February 13, 2017

HCG And Testosterone: Double Bang For Your Sex Drive Buck

If you find that your sex drive is in the tank, you have difficulty with erections, that Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis which once worked, are no longer effective, then you may be suffering from low T or low testosterone.  The diagnosis is easily made from a blood test.

If you are like most men, you will find that your manhood and confidence level comes from the area between your belly button and your knees, i.e., your “package”.  It is there in the testicles which are are responsible for making testosterone, the male hormone associated with so many functions including sexual activity, energy level, muscle mass, and even your mood.

Not only does testosterone control so many of these functions, so does hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin.  hCG stimulates the gland at the base of the brain, the pituitary gland to produce more LH or luteinizing hormone (LH) to encourage the testicles to release more testosterone. hCG can be injected and administered to stimulate the right dose of healthy testosterone production.

The benefits of hCG for men include boosting healthy levels of testosterone that’s needed for every biological process to ensure optimal health. Correcting low testosterone levels by using hCG for men can bring on many benefits for men which include:

  • Increase red blood cells
  • Support the cardiovascular system
  • Increases flow of blood and oxygen
  • Healthy body hair growth
  • Weight loss, reduction of fat mass
  • Increased energy levels, endurance, and performance
  • Increase in lean muscle mass and muscle strength
  • Reduced risks of obesity
  • Improved oxidation in the groin area
  • Increase in libido
  • Improved penile growth due to oxidation
  • Proper stimulation to continue boosted sexual desire
  • Proper stimulation to improve endurance and sexual performance
  • Reduced risks of erectile or other sexual dysfunctions
  • Increase in bone density
  • Reduced risks of arthritis-related conditions

 Although hCG is both safe and effective for females and males to use, there are possible side effects that you should be aware of. These include:

  • light-headedness
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • mild fatigue
  • irritation at injection site

More serious side effects are rare and are normally associated with incorrect use of hCG but can include:

  • Swelling of breast tissue in males
  • Depression, irritability and other mood changes
  • Swelling of feet or ankles
  • Early onset of puberty in young boys

Bottom Line: It is crucial to discuss treatment with your doctor to determine if the benefits of using hCG therapy outweigh the possible side effects you may experience and to ensure correct dosing and application of the hCG.

Arimidex For Treating Low Testosterone Levels

February 13, 2017

I have seen on several occasions men who have low testosterone levels who are on hormone replacement therapy and yet fail to improve their libido, energy level, or their erections.

One explanation is that some of the testosterone is converted to estrogen which is the female hormone.  If men fail to respond to testosterone replacement therapy for low testosterone, then it is important to check the estrogen level (estradiol) and if this is elevated then the man will need to add an estrogen lowering medication, commonly Arimidex (anastrozole). It’s from the class of medications called aromatase inhibitors, which essentially block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.

It helps by forcing testosterone output to remain high while keeping estrogen levels low.  The dosage is 0.25mg every third day.

Bottom Line: anastrozole therapy, given over 12 months, significantly increased serum testosterone and modestly reduced E2 levels in men 60 years of age and older with mild-to-moderate hypogonadism. Aromatase inhibitors intervention resulted in the restoration of testosterone levels into the mid-normal range with improvement of the symptoms of low testosterone.

 

 

There’s More To Testosterone Replacement Than Meets the Eye

February 9, 2017

Today, it is very common for middle aged men to have symptoms of low testosterone.  Many times these men will complain of decreased libido and decrease in their erections.  The treatment is hormone replacement therapy.  In addition to improving your libido, there are other advantages to hormone replacement therapy.  This blog will discuss the other benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.

Breast Formation. Male breast formation, also known as gynecomastia, is a source of anxiety for most men when they start to sprout. Men can form breasts during infancy, adolescence, old age, or anywhere in between. It all start with lowered testosterone and increased estrogen levels. Male breasts can be reduced or removed through gynecomastia surgery, but in other cases a simple adjustment of body sex hormone levels may be enough to provide the change desired.

Bone Density. Men start to lose bone mass as testosterone levels go south.  The same thing happens to women (though by a different mechanism), and typically starts to be noticed during old age. However, the groundwork for bone strength  starts in young adulthood, when your body starts to store calcium that will last for the rest of your life. If you don’t have sufficient testosterone, you can’t form bones that are strong enough to last until you die. Get tested for testosterone now to learn about how your health will be as you age.

