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March 13, 2013
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Vail Daily health story: Low testosterone can affect men as well as women

You can't stop time, but you can condense aging into as few years as possible, said Dr. Scott Brandt, the medical director of ThriveMD in Edwards.

Since landing in Colorado in Colorado in 1977, Brandt has dedicated his practice to pain management, stem cell therapies and bioidentical hormone replacement. One of those hormones is testosterone.

Testosterone is often thought of as a male-specific hormone, but it isn't, Brandt said. Men and women have levels of both testosterone and estrogen.

Women's testosterone levels are lower than men's, but lower than normal levels of testosterone can still negatively affect women.

Brandt explained that low testosterone levels most often occur in post-menopausal women as their hormone levels naturally drop with age. It can occur in pre-menopausal women, creating symptoms similar to menopause, Brandt said.

For men, when it comes to hormones, testosterone is really the essence of what makes men who they are, Brandt said.

Low levels of testosterone can lead to changes like loss of lean muscle mass, headaches, sexual dysfunction and even hair loss, Brandt said.

Mentally and emotionally, Brandt said low testosterone can lead to mood changes and depression, reduced motivation, hair loss and many other symptoms (see sidebar).

'That middle-age funk'

Your body is already manufacturing the testosterone that's needed, but it probably needs more than it's making, Brandt said.

"It's not just sex. That's important, but it provides such a global health benefit," Brandt said. "It's health care instead of sick care."

Lean body mass increases between 12 to 18 percent a year without doing anything else, Brandt said. Cancer rates decrease, all the good stuff increases.

There's no real downside, but if you want to you can always go back to the way you were feeling before, Brandt said.

"It's like the fog is lifted," Brandt said. "It's great to see people bounce back from that middle-age funk."

Low testosterone is now commonly discussed, and with women as much as men. About half of his clients are women, he said.

"If men are going to see anyone, they're more likely to see a guy. Once they get here, they're just fine," Brandt said, "If they can get over the hurdle of understanding it can be treated."

He does a blood workup on you and together you figure out the treatment. Some clients see improvement in a few days, some a couple weeks, but the reaction is consistent.

You can do creams, pellets, pills. He'll give you a shot if you really want one.

Some of it's covered by insurance, some of it's not. It depends on your company. Even if it's not under your insurance, the treatments are relatively inexpensive, Brandt said.

"Everything good comes from testosterone, and it's enhanced by oxytocin," he said.

It's called bioidentical because that's what it is, he said.

"The body makes this stuff," Brandt said.

Over two-and-a-half decades the dropoff is so gradual you might not notice.

"The decline is so slow, people don't recognize what they've been missing," Brandt said.

For example, a guy in his 40s had lost interest in his very beautiful wife, so he went to see Brandt.

"A couple weeks later his wife called to thank me," Brandt said.

For more information call 970-766-8245 or visit www.thrivemdvail.com.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated May 3, 2013 01:09PM Published Mar 13, 2013 02:44PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.