inflammatory properties. There is no evidence that testosterone causes hoarseness and there is no physiological mechanism that allows testosterone to do so.
Although a few anecdotal case reports and small questionnaire studies have reported an association between 400 and 800 mg/d of danazol and self-reported, subjective voice 'changes' an objective study demonstrated the opposite.
Twenty-four patients received 600 mg of danazol (synthetic testosterone) therapy daily and were studied for 3 and 6 months. There were no vocal changes that could be attributed to the androgenic properties of danazol. These conclusions are consistent with a one year study examining voice changes on pharmaco-logic doses of subcutaneous testosterone implant therapy in women by Glaser and Dimitrakakis.
Myth #5: It causes hair loss
Hair loss is a complicated, genetically determined process and there is no evidence that either testosterone or testosterone therapy cause it. In fact, from a medical perspective, dihy-drotestosterone (DHT), not testosterone, is considered the active androgen in male pattern balding.
There are many factors associated with hair loss. For example, it's common in both women and men with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance increases 5-alpha reductase, which increases conversion of testosterone to dihy-drotestosterone in the hair follicle.
In addition, obesity, age, alcohol, medications and sedentary lifestyle increase aromatase activity, which lowers testosterone and raises estradiol. Increased DHT, lowered testosterone, and elevated estradiol levels can contribute to hair loss in genetically predisposed men and women. But so can medications, stress and nutritional deficiencies.
In studies conducted by Glaser and Dimitrakakis, two thirds of women treated with subcutaneous testosterone implants have scalp hair re-growth on therapy. Women who did not re-grow hair were more likely to be hypo or hyperthyroid, iron deficient or have elevated body mass index. And none of the 285 patients treated for up to 56 months with subcutaneous T therapy complained of hair loss.
Myth #6: It has adverse effects on the heart
On the contrary, there is overwhelming biological and clinical evidence that testosterone promotes a healthy heart. Testosterone has a beneficial effect on lean body mass, glucose metabolism and lipid profiles in men and women. It is successfully used to treat and prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Testosterone also widens blood vessels in both sexes, has immune-modulating properties that inhibit plaque and strengthens the cardiac muscle. It improves functional capacity, insulin resistance and muscle strength in both men and women with congestive heart failure.
Myth #7: It causes liver damage
High doses of oral, synthetic androgens (e.g., methyl-testosterone) pass through the digestive system, are absorbed into the entero-hepatic circulation and can adversely affect the liver. But subcutaneous implants and topical patches avoid the entero-hepatic circulation and bypass the liver. So there is no adverse effect on the liver, liver enzymes or clotting factors.
Furthermore, non-oral testosterone does not increase the risk of deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism like oral estrogens, androgens and synthetic progestins. And despite the concern over liver toxicities with anabolic steroids and oral synthetic androgens, there are only 3 reports of hepa-tocellular carcinoma in men treated with high doses of oral synthetic methyl testosterone. Even the report of benign tumors (adenomas) with oral androgen therapy is exceedingly rare.
Myth #8: It causes aggression
Although anabolic steroids can increase aggression and rage, this does not occur with testosterone therapy. Even supra-pharmacologic doses of intramuscular testosterone undecanoate do not increase aggressive behavior. But as stated before, testosterone can aromatize to estradiol. And there is considerable evidence among species, that estrogens, not testosterone, play a major role in aggression and hostility.
However, in studies conducted by Glaser and Dimitrakakis, over 90% of women treated with subcutaneous testosterone therapy have documented decreased aggression, irritability and anxiety. And this is not a new finding. Androgen therapy has been used to treat PMS for over 60 years.
Myth #9: It may increase the risk of breast cancer
It was recognized as early as 1937 that breast cancer was an estrogen sensitive cancer and that testosterone acted as a counter balance to estrogen. Clinical trials in primates and humans have confirmed that testosterone has a beneficial effect on breast tissue by decreasing breast proliferation and preventing stimulation from estradiol.
However, some epidemiological studies have reported an association between elevated androgens and breast cancer. But these studies suffer from methodological limitations, and more importantly, do not account for associated elevated estradiol levels and increased body mass index. And the cause and effect interpretation of these studies conflicts with the known biological effect of testosterone.
Although testosterone is breast protective, it can aromatize to estradiol and have a secondary, stimulatory effect on the estrogen receptor. But when testosterone is combined with an aromatase inhibitor in a subcutaneous implant, it blocks testosterone from aromatizing.
This form of treatment has been shown to effectively treat androgen deficiency symptoms in breast cancer survivors and is currently being evaluated in a U.S. national cancer study. In addition, Dimitrakakis and Glaser see a reduced incidence of breast cancer in women treated with testosterone or testosterone with anastrozole implants.
