Testosterone is the sex hormone that helps boys become men; it is key during puberty and the development of male physical features. Testosterone helps men maintain muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, and a deeper voice; it is also needed for men to produce sperm. Testosterone levels can affect men’s sex drive, erections, mood, muscle mass, and bone density. After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone; however, there are a number of other possible causes for low testosterone, including: Injury to the testicles Testicular cancer or treatment for testicular cancer Hormonal disorders Infection HIV/AIDS Chronic liver or kidney disease Type 2 diabetes Obesity Some medicines and genetic conditions can also lower a man’s testosterone score, and, in some cases, the cause is unknown. There are many sexual and non-sexual symptoms that can be indicative of low testosterone. Sexual signs include: Diminished/Low sex drive Weaker and/or fewer erections Inability to maintain an erection Non sexual signs include: Increase in body fat Diminished energy Reduced muscle mass Depression Anemia (low iron) Reduced Bone Mass Having a gradual decline in your testosterone level as you age is to be expected; however, treatment may be considered if you’re experiencing symptoms related to low testosterone. A blood test can accurately determine your testosterone level; a man’s normal total testosterone range is about 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to about 800ng/dL, depending on the lab. If you have any concerns, or experience any of the associated low testosterone symptoms listed above, contact the Urology Group of Princeton to schedule an appointment. The board certified physician/surgeons at the Urology Group of Princeton are highly trained to evaluate your symptoms, perform applicable tests, and develop the proper treatment plan, which may include Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is about being aware and informed because prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of men in the United States (lung cancer is #1). The good news though is that, if diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent. While there is currently is no way to prevent prostate cancer, there are recommendations that may reduce your risk. And, as an added benefit, it is believed that these recommendations actually help reduce the risk for most forms of cancer. Eat healthy and choose a low-fat diet Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains Maintain a healthy weight Stay physically active Avoid tobacco Get regular checkups/screenings Regular checkups/screenings are particularly important because prostate cancer generally doesn’t have early symptoms. Also, the symptoms that may show (e.g. difficult/painful urination, trouble getting an erection, etc.), can be the same as for other non-cancerous conditions; this makes prostate cancer hard to diagnose from symptoms alone. Given that, the Urology Group of Princeton recommends an annual checkup/screening consisting of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. A DRE is a test where the doctor puts a gloved finger in the rectum to feel the prostate. A PSA test is a blood test that can find a prostate related problem. Abnormalities found in either test may indicate the need for additional testing such as urinalysis, genomic/genetic testing, imaging, and biopsy. Early detection is the key; call the Urology Group of Princeton at 609.924.6487 to schedule your prostate cancer screening.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, in anticipation of that, the Urology Group of Princeton would like to take the opportunity to remind you that, if you haven’t already done so this year, it’s time to set up your PSA screening. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test detects the presence of a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. It’s normal to have a low PSA level; however, when there is a problem with the prostate, such as cancer, it causes PSA levels to rise. Screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been instrumental in minimizing the number of deaths from prostate cancer. The test involves drawing a sample of blood that is then submitted to a laboratory for analysis. PSA levels are commonly expressed in nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Although there is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, and levels may vary over time in the same man, an individual with a high PSA level, usually greater than 4.0 ng/mL, may be referred for further testing. Additional testing is warranted because, although prostate cancer can indeed cause elevated levels of PSA, there are also noncancerous conditions that can increase the PSA level. So, while the PSA test can detect high levels of PSA in the blood, it doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer is present. Your urologist will determine if additional testing is required; it may include a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), a urine test (to check for a urinary tract infection, and imaging tests, such as a transrectal ultrasound, x-rays, or cystoscopy. For more information about prostate cancer, including detection, symptoms, and treatment options, please call the Urology Group of Princeton, at 609.924.6487, to schedule an appointment. Photo courtesy of Hush Naidoo on Unsplash