By Heather N. Smith, WHNP-BC
Sex has many health benefits that are equally important to both men and women. Some of the benefits of regular sex include:
- reduces stress
- improves low sex drive
- lowers blood pressure
- improves bladder control
- decreases pain
- improves sleep
- increases intimacy and self-esteem
- reduces risk of dementia
- reduces risk of prostate cancer
- reduces risk of heart attacks
- burns calories.
Sex is connected to our emotions and thoughts, but is also directly related to our hormones and blood levels. If you do not have healthy testosterone levels, you may be missing out on the fullest desires for, and enjoyment of, having sex. What’s also interesting is that cholesterol is needed to make testosterone. Today, many physicians are prescribing statin drugs (e.g. Lipitor) that are lowering cholesterol levels and affecting an individual’s ability to make testosterone.
Testosterone is very important for both men and women. As we age, our natural levels decline. There are significant benefits of testosterone replacement and optimization.
- improvement of energy
- improved overall vitality
- sharpened brain function and memory
- reduction in depression and anxiety
- increase in motivation and drive
- increased libido
- improved symptoms of erectile dysfunction
- increased fat loss
- increase in muscle mass
- decreased blood pressure
- improved bone health
- reduced risk for Alzheimers
- reduced risk for prostate cancer
So how is testosterone optimization achieved?
While some physicians order labs to evaluate testosterone levels, the reference ranges for “normal” levels are very large and result in many patients being advised that their levels are “normal”. However, this does not mean they are optimal for the patient who is still symptomatic of low testosterone levels. In other words, your lab results may reflect a “normal” testosterone level, but your symptoms may not resolve until a higher level of testosterone in the “normal” range is achieved. This is optimization.
There a few methods of testosterone replacement therapy that have been in use for a number of years including patches, creams, troches, and injections. Oral routes of administration are typically not effective for men, but are often sufficient for women. It is very important when choosing a delivery method that your physician select the best option for your individual needs. An alternative testosterone therapy that has been increasing in popularity over the last few years is called pellet therapy. Pellet therapy has actually been around since the 1930’s but was not FDA approved until 2008. Pellets can provide a more consistent dose of testosterone over a longer period of time. It can eliminate having to remember to use a messy, daily, transferable cream, or to apply a new patch frequently, or to inject yourself once or twice a week, which can be a painful hassle. Testosterone pellets are bio-identical, not synthetic, meaning they are identical to your body’s hormone structure. They are cost effective and doses are individually customized based on your needs. Pellets are very convenient because the effects typically last for 3-4 months. They are very small in size and are made at a sterile compounding pharmacy. The pellets are inserted into the fatty tissue of the hip using a local anesthetic, and the procedure is done in the office. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes, is relatively painless, and no stitches are required. Labs are checked prior to dosing and insertion, as well as periodically thereafter to assure desired levels are achieved.
We are very excited to announce that testosterone pellet therapy will soon be added to the testosterone replacement options here at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness for both men and women. I’ve personally been performing pellet insertions since 2011 and am a strong believer in the benefits of pellet therapy. If you are interested in learning more, please contact one of our wellness consultants today, or discuss with one of our healthcare providers at your next appointment.
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