Low Testosterone: How to Talk to Your Doctor
Asking About Your Symptoms
There’s no magic to asking your doctor about symptoms you’re having that might be related to low testosterone, Herbst says. “I think you just say what you feel, and start the conversation that way.”
Still, it’s not always easy to have a good discussion about sensitive issues in a few minutes of face time with the doctor. You can jump-start the conversation if you organize your thoughts before your visit. Here are a few possible ways WebMD suggests to talk to your doctor about possible symptoms of low testosterone.
For men with problems with energy, concentration, and well-being: “I’ve been feeling out of sorts -- just not myself. I’m tired and sleepy all the time, and I can’t seem to keep my mind on task. I get eight hours of sleep every night but I’m still tired. I’m wondering if something else going on. Do you think I need a testosterone test?”
For men with low libido or erectile dysfunction: “I know I’m not 18 anymore. But it seems like I should have more sex drive than I do. I don’t feel interested in sex, and I’ve had no sex drive for months. I know it bothers my wife, too. When it does happen, there are some problems with having a firm erection. It’s pretty embarrassing to talk about, but I want to make sure there’s nothing medical causing this.”
For men with symptoms of depression: “My family says I’m depressed. I admit that I’m irritable most of the time and can be hard to be around. I don’t like that. I’m not lying in bed all day, but my energy is down and I don’t feel interested in the things I used to. It’s hard to concentrate. All this makes me feel like a bad husband and dad. Can low testosterone cause these symptoms?”
Long-term studies on the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement are years away from providing meaningful answers, Araujo says. Until then, the best approach to possible symptoms of low testosterone is to bring them up with your doctor.
Keep this in mind, too: if you don’t have symptoms of low testosterone, it doesn’t make any sense to order a testosterone test. Because of potential testosterone side effects, testosterone replacement isn’t recommended just for a low level without symptoms since low levels may just be a normal part of aging.
Low Testosterone: Questions for Your Doctor
- Are my symptoms definitely from low testosterone, or could they be caused by some other problem?
- What are the possible benefits of testosterone supplements?
- What are the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy? What are the risks?
- How long would my treatment with testosterone replacement therapy be?
- What kind of lifestyle changes -- like exercise, or diet -- could I try before testosterone treatment?