Do Low Natural T Levels Effect Quality of Life?

Do Low Natural T Levels Effect Quality of Life?

Testosterone has a major impact on health for both men and women.

Hypogonadism is when the body is producing much less testosterone than what is considered normal and healthy.

This raises the question whether testosterone can affect the quality of life for those suffering from hypogonadism and even andropause.

LAST UPDATED: March 2019 by Ben.

A full list of cited references are at the bottom of the page.

Hypogonadism

What’s the details regarding testosterone deficiency syndrome?

Hypogonadism, or, when a man is suffering from an abnormally low level of natural testosterone is now being recognized as a severe health problem that many men are having to deal with in their daily lives. [1]

Ageing

There are many statistics thrown around, however, in the USA at least, it seems that 5.6% of men aged from 30-79 years old is suffering from hypogonadism.

It increases significantly when men hit 40, with many more demonstrating hypogonadism. [2]

That’s the figure we know about, this doesn’t include the men who may be blissfully unaware that they have hypogonadism, or unsure that what they are suffering from is an actual disorder.

Yet, a further statistic from Malaysia puts the figure at 6% for men over 40 being subject to hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency syndrome.

How does hypogonadism affect lives?

Living with testosterone deficiency syndrome has many implications on quality of life.

These can be but not limited to the following:

  • Mobility impairment
  • Reduction in physical strength
  • Muscle mass loss
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Increased cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome risk
  • Premature death
  • Impotency
  • Loss of libido
  • Well being/mood changes
  • Bone density

As you can understand, this number of factors can bring upon difficulties to everyday living. [3]

Treatments

Hence why treatment for men with hypogonadism is recommended, this can be in the form of numerous products available to men.

Products that can help range from the following options:

  • Oral pills/tablets
  • Creams/gels
  • Patches
  • Implants
  • Injections

Injections are a popular choice because they offer a long lasting and stable amount of testosterone that only requires four injections per year. [4]

Fertility

However, it isn’t without its risks, those wishing to father a child may wish to choose an alternative option as injections and implants are the worst therapy for men who are struggling with fertility.

You can read more about testosterone therapy and infertility, here.

However, studies regarding testosterone, hypogonadism and quality of life have barely been broached, mainly focusing upon the physical factors.

We take a look how quality of life can be affected when men suffer from abnormally low levels of testosterone. [5]

low testosterone has a negative effect on a mans mood


Quality of life study – Parameters

The study was conducted in Malaysia and the participants were all subject to a rigorous medical examination in order to establish their physical and physiological profiles.

There were a total of 120 participants.

This included taking readings and establishing their level of health.

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Blood pressure
  • Prostate status
  • Liver function
  • Any medications and illnesses

The participants themselves were a number of randomly selected men who were aged 40 or over and they were confirmed to have low levels of testosterone by a double morning test for testosterone levels.

Any participants that had a history of liver tumors or other significant physical or psychological medical problems or were taking medications that may interfere with testosterone metabolism were excluded from the study.

A total of 120 men from 504 who were initially contacted fit within the remit and participated within the study.


Study – Quality of life changes

The participants were administered testosterone which increased their total level of testosterone to a significant level.

This was over the course of 48 weeks.

The results from the increased levels of total testosterone saw an improvement from just week 30 in all aspects of quality of life scoring apart from one area: physical function.

However, further down the line at the 48th week saw the additional improvement among physical function.

Mental health levels saw a major improvement during the 30th week, whereas physical health took off post week 30.

Muscle and joint pain also saw a reduction with obesity parameters also seeing a significant improvement. [6]

Further scoring saw a substantial improvement of vitality, social function and mental wellness. [7]


What significance do the results have?

An administration of injected testosterone has recorded a number of improvements across the whole quality of life spectrum for men with hypogonadism.

Areas of note were regarding mental health and well bring plus physical functionality.

This is not to overshadow the improvements made in areas such as vitality, general health, social health and interaction including emotional function.

Much of the improvements are seen within week 30 of treatment with physical function improvements being experienced within week 48. [8]

happy man with a healthy level of testosterone


Further notable results

Alternative studies have unearthed data that shows if a man is suffering from hypogonadism, his energy, emotional, social, mental, physical and sexual parameters are all negatively affected.

Further study has found that cognitive function and physical stamina is also to be included.

This particular study in Malaysia saw that these areas all significantly improved, albeit at different timescales but up to 48 weeks.

