When I was younger, I woke up almost every day with a rock hard erection. Honestly it was generally a nuisance, something I anxiously waited to subside so I could empty the contents of my bladder after a full night of sleep. At some point in my early 40s that daily phenomenon quietly went away. It must have happened gradually, because it was years before I noticed, or thought about what it might mean.
Years of Slow Suffering
At some point in my late 30s or early 40s I began to feel what I thought was depression. Despite being happily married, financially well-off and enjoying good health, I felt emotionally flat. I noticed these feelings especially during the winter months and came to believe that I was suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Initially I tried light therapy -- beginning the day with a bright light at my desk in the periphery of my vision -- it didn't help at all. I think I even tried one of those visors worn by a character on the show Northern Exposure. It was a hassle to keep up with the recommended specifications for light therapy and ultimately it just didn't seem to help.
As the years ticked by, those feelings of depression got worse. Now, not only did I feel "flat", but I started feeling "unwell". By the time January & February rolled around each winter, I sometimes felt an inexplicable sense of "impending doom", like something really bad was about to happen.
Mercifully, when Spring finally came, I usually felt much better almost immediately. As soon as I could get outside into the sun and get some exercise playing golf or working in the yard, I felt almost 100% normal.
But then just as predictably, by the time October rolled back around, I felt small, hopeless and deeply unmotivated.
Things That Didn't Help
I can't count the number of psychiatrists and psychologists that I saw. The diagnoses ran from "unspecific depression" to full on bipolar depression. I tried lots and lots of medications, including Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Abilify and Seroquel. Not only did none of these medications help me in the slightest, but each had horrific side effects. Prozac & Zoloft zeroed out my sex drive and left me almost completely unable to get an erection. Effexor caused "brain shocks", that felt like getting zapped with electricity any time I moved my eyes. Seroquel completely tranquilized me and in the resulting inactivity, I put on 20-30 lbs.
I felt hopeless. I didn't know what to do. I didn't really believe I was depressed -- and I reliably got better in the warmer, brighter months of the year. I knew for certain that the drugs weren't helping me and that the doctors were completely guessing. For a year or two, I just gave up and resigned myself to "gutting it out" during the winter months of deep depression. I refused to take any more medications and I stopped going to see my doctor.
"Maybe It's Low T"
By chance one day I was watching golf on television and a commercial came on with the slogan, "Maybe It's Low T". I listened to the list of symptoms of low testosterone which included:
Low sex drive
Increased body fat
Decreased sense of well-being
Difficulty with concentration and memory
Moodiness and irritability
Loss of muscular strength
I couldn't quite admit to "erectile dysfunction", but I had virtually every other complaint on the list. I mentioned the idea to my wife, who immediately made an appointment for me with my primary physician.
I was very surprised to learn that my testosterone level had never been checked. It's one of those things I guess doesn't get included in a physical or a check-up. A quick blood test revealed that my testosterone count was 30. Is that good or bad I asked? Turns out it might as well have been zero. Typically, the normal range is between 300 nanograms per deciliter and 800 nanograms per deciliter. Finally, we'd found the problem. I was sent off to a urologist who was ready to prescribe supplemental testosterone.
There are a variety of ways to receive supplemental testosterone. You can get injections. You can get a gel that you apply like anti-perspirant and there's even a patch like you might wear for smoking cessation.
I was afraid of the big needles, and the frequency of required injections didn't sound appealing. So the first thing I tried was the gel. It worked somewhat -- I almost immediately started feeling better. But it was messy and ruined a few shirts. And it was very hard to convince myself I was getting a consistent dose. Some days I think I just forgot to apply as I was rushing out the door in the morning. Worse yet, my wife started having reactions to it just from doing my laundry. That was it for the gel.
I moved on to the patch. I was more confident about getting a consistent dose. However, my skin felt burned underneath that patch and it was uncomfortable and embarrassing to wear. I asked my urologist about other options. Right about that time they had started to introduce "subcutaneous" delivery. Basically, they put pellets in your buttocks that dissolve and deliver testosterone over several months.
That's the treatment that I settled on and still take today. However... my experience in going to the urologist for this treatment was very unsatisfying. It was hard to get appointments and stay on schedule. Despite many complaints, and may unfulfilled promises from my doctor, I often went weeks or months unmedicated just chasing my doctor around for an appointment. Finally, that doctor fell off my insurance provider's approved network, and I knew I needed to find another solution.
Thankfully I was referred to Vital Health & Aesthetics in Ashburn. From day one, my experience was infinitely better. Getting treatment was more like going for a spa day than suffering through a visit to a urologist. Instead of sitting in a waiting room full of incontinent old men for hours at a time, I was welcomed into a bright, friendly service-oriented practice that made my well being and convenience their #1 priority. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff alone was more than enough to make me a patient for life.
