Hey everyone, I'm new to the forum and was hoping to get some of your input as I am new to this Low Testosterone life I am stuck with. Here's my situation:
39 year-old male, 6'2", 205 lbs. (normally 195-198), very active (not a bodybuilder but hit the gym 3-4x a week and play hockey 3-4x a week), relatively healthy diet, low stress, work nights (sleep patterns are not exactly normal). I have never used steroids or testosterone in the past.
January 2010: had a complete physical including blood work, Testosterone levels were 709. Judged to be in great health.
May 2010: first signs of a problem included: no sex drive, constant fatigue, severe memory loss, brain fog/difficulty concentrating, difficulty urinating, mood swings, apathy, depression, etc. All of this took place over a 3-4 week period.
June 2010: my primary referred me to Urologist, who said I had an enlarged prostate. Prescribed Cipro. During follow-up, doctor said I was healed. He never did blood work and stated he could tell by my hairline that it was NOT testosterone related. I told him symptoms were still present and he told me it was all in my head.
October 2010: went to another Urologist for a second opinion. Blood work revealed testosterone level of 238. Started on Androgel 1%, 2 pump depressions per day. Saw great results within 4 weeks. Follow-up blood work revealed testosterone levels of 505. Results were very short-lived however and lasted only 2 weeks.
Second follow-up blood work revealed levels just over 300. Dosage was changed to 4 pump depressions per day with no change in symptoms. Noticed significant shrinkage to both my penis and testicles.
December 2010: continued on increased dosage and third follow-up blood work revealed testosterone levels of 900+. However, still no change in symptoms. Estradiol was never checked, doctor just changed me back to original dosage.
March 2011: after continuing dosage with no change, doctor suggested Testopel. Started Testopel, 8 pellets, with no results whatsoever. Blood work revealed Testosterone levels of 420, up from 350 prior to installation of pellets.
July 2011: first visit with Endocrinologist, who had a difficult time figuring out if I was suffering from primary or secondary hypogonadism. Suggested Axiron, so I started Axiron 30mg, 2 pump depressions per day with strong results within 3-4 weeks.
Follow-up blood work revealed testosterone levels of 540. This was the best I had felt in a year. I was completely back to normal.
September 2011: results were fantastic but only lasted from July - mid September. Literally overnight I went from "all systems go" to "stall mode." Original symptoms returned, combined with hot flashes, sinus issues, cold hands and feet, dry eyes, fat gain, bloating and testicular atrophy. Again, both doctors did not have the forsight to check Estradiol levels.
October 2011: started on Testosterone Cypionate injections, 200 mg once every 3 weeks with no results whatsoever. After 2 or 3 injections, testosterone levels were 214, but this was at the end of "cycle" just prior to my next injection. Estradiol was checked but was under 20.
November 2011: dosage increased to 300mg once every 2 weeks, with still no change.
December 2011: Blood work reveals testosterone levels of 356 but original doctor leaves the practice and I am transferred to another doctor who was not a fan of injections and switches me to Androgel 1.6%, 3 pump depressions per day.
He gave me a three week supply so he could attempt to get a "baseline" but follow-up blood work revealed testosterone levels of 326, which he said was within "acceptable" levels. I returned to Urologist, who put me back on Axiron because I had some success with it for a while.
January 2012: still using Axiron, 2 pump depressions per day. Symptoms are still present and I feel no different.
Summary: throughout this process, it seems that the only time I feel normal and the symptoms dissipate is when my levels are over 500. However, from the reseach I have done, it appears possible that my estradiol levels may rise during this time and interfere with any progress I am making.
Although I am new to this, I feel the estradiol could be the problem. Also, the testicular atrophy is troubling because it is painful and I plan on having children in the future. Does anyone have experience with HCG injections as a potential remedy for this?
Lastly, does anyone have experience with an aromatase inhibitor? My Urologist is pretty good about trying different things to help get me back in the game. The original Endocrinologist was completely against HCG because he said there were too many negative side effects.
I am not due to go back until next week and was exploring the possibilty of asking about going the compounding pharmacy route as well. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated! Like I said earlier, I'm new to this, so thank you for any help you might be able to offer.