AUSTIN -- Just as in women, men are finding out low hormone levels can negatively affect physical stamina and can result in mood swings. Also doctors have found low hormone levels can negatively affect those men trying to have children.
Andy Compton of Cedar Park would often work out -- hard -- to help relieve the stress of his job. He says despite tough workouts and a strict diet, he kept gaining weight. It was just one of the many things that weren't adding up regarding his physical well being.
"From staying up too late at night and waking up too early in the morning, I just started feeling bad," said Compton. "My quality of life wasn't what I wanted it to be."
Compton started reading about and seeing adds on TV for low T, or low testosterone.
"Today we know there are 13 million men in the U.S. that are diagnosed with low testosterone every year," said Parviz Kavoussi, a reproductive urologist at St. David's South Austin Medical Center. "We think less than five percent are actually being treated and seeking treatment."
Kavoussi says low T can cause fatigue or sexual side effects, as well as emotional side effects like depression or agitation.
"What we used to call us getting older -- these are effects of us just getting a little older -- now we're saying, 'No this is a hormonal deficiency,'" said Kavoussi.
Kavoussi says often simply raising the testosterone levels solves the problem. However he says testosterone replacement can negatively impact men trying to have children. Men like Compton and his wife Natalie.
"The body can't differentiate between the testosterone I give him and what he makes naturally," said Kavoussi.
Kavoussi says that makes the testosterone and sperm-making parts of the body think they're doing a great job -- thus, they don't work as hard.
"Sperm counts will significantly drop," said Kavoussi. "A lot of times they will drop down to zero."
Compton was given Clomid. It is normally used to induce ovulation in women.
"Within 30 days I was able to go from a testosterone level of 175 to just at 600," said Compton.
Compton says he also started noticing a dramatic improvement in his quality of life. He says he is sleeping longer, resulting in more energy and endurance. Now he and Natalie are hoping the next positive effect will be a pregnancy in the near future.
Clomid is FDA-approved for women but not for men. Despite that, Kavoussi says it is widely prescribed for men and is considered safe. Kavoussi has written a soon-to-be released textbook detailing the hormonal changes in men and how best to treat them. Click here for a link to the book.