Myth #10: The safety of testosterone use in women has not been established
Testosterone implants have been used safely in women since 1938. Any real concerns would be well established by now.
Long-term data exists on the successful and safe use of testosterone in doses of up to 225 mg in up to 40 years of therapy. In addition, long term follow up studies on supra-pharmacologic doses used to 'female to male' transgender patients report no increase in mortality, breast cancer, vascular disease or other major health problems.
Many of the side effects and safety concerns attributed to testosterone are from oral formulations, or are secondary to increased aromatase activity due to elevated estradiol. This effect increases with age, obesity, alcohol intake, insulin resistance, breast cancer, medications, drugs, processed diet and sedentary lifestyle. Although often overlooked or not addressed in clinical studies, monitoring aromatase activity and symptoms of elevated estradiol is critical to the safe use of testosterone in both sexes.
Adequate testosterone is essential for physical, mental and emotional health in both sexes. Abandoning myths, misconceptions and unfounded concerns about testosterone and testosterone therapy in women allows physicians to provide evidence based recommendations and appropriate therapy
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What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a very important hormone, primarily produced in males via their testicles, and in smaller quantities from their adrenal glands. Females produce much smaller amounts of this hormone than men do, via the ovaries as well as adrenal glands. The importance of testosterone in the male body lies in how it controls the expression of sexual characteristics at different stages in the body's development, regulates sexual functions later in life, and assists in the generation of bone and muscle mass, among other functions it governs.
In healthy human males, testosterone levels peak in young adulthood, and naturally decrease over time, happening gradually and without sharp drop offs. However, some men's testosterone levels drop off suddenly, with significant and noticeable effects to their physical and mental well-being. This condition is known as "Andropause" (male menopause) or Low T. Judging by reports, it certainly seems to be on the increase.
Effects of Low Testosterone
Among the more severe and disturbing effects that low testosterone levels have on the male body, we find a decreased interest in sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis (weak bones) and a diminished sense of well-being. One or more of the above can easily threaten a man's sense of identity, opening the door to even more issues. Several at once can be devastating. These symptoms develop over time, so there won't necessarily be a clear before and after to refer to.
What Should I Do?
If you suspect that you are suffering from a decrease in testosterone levels, the first thing you should do is get a check up by a medical professional. There are several reliable lab tests that your physician can run to verify that you are suffering from low testosterone levels, as well as rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms.
You need to be candid with your doctor! We realize this can be an embarrassing subject, but your doctor will only be able to help if you give them a full picture of what's going on. The sooner you check up on this, and the more straightforward you are, the higher the chances of being helped.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
One of the ways to treat low testosterone levels is to introduce more testosterone into the body. Testosterone can now be manufactured commercially, and is available in different forms that, once applied in the proper manner, will go into the body increasing levels temporarily. Some of the more common forms that commercially produced testosterone comes in are gels, patches and injections.
The key part of this therapy is that it is temporary. Your body will not begin to produce testosterone in greater quantity on its own, but will instead now rely on obtaining it from the outside world. There are also some side effects involved (which are beyond the scope of this article), depending on the treatment and the dose, which should be discussed with your physician prior to selecting a product.
A better alternative, and one well worth trying, is to use a testosterone booster. Unlike testosterone replacement therapy, testosterone boosters do not introduce testosterone into the body. What they do is increase the body's ability to produce this hormone at higher levels, sometimes even at levels similar to before the condition started. Additionally, many of these boosters are made of all natural ingredients with proven ability to naturally raise testosterone production, and without many of the side effects that come with replacement therapies.
Since they work to recover the body's ability to produce testosterone, they also do not shock the body by introducing large amounts at any given time, as happens with an injection. There are many products on the market, though, and you will want to look at online reviews and other information to separate the wheat from the chaff.
More importantly, this does not relieve you of the need to talk to your physician. Remember there are other conditions which can cause similar, or identical, symptoms. You definitely do not want to be treating the wrong condition. A doctor's professional opinion, along with good lab work, is essential.
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Convincing Your Husband to Check His Testosterone Level
From the time they are little boys playing cowboys and Indians in the backyard, men are taught that they should be "manly." The macho image saturates the media in movies, television, and books. Even the romance novels aimed at women feature manly men with unbuttoned shirts on the cover.
It has become almost an unspoken rule that for a man to be respected, he should be strong, unemotional, and independent. With this in mind, think about what you may be doing to your husband if you question his manhood?
