Last October everything hurt: knees, hips, muscles, etc. I couldn’t even do a light workout without feeling debilitating soreness. I thought maybe it was an under-recovery thing, so I took some time off lifting and hired a personal trainer specifically for mobility work.
She taught me drills, stretches, and exercises that actually fixed specific joint problems… and I’m using those regularly. But I still wasn’t recovering from lifting.
My muscles would ache after a workout consisting only of bands! And my knees and hips would keep me awake at night they hurt so bad. So I had this sneaking suspicion that it could’ve been low testosterone. And here’s the weird part…
It wasn’t just my body blowing small stuff out of proportion, my brain was too. I truly believe this has been a longterm occurrence.
Last year, 2021, I had a theological disagreement with my parents on Thanksgiving. Our argument should have made me sad for about a week. But it destroyed me mentally from November to March. I was crying all the time and even stopped going to church. It was weird, and I knew my brain was overreacting, but I couldn’t shake it off. It didn’t occur to me at the time that my inability to gain perspective and gain control of my emotions could’ve been testosterone-related.
And there were other instances where my feelings would get hurt so easily by things I knew were stupid.
So all these symptoms (?) were adding up to the idea that maybe my testosterone was low. I couldn’t work out using anyone’s program, nor could I work toward a PR because my body would hit a wall and I’d either get sick or my joints would be in excruciating pain. And that’s probably why I’ve become such a proponent of intuitive training (and skipping the progressive overload). I had to work out based on what didn’t hurt and what I could get away with.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. I watched a video from a woman named Dr. Tyna Moore, who said that ongoing pain in women is often related to low testosterone. Her presentation covered all these other things that can be affected by it too, like the mind, immunity, libido, etc.
So I went to a doctor who tested my hormones and discovered that they were all pretty low: estrogen, test, and progesterone. She prescribed me progesterone pills and half a milligram of sublingual T a day. She said that a boost in progesterone would help raise everything else.
And the prescription felt like magic! The effects were nearly instantaneous. But I wanted to see if it was the progesterone or the testosterone that was affecting my joints the most. So here’s what I noticed:
• If I took a full milligram a day of testosterone, I could do leg presses without any knee pain the next morning.
• If I had only half a milligram, I could get through the session with some light aching, and needing to do a lot of warm-up drills.
• If I completely forgot to take testosterone, my knees would be screwed during the workout and afterward.
My hips will ache like crazy without any testosterone too. And I know this may sound like unbelievable woo-woo, psycho-somatic stuff, but, when they’re aching at night, all I have to do is take another half-milligram of T and they stop within an hour. I can sleep!
(Definitely watch the video I linked to above if you have any doubts about women taking testosterone. Dr. Tyna is way ahead of most other doctors on this.)
But it would be nice to have a prescription high enough that my testosterone stays in the range where my knees and hips are never hurting… even if I forget to take the testosterone that day.
Anyway, I just wanted to share some testosterone discoveries and use this as a journal of sorts. If my doctor is unwilling to help me get my T levels into a high-normal range, I’ll need to find a new one.
Here’s what’s cool: I’m learning a ton and dispelling some huge myths though this process.
• Muscle Growth and Testosterone: my ability to build muscle and keep it has always been decent. I also have a propensity for big meaty traps. So naturally I assumed I was in the clear for ever having low testosterone… WRONG! Genetics can only do so much.
• Vitamin D and Testosterone: My vitamin-D levels were off the charts to the point that the doc told me to stop taking it for a month. But I assumed vitamin D (a pro-hormone) would ensure that my testosterone would be at least normal. Vitamin D might be helpful, but it too can only do so much. Who knows… maybe my test would’ve been even lower had I not been taking it.
• Thin Hair and Testosterone: My hair has always been super thin, just like my mom’s and my grandpa’s. I thought this was a symptom of naturally high testosterone… apparently not!
There needs to be more research done on testosterone in women. If more women – and their doctors – knew about its benefits (when taken in appropriate doses) I’m betting it could ease a lot of suffering. And if it affects the mind, mood, and libido as much as I suspect, it could probably save marriages.
It’s not just about PRs and gainz, it’s about quality of life.