Listen to “222: Testosterone for Women – Dr. Matt Chalmers” on Spreaker.
Testosterone for Women
This episode talks about hormones and how it affects sexual function and overall health of women in particular. Dr. Matt Chalmers explains two primary hormones in women, testosterone and estrogen, and what we can do to keep their levels in check and keep your sex drive up.
Testosterone and estrogen
Dr. Chalmers said the problem he ran into is people think that women should focus on their nestrogen levels, which is not really the case. For sexual conversation purposes and if you are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, headache and/or joint pains, we need to look at the estrogen level. Otherwise, we look at your testosterone level, because as we start raising that, the body will convert testosterone into estrogen, balancing the two hormones.
What is the function of testosterone in women?
For health purposes, testosterone helps regenerate muscles (your heart is a muscle, your blood vessels all have muscles in them, so this aspect is important). But for sexual functions, testosterone in men can make a lot of things better from a physiological standpoint such as erection. What people fail to remember is that the clitoris is the same tissue embryonically, so you can also get more nerve functions and more blood flow into the clitoris if you give women the right amount of testosterone. A stronger orgasm, for example, is often noticed with higher levels of testosterone.
Are there any lifestyle changes that are going to affect testosterone levels?
Stress plays a big part, so your stress level will be evaluated first. We bring nutrients level back to where they’re supposed to be, and then we work on your mind so you can learn how to deal with your stress. That can naturally bring testosterone levels up. However, there is a point in time where your stress, your genetics and everything plays a big role where if we cannot bring it up after that, then we go to the injections, and that will get us where we need to be.
Are there risks/potential side effects for women using testosterone supplementation?
Clotting is a safety factor to look at. With higher testosterone, blood gets thicker, so you need regular blood tests. Typical side effect in men is hair loss. With women, some experience acne, darkening of hair, and a good chance that you will gain weight. It ramps up your metabolism so you’ll lose fat but gain muscle, so you may look skinnier but not lose weight on the scale. In that aspect, it will not help with weight loss but will work on fat loss.
Hormone therapy is recommended to be done for the rest of your lives for its physiological benefits – osteoporosis, heart functions, sexual functions. If we can find a way to take the stress away and bring testosterone levels naturally back up to 100, that is better than medical intervention. But in this time that we live in, there are lots of factors that affect our hormone levels – bad nutrition, bad sleep, high stress and environmental toxins. With hormone therapy intervention, we are increasing the quality of life by changing the physiology a little bit so we can have all the functions that we want to have. Dr. Chalmers underscored, however, that we still need to look hard at the stress level because even with even with high-level testosterone, high sex drive may not be possible. It could be that you fix how your days are structured first before we change the chemistry in your body.
Dr. Matt Chalmers is a health and wellness expert, author and speaker who specializes in the areas of long-term wellness, nutrition, women’s health, weight loss, athlete wellness and holistic healing.
With a client list that includes professional athletes, business executives, politicians and celebrities, Dr. Chalmers takes a holistic-based approach with patients to identify and treat the source of their issues. Medical doctors regularly refer patients to Dr. Chalmers when traditional medications and treatments are not working with their patients.
Dr. Chalmers works with patients to identify, treat and manage a wide variety of issues, including weight loss/gain, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, pain, injuries, celiac disease, chiropractic problems, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome and plantar fasciitis. He also provides patients with hormone therapy guidance and treatment.
Dr. Chalmers is the author of the bestselling book “Pillars of Wellness,” which helps readers cut through the information overload about wellness, exercise and diet to figure out the actions they can take that will have the greatest impact. The book details how to fuel the body physically, mentally and spiritually.
“How the Chiropractor Saved My Life” by Deborah Bain, M.D. is about her personal journey as a patient through a broken medical system. It details the problems caused by traditional medications and treatments and prominently features Dr. Chalmers as one of the doctors who helped her finally overcome severe health issues and end years of pain and suffering.
Dr. Chalmers received his degree of Doctor of Chiropractic from Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas. He has a Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, is a Certified Clinical Chiropractic Neurologist, a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner and has additional certifications in spinal decompression and quantum reflex analysis. He currently lives in Dallas with his wife.
Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com
The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com
Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Dr. McKenzie explains both sexes produce testosterone however it’s much more prevalent and important in men. Serena informs us that puberty is driven primarily by testosterone. She notes that testosterone production increases exponentially in men during puberty, peaks around age 30, and subsequently declines. From driving growth and facilitating sexual function to retaining bone density and cognitive function, Dr McKenzie describes testosterone as a hormone with lifelong importance in men’s health.
Listen to “125: Testosterone – Dr. Serena McKenzie” on Spreaker.
