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How to increase testosterone levels

by Chris Steidle, MD

Low testosterone treatment in any form may be able to improve typical low testosterone symptoms in aging men.

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Before you decide you need testosterone replacement in the form of pills, patches, gels or testosterone injections, try some self-help measures first.

Increase testosterone using non-medication methods

There may be several non-medication methods to increase  testosterone, especially if some less-than-healthy lifestyle habits are part of your routine. Here are some suggestions that you might want to try before deciding to use testosterone supplements:

  • Increase the amount of exercise in your daily routine.
  • Decrease use of or give up alcohol entirely, especially beer.
  • Lower your stress level through meditation or yoga.
  • Try to limit meals with meat or poultry to one or two a week.
  • If you wear jockey shorts, switch to boxer-type underwear.

Give all of these changes a period of at least three months before you decide they are not effective. You might want to go to our AMS Questionnaire, create a profile before you begin, and then track your low testosterone symptoms to see if there is improvement. Any simple steps to increase testosterone, as outlined above, are easier and less expensive than starting on testosterone replacement therapy. If none of them work, then talk with your doctor about moving on to the next step.

Testosterone replacement therapy

Once the decision has been made to increase testosterone levels with supplements, treatment can consist of various forms of the hormone using a variety of delivery systems: injections, pellets, pills, patches and gels.

Testosterone for treatment is made in the laboratory from cholesterol and it tends to be more expensive than its female hormone counterparts. When it was first used as oral treatment, doctors discovered that the body absorbed it from the intestine too rapidly and the liver broke it down into components that were not effective. New forms of testosterone were developed that resisted rapid absorption and new testosterone delivery methods were devised so that circulation through the liver could be bypassed.

References

Brawer, Michael K., MD. Androgen Supplementation and Prostate Cancer Risk: Strategies for Pretherapy Assessment and Monitoring. Rev.Urol. 2003;5 (suppl 1):S29-S33.

Caruthers, Malcolm, MD. The Testosterone Revolution. London: Thorsons; 2001.

Heaton, Jeremy, P.W., MD. Hormone Treatments and Preventive Strategies in the Aging Male: Whom and When to Treat? Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S16-S21.

Matsumoto, Alvin M., MD. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S3-S10.

McCulloch, Andrew, MD. Case Scenarios in Androgen Deficiency. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S41-S48.

Nieschlag, E., Behre, H.M., Nieschlag, S. Testosterone: Action, Deficiency, Substitution. Berlin: 1998.

Steidle, Christopher P., MD. New Advances in the Treatment of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Rev.Urol. 2003;5(suppl 1):S34-S40.

Notes
1. Matsumoto, Alvin M. Fundamental Aspects of Hypogonadism in the Aging Male. Urology. Vol. 5, Supplement 1. 2003;S3-10.
2. Morley, JE. J Gend Specif Med. 2001;4:49-53.

Posted February 2004
Updated June 2013

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