A common condition hijacking men's health

- DRAPER, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Many Utahns suffer from a common condition called Andropause and they don't even know it.

James Wheeler was concerned.

"My energy levels, libido, fatigue.  I'd get to the middle of the afternoon and I'd have to take a nap," he said.

The former football player and 31-year-old father of two was exhausted.

"I wanted to figure out why," he said.

So he went to Ageless Men's Health, the state's first men's only clinic specializing in testosterone replacement.

"Testosterone production declines from one to two percent per year starting at age 30," Heidi Orr said.

As a nurse practitioner at the clinic she told ABC4 Utah reduced testosterone levels are the beginning of Andropause, male menopause that's very different for men when compared to women.

"It's not a sudden thing like it is for women," she said.  "It's more of a gradual progression."

However, many men find an instant impact to declining testosterone.

"Low testosterone can cause moodiness, depression, just not feeling quite right," Orr said.

Low levels can also lower libido, cause erectile dysfunction, and a bulge around the belly.  For that reason Wheeler acted fast.

"Men just think it's a natural part of aging, but it doesn't have to be," he said.  "We don't have to lose those energy levels, we don't have to be fatigued, we don't have to lose the libido that we once had." 

After a blood test confirmed James had lost testosterone, he started a weekly injection.

"It's been night and day difference for me so far," he said. "The biggest thing I've noticed is energy levels.  Fatigue is gone."

There are some risks to therapy.  Testosterone replacement can cause hair loss, water retention, and changes in cholesterol.  However, there are benefits.  Orr told ABC4 Utah the therapy often reduces blood pressure, reduces risk of dementia, and helps men maintain muscle.

"I would say it's beneficial for your overall health," she said.  "Not to mention you feel good." 

Orr told ABC4 Utah there is a common misconception that testosterone replacement will cause men to bulk up.  The therapy when monitored by a physician is only used to restore the hormone to the level it once was meaning it should normalize a man's muscle to fat ratio, not cause body building proportions.

The therapy is covered by about half of all insurance companies in Utah, simply ask your provider for more information.

To learn more about Ageless Men's Health, their location, and the services they provide click here.

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