“I asked my doctor for Viagra and had my testosterone level tested. My doctor says my levels are normal. Why am I having issues with sexual performance if my levels are normal? “
We get this question a lot. The fact is that your testosterone level may only appear to be “normal.” The “normal ranges” for testosterone are based on an average of those people getting tested. Since you probably won’t be tested unless you have an issue or concern, those getting tested likely have low testosterone from the get go. So, the average testosterone range, or reference range, is going to be low. Reference ranges are NOT optimal ranges!
We’ve found that optimal total testosterone levels for males should be between 750- 1100. So if a local lab has a reference range of 200-800 and your total testosterone is 500, your doc will likely say you’re looking good. Now you can understand why you’re still having the same issues when you’ve been told everything is A-OK- it’s because your testosterone level is not within the optimal range!
Another test we look at is “free testosterone.” This is a fraction of testosterone (about 5%) that is unbound and floating in your blood stream. This free-floating testosterone is responsible for your sex drive (and oh, boy, we know how important that is!) Optimal values in males are between 20 and 35.
Both total testosterone and free testosterone levels are needed to get a good picture of what’s going on in your body. So even though your total testosterone levels may appear normal, or even high, if your levels of free testosterone are below normal, you’ve got a problem. So arm yourself with good information and get tested. Your answer may be testosterone therapy, not Viagra!
In addition, every patient has a unique testosterone range where they are “comfortable”, it may be different from the next patient. This is why we look to the tests mentioned above to give us an indication where your levels begin; this will allow us to monitor how quickly your body eats up the testosterone replacement and also what symptoms return and to what degree they are present.
While sexual performance is an obvious symptom, there are many other symptoms that you may not be aware that you are suffering from that are also connected to your low testosterone ranges. Feeling short tempered? Not able to get enough sleep? Having trouble recovering between your workouts? Where did your muscle go? Suffering from brain fog? Losing your mental/competitive edge? Waking up without morning wood? Check out our blog from last week (September 29, 2017) for more information on how testosterone replacement therapy may help with those symptoms as well.
Curious about your testosterone levels and want to have them tested to discuss your symptoms? Give us a call at 301-668-0002 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Jeanne O’Connell, MD or Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, our Clinical Director. We will help you find your balance and optimize your health!