Metabolic

Restoring hormonal balance

Dr. Ngoo Kay Seong wants to continue educating men everywhere about low testosterone

TESTOSTERONE SYNDROME DEFICIENCY, also known as hypogonadism, is a common health problem that many men experience as they age.

The condition, in which testosterone levels decrease, is common in men after the age of 30. In fact, one in five men will show symptoms of the process by the time they hit their late 30s.

But unlike menopause, the cause of testosterone deficiency is not solely due to aging. And the effects can sometimes be deadly.

Despite this, awareness of the condition is still relatively low, and many men dismiss it as a normal consequence of aging.

Therefore, Doctor Ngoo Kay Seong has made it his mission to address this issue.

Ngoo, a consulting urologist, has made it his mission to promote the cause through awareness. During a recent conversation with theSun, Doctor Ngoo explained more about the condition and the treatments available.

How important is testosterone to a man’s health?

“Testosterone in general is important not only for sexually functioning adult males, but also for sexual maturation and development.

“So if you’re born with the XY chromosome, you’re destined to be a male with male genitalia.

“But if you don’t have enough testosterone, you may be born with ambiguous genitalia. This will then slow your growth spurt as an adult.

“For example, you may not have appropriate masculine facial features, or you may be growing breasts. These are problems associated with early onset hypogonadism of hormones.

“While the symptoms for late-onset hypogonadism range from low sexual libido, penile function, and ejaculation. This is a common condition in men over 40. In fact, one in five men has this condition.

“So it’s a clinical and biochemical syndrome that requires a laboratory test to prove it. You must also have a record of having these reported symptoms.

“Only then can it be proven that you are deficient in serum testosterone.”

Aside from aging, what are some of the factors that cause this?

“Aging aside, this would be due to metabolic health conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. Diabetes and obesity have been specifically linked to the status of one’s testosterone.

“It’s like a chicken and egg story, what comes first? So it’s connected. The other reason can be due to long-term use of certain medications like steroids. Those who take a lot of opioids, antipsychotics, and steroids can do this [suffer from] low testosterone.

“Of course not to forget Covid-19. But I think the study on Covid and the long-term effects on testosterone is still ongoing. We don’t know if this will be a short-term thing: will your testosterone levels return to normal once you recover from Covid?

“And of course those who have had surgery from the start. As with a testicle removal, your testicles can then no longer compensate. Or even if you have an accident, injury, or illness that could damage your testicles.

“So these are the main reasons why men have low testosterone levels. But most men show no symptoms. Only when you combine it with other conditions does it become more obvious.”

Are there any side effects if left untreated?

“If you don’t address the testosterone issue, things are going to get worse in a lot of ways. So if you have pre-existing conditions like diabetes or obesity, your condition may not improve. It also affects your relationship with your family and loved ones.

“You may feel irritable, anxious, or even depressed, which creates difficulties in your personal relationship. This also has an impact on the professional life of the patients. For example, I have men in their prime ages of 40 to 60 who are taking the lead in their careers.

“And productive and makes a big contribution to the economy. But if they just focus on their health, they can definitely perform better.”

Is there a cure for patients with this condition?

“Yes, there are different treatments to treat patients with low testosterone levels. The concept of treatment is called testosterone replacement therapy, which aims to increase the level and amount of testosterone. In turn, this improves your physical appearance, sex drive, and other health parameters.

“The treatment comes in different forms. The first is pills, which patients must take three times a day. But it can be expensive due to the volume required and annoying due to potential side effects like nausea and digestive issues. Patients can then opt for creams or gels. Patients must apply them around their body.

“However, you have to make sure it dries up before you hug someone. This is because you can accidentally transfer the hormones to other people, which will cause problems for them.

“The next form is the form of an injection. It is called an intramuscular injection because it is injected into the muscle.

“An injection can last up to three months. And the patients have to take four injections a year. Most men prefer and generally accept this form of treatment.

“However, the full impact of these benefits is not apparent immediately. It will take at least a year to see the full benefits.”

But as the saying goes: prevention is better than cure. Are there any precautions men can take to avoid this condition?

“What we usually tell our patients is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. That means a good work-life balance. This takes the form of adequate rest, regular exercise and a healthy diet. All of this can help.

“Apart from the fact that a healthy lifestyle also consists of not abusing medication and having regular check-ups.

“If you have symptoms of low testosterone, it’s best to see a doctor to have it checked out, as you’ll need a check-up. And when you’re diagnosed with it, you commit to treatment.

“See your doctor regularly. Only then can you see the effectiveness of the treatment.”

What can the government do to combat this problem?

“I think the government can start with promoting healthy lifestyles in men in the first place.

“More importantly, they can create awareness by speaking about male aging. All the problems one encounters as one ages and how health problems such as diabetes and obesity can exacerbate them.

“I mean, there are a lot of issues related to men’s health that can be addressed. From prostate and testicular cancer to male testosterone deficiency, the government can shed light on these serious issues affecting men.

“After all, in this country we have a ministry for women’s affairs, but we don’t have a ministry for men’s affairs in place yet.”

To learn more about the condition or see if you are at risk, visit www.tackletdasia.com.

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