He's Not That Into You Anymore? He May Have Low Testosterone
Men's testosterone levels start to dip in middle age -- and that can affect libido, mood, and overall health. Here's what to do.
Treatments for Low Testosterone
For most men with symptoms, low testosterone is easy to treat, and in most cases, medication can boost testosterone back into normal range and improve many of his symptoms. Just don't leave it up to your man to seek help. Left to their own devices, some men are unlikely to make an appointment. "The spouse is often the driver behind decisions to see a doctor," Sabanegh says. "The man is embarrassed, so the wife has to insist."
Treatment comes in many forms: testosterone injections given every one to three weeks; patches and gels applied every day or two; or 12-hour "buccal" tablets placed between the gums and upper lip, where they slowly dissolve. The newest treatment, says Sabanegh, is subcutaneous (under the skin) implants. Once in place, they will maintain your man's testosterone levels for up to six months.
There are potential side effects common to all testosterone replacement therapies. If your guy already suffers from sleep apnea, for example, boosting his testosterone may worsen it. Over the long term, testosterone therapy can have an impact on his prostate. While there's no clear link between testosterone treatment and prostate cancer, according to Sabanegh, boosting testosterone can accelerate the normal growth of his prostate, an age-related condition called benign prostate hyperplasia. An enlarged prostate can make urinating difficult and can lead to bladder infections.
And if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, he needs to stop his testosterone. "In some men," Sabanegh says, "testosterone treatment will turn off the body's own testicular function -- both sperm production as well as testosterone production."
Treatment requires commitment. He'll be able to get it up and keep it up -- his testosterone as well as his, um, manly hydraulics -- only as long as he stays faithful to his medication. But that's a small price to pay for the two of you to get your groove back.
Keeping Your Sex Life Alive -- Despite Low Testosterone
When testosterone is on the wane and intercourse is problematic, you can find other satisfying ways to be sexually intimate. "People shouldn't be so coito-centric," says Buehler. "You don't have to have an erection to have sex, so don't let your man feel he can't do anything for you."
Encouraging words. Let him know you love him regardless. That, says Buehler, is powerful comfort.
Try out some toys. Sex should be fun. Just make sure he knows that no toy can replace him.
Experiment. Make this an opportunity to try new things and to broaden your ideas of what gives you both pleasure.