Libido and Sexual Development. Testosterone has an enormous impact on secondary sex characteristics like body hair, but it’s absolutely central to sexual desire and performance. If you are having trouble with sexual intimacy, you may need to get checked for testosterone. Many men have seen improvement that changes their lives for the better after getting testosterone replacement therapy, without ever having to resort to pills for erections like Viagra, Levitra, Cialis.

Red Blood Cell Formation. Red blood cells are necessary for oxygen transportation in the body.  Testosterone increases the red blood cell production.  However, it is important to check the red blood cell count every 4-6 months if you are using testosterone replacement therapy as too high a level of red blood cells can be harmful.  Therefore, it is imperative to have a testosterone level, a PSA test (a screening test for prostate cancer), and a red blood cell count on a regular basis if you are using testosterone replacement options.

Bottom Line:  If you are middle age and complain of lethargy, weakness, loss of muscle mass, and alternation of your moods, then you may have testosterone deficiency.  The diagnosis is easily made with a simple blood test.  Treatment consists of injections, topical gels, patches and even small rice-sized pellets inserted under the skin.  For more information speak to your doctor.

Don’t Fight the Nite With Prostate Enlargement

February 6, 2017

 

Nearly every man over the age of 50 experiences symptoms of prostate gland enlargement.  The symptoms are going to the bath room frequently, poor force of the urine stream, dribbling after urination and perhaps the most troublesome of all is getting up at night to urinate.  Every night, between 12 and 15 million men in the U.S. are likely to have loss of sleep because of an enlarged prostate gland.  This article will discuss the purpose of the prostate gland and what treatment options are available for this common condition.

The prostate gland is typically the size and shape of a walnut and is located in the lower part of the pelvis, below the bladder. It envelops the urethra, the tube through which urine flows from the bladder out of the body. When the prostate gland grows bigger – which happens to virtually every man as he ages – it can compress the urethra and make it difficult to pass urine.

Benign enlargement of the prostate gland does not cause prostate cancer or affect a man’s ability to have, but if the symptoms bother you, seek treatment. If left untreated, BPH can lead to urinary retention and cause bladder, urinary tract and kidney problems.

Coping Techniques.

Try behavioral changesPerhaps the easiest suggestion is limiting your fluid intake at night and not drinking anything for two hours before bedtime.  I also caution to decrease those foods and beverages that are diuretics (and will therefore prompt you to urinate more), such as coffee, caffeinated tea, herbal tea, lemon juice, chocolate, pineapple, grapes and cherries.

If those behavioral changes don’t help much, consider medication. A change in habits will help some but not all men with BPH, and for those whose symptoms aren’t relieved, medication is an option.  The most commonly used medications are alpha blockers, (Flomax) which can relax the muscle at the base of the bladder and the prostate, and 5 alpha reductase inhibitors, (Proscar) which can, over a period of months, shrink the prostate.  Like nearly all medications, they do have side effects.  For example, alpha blockers can cause the man taking them to faint and by decreasing his blood pressure when moving from laying down to standing upright quickly.  Alpha blockers also can cause sexual side effects like decreasing the volume of the ejaculate or having no ejaculation at all.  The 5 alpha reductase inhibitors can cause sexual dysfunction, such as impotence. Some physicians are also prescribing tadalafil, commonly known by its brand name Cialis, which is often marketed as a drug that treats erectile dysfunction, but can also help to relax the muscles in the prostate gland and thus relieve urinary symptoms.

If behavioral changes and medication don’t work or cease to be effective, surgical procedures are an option.  Until recently the two most common procedures are a transurethral resection or TURP, in which an instrument is inserted up the urethra to cut out the part of the prostate that’s blocking urine flow, and a laser procedure, which vaporizes the tissue obstructing the urethra. Both procedures are typically effective but carry the risk of side effects such as erectile dysfunction. Other, newer procedures, such as the UroLift System, in which a urologist places tiny implants in the prostate to increase the opening of the urethra and allow for greater urine flow.  This procedure can be accomplished in the outpatient or ambulatory treatment center or even in the doctor’s office.  The advantage of the UroLift is that there are no sexual side effects and the results are noted almost immediately after the procedure.

Bottom Line:  The enlarged prostate gland affects millions of American men.  It significantly impacts a man’s quality of life.  Help is available.  Speak to your doctor.

Boosting T Levels Without Medication

February 3, 2017

Testosterone is the male hormone produced in the testicles that is responsible for sex drive, energy, muscle and bone mass.  Testosterone decreases slowly in the late 20s and becomes symptomatic in men around middle age.  This blog will discuss natural ways of preserving and increasing your testosterone levels.