However, other studies have demonstrated that improvements of physical strength have not improved until up to 90 weeks from the beginning of the course of testosterone administration. [9]

Other studies have also found, as per this Malaysian study, that mental health improvements were all at around week 30 from the initial therapy start date.

Correlation

As a result, the results of these studies suggest that those men who suffer from hypogonadism also suffer from a lower quality of life.

The positive outcome is that after 48 weeks of controlled administration of testosterone, their quality of life improved, and quite considerably is some areas.

Yet, with all of these improvements, it seems there were no unwanted side effects experienced by the participants.

In particular, there were no cases of additional or increased cardiovascular ill health between to the treatment group and the placebo group. [10]


Closing thoughts

Numerous studies, including this one strongly suggest that increasing the levels of total testosterone in men who suffer from hypogonadism improves aspects of quality of life.

Ranging from physical strength and functionality to areas of emotional, obesity factors, mental, sexual and social health. [11]

It has been demonstrated that the rate of improvement has been recorded from around 7 months to a year.

Therefore, the treatment is not a particularly quick fix, yet it has proven to be sustainable and stable. With durable and replicable improvements being made according to studies. [12]

Importantly, no unwanted side effects have been experienced within the test group that would be out of a normal range. 

Therefore, it can be strongly suggested that those men who suffer from low levels of testosterone and resulting low quality of life, can make significant improvements by increasing their T levels. [13]


References

[1] Traish AM, Miner MM, Morgentaler A, Zitzmann M. Testosterone deficiency. Am J Med. 2011;124:578–87.

[2] Mulligan T., Frick M.F., Zuraw Q.C., Stemhagen A., McWhirter C. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. Int J Clin Pract. 2006;60:762–769.

[3] Corona G., Rastrelli G., Monami M., Melani C., Balzi D., Sforza A. Body mass index regulates hypogonadism-associated CV risk: results from a cohort of subjects with erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med. 2011;8:2098–2105.

[4] Lunenfeld B., Mskhalaya G., Zitzmann M., Arver S., Kalinchenko S., Tishova Y. Recommendations on the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of hypogonadism in men. Aging Male. 2015;18:5–15.

[5] Araujo AB, Esche GR, Kupelian V, O’Donnell AB, Travison TG, et al. Prevalence of symptomatic androgen deficiency in men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92:4241–7.

[6] Yassin DJ, Doros G, Hammerer PG, Yassin AA.J Sex Med. 2014 Jun;11(6):1567-76. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12523. Epub 2014 Apr 8.

[7] nyder P.J., Peachey H., Hannoush P., Berlin J.A., Loh L., Holmes J.H. Effect of testosterone treatment on bone mineral density in men over 65 years of age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84:1966–1972.

[8] Yassin D.J., Doros G., Hammerer P.G., Yassin A.A. Long-term testosterone treatment in elderly men with hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction reduces obesity parameters and improves metabolic syndrome and health-related quality of life. J Sex Med. 2014;11:1567–1576.

[9] Snyder PJ, Peachey H, Hannoush P, Berlin JA, Loh L, et al. Effect of testosterone treatment on body composition and muscle strength in men over 65 years of age. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999;84:2647–53.

[10] Kalinchenko SY, Tishova YA, Mskhalaya GJ, Gooren LJ, Giltay EJ, et al. Effects of testosterone supplementation on markers of the metabolic syndrome and inflammation in hypogonadal men with the metabolic syndrome: the double-blinded placebo-controlled Moscow study. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2011;73:602–12.

[11] Yasuda M, Furuya K, Yoshii T, Ide H, Muto S, et al. Low testosterone level of middle-aged Japanese men—the association between low testosterone levels and quality-of-life. J Men’Health Gend. 2007;4:149–55.

[12] Akerman J, Kovac JR, Lipshultz LI. Curr Opin Urol. 2017 Nov;27(6):519-524. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0000000000000440.

[13] Park NC, Yan BQ, Chung JM, Lee KM. Oral testosterone undecanoate (Andriol) supplement therapy improves the quality of life for men with testosterone deficiency. Aging Male. 2003;6:86–93.

Ben [BA(Hons)]

Ben established this site to be a free resource in 2015. Since then it has gained over half a million visits. He has always been interested in sport and he started playing rugby at the age of 6 represented his town, county and school. Ben also enjoys cycling, has started skiing and is in the Army Reserve representing his Regiment as part of the 150 Regimental Shooting Team.

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