Low Testosterone: How to Talk to Your Doctor
Low Testosterone: Symptoms and Treatment continued...
Testosterone replacement therapy can help reduce symptoms. But talking with your doctor about any problems you have can be a tough conversation to start. In one study, 82 percent of men with erectile dysfunction wished their primary doctor had asked them about symptoms earlier. The vast majority of these men said they felt too embarrassed to initiate the discussion about ED themselves.
Andre Araujo, PhD, an epidemiologist focused on testosterone deficiency and treatment patterns, found treatment rates to be surprisingly low in a recent study in Boston. “Only about 12 percent of men with [symptoms of low blood testosterone levels] were receiving testosterone,” Araujo says. “We can’t say they should have been treated, but the low treatment rate didn’t seem due to poor access to care or unwillingness on their part.”
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.”