Get Moving: Drop 10, 15, or more pounds

Overweight men are likely to have less testosterone, which means less energy and increased susceptibility to depression.  If you shed pounds, you can cause your T levels to surge.

No Zinc In the Sink

Research has shown that supplementing your diet with zinc can improve testosterone levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, 45 per cent of us aren’t getting enough of the stuff.  Protein-rich foods like meat and fish are packed full of zinc, along with raw cheese, beans and natural yoghurt.

Sweet Nothings

In addition to causing you to pile on the pounds, sugar can also wreak havoc on testosterone production. Regular intake of the sweet stuff can cause insulin to spike, which is a factor leading to low levels of testosterone.

To counteract the effect, simply limit your sugar intake – the overall health benefits far outweigh a quick dopamine hit from a soft drink.

Take D and See

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, which means it boosts your sperm count, , libido and  testosterone.  You can increase your vitamin D by being exposed to sunshine.  Since I don’t condone exposure to sun as it causes skin cancers, then vitamin D supplementation is in order, 1000 IU\day.  This is available in most nutrition and drug stores.

Stress Less

Kicking back is easier said than done, but a reduction in stress will work wonders for your testosterone production. Cortisol (the stuff your body makes when you get hot under the collar) actually blocks testosterone. Chronic stress has actually been shown to stop testosterone production, which translates to bad moods, fatigue and decreased libido.

Exercise and weight loss are beneficial in reducing stress levels so this is another reason to getting moving!

Fat and Fit

Eat ‘good’ fats of the monounsaturated variety. You can find a high dose of these fats in foods like olive oil, almonds, avocados and grass-fed meats.

Going From ZZZZZ to T

Men who got a full eight hours sleep had 60 per cent more testosterone than their sleep-deprived counterparts.  I recommend stop looking at screens, i.e., computer and TV screens at least an hour before bedtime as screen watching affects melatonin which if decreased can make it difficult to have a good nights sleep.

It’s Quicker Without Liquor

We all know that alcohol consumption is bad for us – but it’s bad for your Johnson. Not only does too much booze lower growth hormone levels and increase cortisol, it will reduce your testosterone levels for up to 24-hours.  I recommend 1-2 glasses of alcohol a day and definitely avoid binging.

Bottom Line:  Testosterone is a necessary ingredient for your sex drive, your energy level, and overall body metabolism.  The hormone also affects our moods and psychological well-being.  I have provided you some suggestions for boosting this very important hormone.

Depression, Anti-Depressants, and Low Testosterone Levels

February 2, 2017

Hormone deficiency is common in many middle age and older men.  It is of interest that many men using anti-depressants also are found to have low testosterone levels.

Many people that take antidepressants, specifically SSRI’s (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors), find out that they have low testosterone.  We are not certain about the mechanism of action of SSRI’s and low T levels but the effect is certainly prevalent.

Many men with depression tend to have lower than average sex drives. It is the depression that is thought to lead to disinterest in pleasurable activities like sex. Men may be so depressed and have a decreased libido, that they don’t feel like having sex.

If your testosterone level were to be lowered, the natural result would be a reduced sex drive. This reduced sex drive could be linked to depression – therefore testosterone could play a role.

Individuals with lower than average levels of testosterone could be experiencing depressive symptoms as a result of their low T. Studies have found that among men with abnormally low levels of T, testosterone therapy helped reduce symptoms of depression.

It is well documented that antidepressants can affect hormones. Therefore some hypothesize that hormonal changes can influence our sex drive. It is not known whether antidepressants are the culprit behind lowering levels of testosterone. Many men that have taken SSRI’s believe that the drugs they took lowered their testosterone.

On average, men tend to naturally experience lower levels of testosterone by the time they reach age 50. By age 60 it is estimated that 1 in 5 men have problems with their testosterone. In cases where men experienced a reduction in their level of testosterone and simultaneously became depressed, increasing testosterone levels can be therapeutic.

In older men, testosterone therapy may prove to yield antidepressant effects. Most medical research demonstrates that testosterone can have positive effects on mood. It seems as though testosterone treatment tends to be most beneficial for men who are experiencing depression as a result of testosterone decline.

Bottom Line:  Many middle age men have been placed on SSRI’s for depression.  This can result in a decrease in the testosterone level.  If you are experiencing a decrease in your libido, have decreased energy, and loss of muscle mass, you may have low T levels.  The diagnosis is easily made with a blood test and treatment consists of testosterone replacement therapy.

Treatment Options for Men With Prostate Cancer-Side Effects You Need to Know

January 22, 2017

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in middle aged and older men.  It is the second most common cause following lung cancer of death from cancer in men.

