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Optimal testosterone levels are required by the human body to maintain bone density, lean muscle mass, sex drive, energy, mental stability and overall sense of well-being. When stress levels increase, testosterone is often affected - your body begins to divert hormone production to cortisol, leaving fewer precursors for testosterone production. This decline in testosterone can lead to fatigue, low libido, difficulty losing weight and more.
Testing Testosterone Levels
There are a number of methods for testing testosterone levels including serum (blood) and saliva. Blood tests measure the total amount of testosterone present in the body. However, about 99 percent of testosterone is bound to proteins and cannot be used by the body. There are some calculations available to help determine how much of the testosterone in the blood is actually available. However, salivary tests have been proven more practical.
Salivary testing for testosterone levels tends to be a superior option because it measures the amount of free, bio-available testosterone. No further calculations are necessary to obtain an accurate measurement.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
There are many options for testosterone replacement therapy including oral capsules, injections, creams, gels and pellets. Obviously, the dosage for testosterone varies between women and men. The oral capsules contain micronized bioidentical testosterone and are advised to be taken once a day. Testosterone creams are simply applied to the skin like lotion, usually at bedtime. Testosterone injections are generally injected into the muscle (IM), however another under the skin (SQ) is also an available option. Testosterone pellet therapy, which are inserted under the skin, are rapidly becoming the preferred method of delivery, thanks to recent FDA approval. These specially-made pellets are composed of a soy capsule filled with pure testosterone that slowly dissolves in the body over the course of 3 to 6 months (depending on metabolism and stress levels). The release of the hormone is slow and closely mimics the natural pattern of hormone release throughout the day. Pellets are about the size of a grain of rice, inserted painlessly during an in-office procedure and virtually undetectable beneath the skin.
The necessary follow-up laboratory testing is best determined by the type of therapy you choose, however many therapies can be tested by multiple means, making the choice a matter of availability and convenience. You and your BodyLogicMD bioidentical hormone doctor will discuss the form of testing that will best suit your needs to determine the optimal hormone replacement therapy method for you.