Low Testosterone: How to Talk to Your Doctor
Some men don’t require any, Werthman says. “There are natural ways to raise testosterone, including exercise and weight loss.”
Other times, your doctor may suggest you start hormone replacement therapy. He’ll give you testosterone in an injection, patch, gel, or tablets to raise your levels back to a normal range.
What to Tell Your Doctor
Ideally, your doctor will bring up the topic during an office visit. “That doesn’t mean coming right out and asking, ‘Do you have low testosterone?’ but ‘How’s your sexual function?’” Ramin says. “It’s usually the first question I ask.”
Still, you might need to broach the topic on your own. You can make an appointment with your primary care doctor or seek the help of a urologist, who specializes in male sex organs. If fertility is an issue, you can talk to a reproductive endocrinologist. They treat hormone imbalances in both men and women.
Since you may feel self-conscious, there’s no need to tell the scheduler at your doctor’s office that you think you have low testosterone. Nor do you have to tell the nurse when she comes into the exam room to take your vital signs. “It’s OK to list a few of your symptoms, then wait for the doctor before you go into more detail, Werthman says. “You can tell him, ’I’ve been having these symptoms lately.' Then after you list them, suggest, ‘Maybe it’s testosterone.’”
It’s normal to feel embarrassed, especially if low sex drive is one of your complaints. But it can help to think of this like any other health problem that needs attention, Werthman says.
“As medical providers, we’re not here to judge, but to help,” Ramin adds. “As we age, our bodies tend to change. It’s a natural process.”
You might have seen TV or magazine ads that make testosterone therapy seem like a cure for all problems that come with aging. It’s a trend that’s driven more and more men to worry about their testosterone levels and ask their doctor to be tested, Werthman says. But “if you don’t have any symptoms of low testosterone, there’s no need for a test.”