David Andrews, a 58 year old father of three from Cambridge, believes he has been suffering from the signs of Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome, including lack of energy, sexual dysfunction, insomnia and consequent irritability, for a number of years. He had an operation when he was 19 to remove a hydrocele (water on the testicle) and from the age of about 30 the other testicle began to shrink. These physical symptoms prompted David to seek medical advice about the health of his testes on several occasions. His primary concern initially was testicular cancer but by the time he had reached the age of 50, he'd become aware of an increasing lethargy and started to request tests on his testosterone levels.
'My NHS doctors said shrinking of the testes (or atrophy as the doctors call it) wasn't uncommon and they sent me away again; basically kicking me out of the door with no treatment. When I reached 50 and the shrinking testicle was even smaller, I had an ultrasound scan and advanced necrosis of the left testicle was diagnosed. This means the testicle was dead in the middle. I was understandably alarmed, but was told the condition was not life threatening and was offered no treatment under the NHS. A subsequent blood test revealed that my testosterone levels were just within normally accepted limits, yet I now realise I was exhibiting the symptoms associated with Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome'
David saw an episode of the TV programme 'Embarrassing Bodies' featuring a man with the same problems, including low energy, who was successfully treated using testosterone replacement therapy. In frustration and spurred on by the TV programme, David, who runs a scientific consultancy business, turned to the internet for help. He discovered the Centre for Men's Health and after extensive blood tests and a consultation with Dr Carruthers at the Centre was started on testosterone replacement therapy.
'Dr Carruthers didn't just take into account the blood test results, he listened to me and took note of all my symptoms. He thinks the operation I had when I was 19 may have caused some damage to my testes although the operation relieved the immediate symptoms.'
Now 18 months later, David is reaping the benefits.
'I feel energised and my sense of well-being has improved.
I have a greater desire for living, my circulation has improved, I sleep better and consequently I am less irritable at home. I have also lost a lot of midriff fat and I have more muscle. I don't get as many colds and when I do they aren't as severe. I feel so much healthier. I also realise now that I was suffering from sexual dysfunction, although I didn't realise it before taking testosterone.
When I look back over the last ten years, I realise I was slowing down, everything I did required more effort. Now everything seems easier, I feel twenty years younger.
When I meet men of my age and I see symptoms in them, I wonder if should mention TRT. I did mention it to one friend who thought I was joking - I didn't get a sympathetic reaction. I realise that the subject can be taboo amongst men, rather like trying to discuss testicular cancer.
I would encourage any man who displays the symptoms to seek help and give it a go as it has definitely relieved many of my symptoms and had a positive knock on effect on all aspects of life.'