This article will discuss the most common treatment options for prostate cancer and what are the side effects of these treatments.

For younger men with localized disease, surgical removal of the prostate gland either with an open 6-8-inch incision or through a robotic prostatectomy-5 small pencil-sized holes in the lower abdomen that removes the entire prostate gland.

Temporary or even permanent erectile dysfunction (impotence) occurs in many of the men who undergo surgery.  Urinary incontinence, inability to control the flow of urine, occurs in 3-30% of men who have their prostate gland surgically removed.

For older men or for men who have prostate cancer beyond the prostate gland, radiation therapy is treatment option.   The side effects include temporary fatigue, diarrhea or other bowel problems, urgency of urination, and impotence (ED).

For men with spread of prostate cancer beyond the prostate into the bones or lymph nodes, then hormonal therapy is often recommended.  Hormone therapy is used in men with advanced, high-grade prostate cancer. Hormone therapy is also used in men who cancer has recurred after being treated with radiation therapy or surgery.  This is usually determined with an elevation of the PSA level.  Prostate cancer is very sensitive to testosterone, the male hormone produced in the testicles, and removal of testosterone reduces the cancer and helps control the disease but does not cure the problem.

The side effects of hormonal therapy include reduced libido, hot flashes, softening of bones or osteoporosis which leads to bone fractures, impotence, loss of muscle mass, fatigue, weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Chemotherapy is indicated for men who do not respond to removing the testosterone produced by the testicles.  Chemotherapy leads to hair loss, nausea\vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle pain, and weight loss.

Proton therapy is a similar to external radiation that targets difficult to reach tumors and is designed to allow higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the prostate with fewer side effects.

Bottom Line:  Over the past few years there have been numerous options available for the management of localized prostate cancer and even prostate cancer that has spread beyond the prostate gland.  New Orleans has several doctors who are national and even global experts in managing prostate cancer.  For more information, contact your doctor.

January 21, 2017

Non-Medical Solutions to Raising Your T Level

I am often asked what can a man do to raise his testosterone level without taking testosterone replacement therapy.  Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful.

  1. Exercise and lift weights

If you want to increase your testosterone levels, you will need to increase your exercise frequency. Regular exercise will not only help you by preventing different lifestyle related health problems, but it will also help you by boosting your testosterone levels. Men who regularly exercise have a higher testosterone levels. Even elderly men will also have higher testosterone levels if they regularly exercise.

  1. Reduce stress and cortisol levels

If you are suffering from long-term stress, it can increase the levels of cortisol hormone. If your cortisol levels are high, testosterone levels will decrease.

That’s why, you need to reduce stress as much as possible and which will also decrease the cortisol levels in your body. Regular exercise, whole foods, good sleep, balanced lifestyle and laughter can help you to reduce stress and also improve your overall health.

  1. Get more Vitamin D

Vitamin D offers several health benefits and it boosts testosterone naturally. If you consume just 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day, it can increase testosterone levels in the body by 25%.

You can get more vitamin D by increasing your exposure to sunlight regularly. You can also take a daily supplement of 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement.

4. Get Enough Sleep.

A lack of sleep affects a variety of hormones and chemicals in your body. This, in turn, can have a harmful impact on your testosterone.

The time honored goal is try for 7 to 8 hours per night.

5. Keep a Healthy Weight.

Obesity can have a deleterious effect on your testosterone levels.  Exercise and diet can improve your testosterone and also is good for your heart to avoid obesity. 

6. Review Your Medications.

Some medicines can cause a drop in your testosterone level. These include: pain medications, steroids (prednisone), anabolic steroids such as those used by athletes and body builders, and anti-depressants. 

7. Deep 6 the Supplements.

You may be bombarded with unsolicited snail mail and E –mail offering testosterone boosting supplements such as DHEA.  Let the truth be told, you are wasting your money as these supplements will not boost your testosterone.   

Bottom Line: Although these suggestions may be helpful, they are just a step in the right direction.  For more information about testosterone replacement therapy, speak to your physician.

 

 

Diet and Exercise May Reduce Risk of Cancer

January 21, 2017

There isn’t a day that goes by that the Internet or the print media isn’t bombarding readers with a new diet that prevents cancer.

Every day, there are headlines that bombard readers with various diets that purportedly prevent cancer: “The Diet That Stops Cancer” and “Eating Your Way Out of Cancer.” But what do the hard data really say about lifestyle choices preventing cancer?  Studies have shown that the combination of healthy eating, not smoking, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80 percent and of stroke and some cancers by 70 percent.