But there was another huge difference for me in going to Vital Health & Aesthetics. My urologist had prescribed and treated me with "conventional hormone therapy". Instead, Vital Health & Aesthetics was giving me "bioidentical hormone therapy". I don't have any medical expertise and can't give you a complete explanation of the difference between "conventional" and "bioidentical" hormone therapy. I can tell you that bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) uses processed hormones that come from plants (e.g. bioidentical testosterone is derived from yams of all things). I can also tell you that my body responded dramatically better to BHRT than conventional therapy. My testosterone count shot up and stayed up.
The year that I started receiving conventional hormone replacement therapy from my urologist was a big step forward. My depression subsided and my general health improved significantly. But the first treatment I received at Vital Health & Aesthetics literally felt like a miracle.
I lost 40 lbs. I went from 220lbs to 179lbs in less than 3 months. In that time period, I was basically losing a pound a day. Of course eventually that leveled out. But initially I lost 25% of my total body weight. I was able to throw out all of my "fat clothes" and buy a completely new wardrobe. I looked and felt the best I had in 20 years.
I quit smoking. Is this at all related to BHRT? Probably not. But for the first time in 20 years of trying, I found the courage and the strength to quit a 2 pack a day habit.
I started playing tennis again for the first time in 20 years. Without the extra weight and having quit smoking, I reconnected to one of my great personal passions.
I made my first hole in one on the golf course! Again, does this have anything to do with BHRT? Not directly, I'm sure. But my improved health had me up 4 holes through 4 in the semi-finals of our club championship, and on the fifth hole I dunked a PW from 135 yards. Since I hadn't made a hole in one in my previous 40 years of playing golf, I'm inclined to give BHRT some of the credit.
I wrote a million dollar contract for my business. Completely unrelated to BHRT? I'm not so sure. Testosterone therapy definitely gave me more self-confidence and less social anxiety. I was able to confidently "ask for the business" and I got it.
Best of All
I'll never forget the third day after receiving my first treatment at Vital Health & Aesthetics. For the first time in many years, I woke up with my old friend, Morning Wood. It had been so long since that had happened that I really even forgot it was a thing.
On my way out the door to work I mentioned it playfully to my wife. "Oh yeah?" she asked with a sly smile. I pulled her into me to kiss her goodbye for the day. I could feel her body respond in a way that hadn't happened in a long time. I started down the stairs already almost late for an important client meeting. I thought about it for a second, tossed my briefcase toward the front door and marched back up the stairs, to deliver a high-quality quickie that I remain proud of to this day. We would go on to greatly enjoy the rejuvenation in our sex lives for many weeks and months to come.
Get a Free Consultation, Get Tested
My case was particularly bad. I still don't know exactly why my testosterone count had gotten so low. But the simple fact is that testosterone levels steadily decrease in all men as they get older. My guess is there are very few guys out there in their 40s, 50s or 60s that couldn't benefit from some level of supplemental testosterone. For me it was like turning back the hands of time by 10 years or more.
Dumb Reasons to Resist
Back when I was really struggling, even if someone could have told me exactly what was wrong and predict all of the positive results I would eventually enjoy, I think there are some irrational reasons why I might have still resisted.
Sounds Illegal or Unnatural - I think the fact that supplemental testosterone is banned in most professional sports gives off the impression that it is somehow morally wrong. Rather, the reason it is banned its because it genuinely works and they don't want individual players gaining advantage through superior chemistry.
Doesn't Sound Manly - No matter how bad things got, I don't think I would have ever accepted use of the phrase "erectile dysfunction". I'm a man dammit, and I don't need any help in that department. Pride is a hard thing to get past. Asking for help is never easy. All I can tell you is that the results are well worth any initial embarrassment.
Afraid of "Roid Rage" - Most of us have a notion of a body builder, pumped and jacked with a short fuse looking for confrontation. It is true in my personal experience that BHRT can give you an increase in self-confidence that could go too far. But at Vital Health & Aesthetics, this is monitored, measured and discussed regularly with a nurse or doctor. Your practitioner will help you find the right balance, and this is an issue I never ultimately had trouble with.
Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer - I'm not a doctor. This is a personal testimonial and not intended as medical advice. But as I understand it there is a potential increased risk for prostate cancer and other serious side effects. Again, these issues are closely monitored with regular bloodwork and personally, I've had no issues whatsoever.
The Rich & Famous Have Been At This for Years
Why do celebrities and professional athletes so frequently look years younger than their actual age? For one reason, because so many of them are using BHRT and many more of the advanced services available at Vital Health & Aesthetics. Here's a quick list of some famous guys who have admitted to using BHRT:
Finally the cost of these therapies is becoming affordable for just about anyone. Why not you!