Causes of Low Testosterone
Serena tells us the most direct cause of low testosterone, clinically diagnosed as testicular hypogonadism, occurs when the pituitary gland produces insufficient hormones to trigger adequate testosterone production. But she explains that many cases of low testosterone are caused by obesity, diabetes, insomnia, sleep apnoea, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and other varieties of poor self-care. She also mentions that many clinicians understand lower testosterone levels as a natural result of aging, and not as a condition requiring treatment.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Dr. McKenzie admits that most of her patients present with sexual dysfunction. She often finds problems such as low libido, trouble gaining or sustaining an erection, fatigue or depression. One symptom she describes that points directly to hypogonadism is a measurable decrease in testicular size. She mentions the loss of non-sexual erections as indicative of low testosterone. She points out that these symptoms can also be caused by vascular disease or pituitary dysfunction, but she reassures us that true cases of testosterone dysfunction can be diagnosed fairly easily by physicians.
Low is Low?
To diagnose hypogonadism, Serena explains that labs look for reproducible testosterone levels below 300 or 350. The doctor explains that testosterone levels vary from day to day and hour to hour, which is why testing a man’s testosterone more than once is necessary for a correct diagnosis. She admits that some practitioners will skip this second test, which can lead to inappropriate diagnoses. She explains that most men should have testosterone levels between 200 and 900 for full sexual health, but the exact levels vary for different individuals.
Treating Low Testosterone
Dr. McKenzie believes that it’s important to assess lifestyle variables and consider alternative treatments like testosterone stimulation before rushing into testosterone replacement. For many men, correcting poor self-care, addressing relationship problems, and learning to foster romance in their relationships can solve their sexual and energy complaints. She remarks that these treatments are especially useful for younger men because hormone replacement shuts off the body’s natural ability to produce testosterone, which can prevent men from fathering children or require lifelong testosterone supplementation after treatment.
But for men with primary testicular failure or pituitary dysfunction, Dr. McKenzie acknowledges that testosterone treatments will be a necessity for the rest of their lives. Men whose testicular tissue has been damaged by chemotherapy or alcohol abuse may also need continual testosterone treatments to maintain sexual function.
Serena describes a market that has produces 15 to 20 different methods of administering testosterone for patients, including injected doses of testosterone, injectable pellets, transdermal gels, sprays, and pills, but she says insurance usually decides the form of treatment.
Risks of Different Treatment Types
Dr McKenzie prescribes transdermal gels and lotions most often. For those, she warns that it’s important for men to wash their hands after application and for them to allow the gel or cream to dry after application, otherwise accidental transmission of testosterone to partners or pets may occur.
She implies that most other methods are even safer, though high-dose injectable varieties of testosterone have been shown in some studies to increase the risk of blood clots, making heart disease important for prescribers to consider.
Testosterone Abuse and Misuse
Serena believes that testosterone is a wonderful substance, but she recommends it only be used with a clinician’s oversight. Because of testosterone’s ready availability online, she meets many men who buy themselves testosterone and are puzzled by the substance’s tendency to reduce, rather than increase, libido in healthy men.
Producing Testosterone Again
For men who don’t need lifetime testosterone treatment, Dr. McKenzie explains that results vary when treatment is discontinued. She says that some men—usually those who did not require treatment—produce adequate levels of testosterone immediately after treatment stops. Other men must wait for three to six months for their testicles to resume testosterone production, a time period that she warns can cause men to feel the depression, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with low levels of testosterone. She says that people who recover more slowly may require testosterone stimulating therapies to regain sexual function or fertility treatments if they intend to conceive a child. She also warns that a few men never regain their fertility or sexual function after undergoing testosterone treatments.
Finding Treatment for Sexual Dysfunction
Dr. McKenzie admits that medical treatment for sexual problems can be difficult to find. She describes some doctors as being disinterested in hearing about their patients’ low libido and sexual problems.
To meet the needs of this under-treated population, Serena tells us that pop-up sexual health clinics began to appear. Because pop-up clinics often provide inadequate or inappropriate treatment, she explains that more clinicians began to understand the need to provide sexual health services to their patients. Thanks to these changes, Serena shares the encouraging news that getting medical help for sexual problems is becoming easier every day.
A healthcare worker since 1992, Dr. Serena McKenzie is an evidence-based, holistic primary care physician with expertise in sexual medicine, healthy aging, and the pelvic floor. She is certified as a sexual medicine fellow (IF) through the International Society for Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH), as a nationally certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP) through the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), and as a sex counselor through the American Association of Sex Educators and Therapists (AASECT). Using a multi-disciplinary approach that assesses her patients holistically, Dr. McKenzie helps her patients treat sexual dysfunction at every stage in life.
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