Although no diet has received conclusive evidence of presenting cancer, there are lifestyle choices such as exercise that support conclusions that they can serve as deterrent of cancer.  Even the American Cancer society recommends avoid being overweight and includes being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  They also suggest eating a mostly plant-based diet; limiting red meats and avoiding processed meats; limiting alcoholic drinks (two glasses of wine a day for men and one glass for women); and to protect against cancer (Table 1). Other recommendations include avoid sugary drinks, limit consumption of processed foods and eat more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans.  Limit salt intake to 1.5 grams per day and limit consumption of salty foods, chips, pretzles, smoked or cured meats like salami, baloney, and beef jerky.

Other Cancer Prevention Recommendations

To prevent breast cancer, the ACS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, alcohol intake of one or fewer drinks per day, and maintaining a body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2. In a study of 2905 women at high-risk for breast cancer, adherence to these three recommendations reduced the risk for breast cancer by 44%.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that BMI itself is a risk factor for cancer. Too much body fat triggers insulin resistance, raising levels of insulin and growth factors that promote cancer. Fat also increases estrogen production, which can fuel some cancers, and fat secretes enzymes that promote inflammation.

Numerous medical studies have concluded that avoiding adult weight gain confers protection against certain types of cancer, particularly among nonusers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The study found that for each 5-kg increase in adult weight gain, the relative risk was increased 11% for postmenopausal breast cancer among no or low HRT users; 39% and 9% for postmenopausal endometrial cancer among HRT nonusers and users, respectively; and 13% for postmenopausal ovarian cancer among no or low HRT users. For each 5-kg increase in men, the risk for colon cancer increased by 9%. The relative risk for kidney cancer comparing highest and lowest level of adult weight gain was 1.42.

In addition to lowering the risk of cancer, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk for all-causes of death and lower risk of dying of cardiovascular causes such as heart disease or stroke.

Bottom line on diet and exercise and cancer prevention:  Weight gain, lack of exercise, and high alcohol intake are the key factors for leading a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of cancer.

The Skinny On Screening for Prostate Cancer

December 29, 2016

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men (after skin cancer), according to the American Cancer Society. It is the second most common cause of death in following lung cancer and causes nearly 30,000 deaths annually in the United States.  The good news is that often prostate cancer can be treated successfully, especially when caught in its early stages.   More than 2 million men in America count themselves as prostate cancer survivors, according to the American Cancer Society.

At the present time screening for prostate cancer is controversial in the medical profession.  There are physicians who believe that testing all men for prostate cancer outweighs the benefit because it may find some very slow growing cancers in some men that could be left alone without any negative consequences. My personal opinion is that prostate cancer screening should be done but requires education and a decision made between doctor and patient.

My belief is that if prostate cancer is detected early, it has a favorable  prognosis. If men ask me what are the early signs of prostate cancer, the answer is that there are NO early signs of prostate cancer when it is confined to the prostate gland.  That is why men need to have an examination or the digital rectal examination and a PSA test.

Risk factors help determine who should be screened when

The protocol starts by evaluating men for their risk factors for developing prostate cancer. Risk factors include: age (after age 50 risk of prostate cancer rises rapidly); race (men of African-American and Caribbean descent are at higher risk); and family history (men who have a father, brother, or uncle with prostate cancer are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer and should be screened on a regular basis) Men should be screened every year until they reach age 70 or 75. For most men who reach age 70 and all their screening tests are normal, the chances of their developing a cancer that would impact their well-being or their longevity is really low.

Managing the elevated PSA test

If your screening detects a possible cancer, your doctor will order a biopsy. This is done in the office under a local anesthesia and takes 10-15 minutes.  If the biopsy detects prostate cancer, then the next step is to determine the aggressiveness of the cancer or how likely it is to spread or grow.  For men with low-risk tumors that are not going to put their health or longevity at risk, I will often recommend surveillance, which means regular testing of the PSA and a follow up biopsy in 12-18 months.  As long as the PSA remains stable and there is no evidence of escalation of the cancer, then these men can be safely followed and only treated if the cancer appears to be growing or the PSA is steadily increasing.  Men with more aggressive tumors may need surgery and\or radiation. You and your doctor will make the best treatment decisions for you together.

Bottom Line:  Prostate cancer is a common cancer and can easily be diagnosed with prostate cancer screening.  Not all men need to be screened, but if you are between 50 and 70 years of age, speak to your doctor about the benefits of screening and make an informed decision if screening is right for you.