As the concerned wife, you may not think apprehension about testosterone levels have anything to do with questioning his manhood, but to your husband, you are doing just that. The very word testosterone has become synonymous with manliness. There are many jokes made about the "testosterone in the room" when men try to show up each other.
It is no wonder that the phrase "Honey, maybe you have low testosterone" is almost guaranteed to evoke an unsavory response. If the hormone is a concern, you cannot put your husband on the defensive by seemingly implying that he is not enough of a man.
Before even bringing up the subject, consider the symptoms of low t. He may not be even suffering from the problem, so do not put undue stress on him unless he is exhibiting the symptoms.
Generally, when men suffer low testosterone levels, he will show some of the following symptoms: decreased energy and strength, lower libido or sex drive, weakness of the bones, depression or anger, erectile dysfunction, an increase in fat on the body, and decrease in muscle mass.
Generally, 'low t' is caused by a signal mix-up between the brain and the testicles. For some reason, the brain may be signaling to lower testosterone creation or to halt production completely. Testosterone levels are low if they are under 300.
Although these symptoms are not definitively low testosterone, if a man is suffering from more than one, there is definitely a cause for concern. If you believe that your husband may be suffering from the hormone deficiency, then tread lightly.
It really does not matter how long you have been married, how close you are to your husband, or how well you know him. You could face a negative response if you blatantly tell him you are not happy with his sex drive or his energy level.
Remember, the problem is in no way about you. Do not make the situation about you, because if you do, he will see that as self-centeredness since he is the one suffering. His decreased sex drive does not mean he is no longer attracted to you. He is going through a difficult time, and implying that it is hard on you will only create bad feelings.
The low testosterone test is simply a blood test. No invasive procedures are required, and no embarrassing exams have to happen. Since finding out is fairly simple, you can make sure your husband knows this.
If you feel that your husband is exhibiting the symptoms of low testosterone levels, then you definitely need to broach the subject. Even if the condition is not low testosterone, there could be other underlying medical problems. Any time someone is exhibiting symptoms, it is best that they see a doctor.
However, in this case, a man may very well feel that his manhood is being called into question. There are three keys to talking with your husband about the problem: honesty, selflessness, and patience.
The first thing you need to remember is that you have to be honest, while being tactful at the same time. Instead of jumping at the big subject, like intimacy, choose something a little less inflammatory.
Begin with a phrase, like "You have been kind of tired lately, haven't you?" This way, you are opening the door to a discussion without even bringing up the idea of a testosterone problem.
Once he begins to talk and confirm his problem with fatigue, then you can delve deeper. Remember to go at his pace, not yours. Suggest that you read an article and found it interesting, or that you were concerned since he did not seem to be getting enough sleep.
When you feel ready, bring up testosterone. Make sure he knows you are bringing it up because of the many negative effects it can have on him and you are simply concerned with his health.
This is when selflessness comes in. At no point should you imply that it is a hardship for you at all. Do not bring up that you are under any stress or that you feel you are missing out on anything. Doing so is almost a guarantee of anger or defensiveness on his part.
Remember that if he is suffering low-t, it is nothing he can repair on his own, and it is unfair of you to blame him for a medical condition.
Finally, you must practice patience. If you bring up the subject and he gets angry, then put it on a back burner for a while. Give him some time to calm down and think more clearly. You may even want to email him an article on the subject so that he can think about it without feeling under pressure by talking face to face.
Thankfully, low testosterone levels in men can easily be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. There are a number of treatment options, including gels that are applied to the skin daily, patches similar to nicotine patches, injections, and tablets.
Not all treatments are right for each person, so a physician will have to evaluate your husband's overall health to determine the right course of action. Generally, with treatment, a man's quality of life immediately increases.
In order to successfully speak with your husband about the possibility of low testosterone, remember to be patient, to make it about him, not you, and be honest. Odds are, your husband has already noticed the problem, but he does not know how to bring it up himself.
South Bay, Florida
South Bay is a city in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is the westernmost municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area. The population was 3,859 at the 2000 census. As of 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 4,506. While the current estimates place South Bay's population in the incorporated city limits at more than 4,000 people, surrounding areas increase the population figures to 54,000 people in a 25-mile (40 km) radius and more than 1.4 million in a 50-mile (80 km) radius.
South Bay was named for its location on Lake Okeechobee. The town was incorporated in 1941. The first mayor of South Bay was Aubrey (a.k.a. "Orb") Walker, who, along with his brother, Haughty D. Walker (a.k.a. "Haught"), survived the great hurricane of 1928 by gathering his family members onto a barge in the canal.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), including 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of (26.95%) water. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail runs through South Bay.