This post needs a lot of upfront explanation so I apologize in advance for the length of this post so please be patient, I am really seeking answers and guidance from people who have knowledge on this topic.
A few years ago (2008) at the age of 27, after a routine physical, my Dr mentioned my testosterone level was low but nothing to worry about. It was about 300. After a little research, I found out just how low that was and freaked out. Asked for a referral to an endo.
I had all the symptoms of low T. Also, keep in mind I had been on anti-depressants/SSRIs for depression/anxiety/OCD for about 6 years off and on. All different kinds and doses.
Talked to endo and explained lab result and my symptoms and medication I was currently taking. I had just turned 28 at this time. He said he felt all my symptoms were side effects from the meds because other than that, I was in good overall health. At this time, I decided to stop taking medication because I wanted to prove to him (and myself) that it wasn't the meds and it was me. Plus, I didn't want to take them anymore, it really didn't help that much. He did his own labs and test came back at 293 month/year. He suggested Testim. Took it for about 1-2 weeks and stopped. The stuff never dried, ruined shirts, and I couldn't see myself doing that every single morning. Next month, tried the testosterone patches for 1-2 weeks and it burnt my skin and left square-shaped rings from adhesive edges of patches. Finally, he agreed to try IM injections. He started me off on low dose to start 1cc, then we would continue 2cc every 3 weeks. By this time, I was prety much done with my HRT experiment. I realized the endo would never prescribe me the Test/AI/hCG protocol, which I read about on this forum and really wanted to go with. He tested blood again and it came back 352 (12/2008). I can't remember if this was pre or post IM but I think it was post IM. Never saw endo again.
Fast forward a year and change later and I still feel like crap and still not on meds. Decide to take another shot at HRT. After advice from forum, I called a couple of compounding pharmacies for those who prescribe test/ai/hcg. They were not very helpful. I did however find a D.O. in my own neighborhood and thought this would be it! Turned out to be a jerk and a quack. Told me about sub-lingual hCG... Asked for bloodwork on specific things and when I saw the sheet when they were drawing blood, I noticed half the stuff wasn't checked off. Gave me shot off test to "see how I feel" after?? I should have refused but I was desperate and still hoping this guy would help me. Needless to say, first & last visit, but I did get those lab results. Test was 511 (4/2010). Kinda gave up on HRT since then.
I'm still off meds and I am better for it but still have low T like symptoms. I'm about to turn 31 yrs old. Last month, I had another physical. After my Dr gave me sheet to go get bloodwork (the bloodwork place is literally the next building) I took a pen and selectively checked off additional things I want tested. I could have easily asked him to do it but he always thinks unless I'm dying or seriously ill, I'm making a big deal out off nothing. I checked off Test, total test, lh, fsh, and psa but he might have checked that off, not sure. He already had the t3 and t4 checked off.I'm kicking myself now for not marking the estrogen box.
PSA 3rd. GEN.--- 0.65
PSA, free----- 0.48
% free PSA--- 73.8
Testosterone, TOT., S.----- 493.9
Testosterone, FREE, SERUM-- 11.47
*side notes- Albumin--- 5.3
Vitamin D-- 30.2
What do these values mean? It's very confusing because the 3 differnent lab places have very different reference ranges, not to mention the ones online. Do I still have low T? Did I ever have low T? I would like to get EVERYTHING tested at the end of this year.
Other labs: I know these are probably not important because only the recent one matters, but here are the other ones. These were a little hard to read, hope I put everything correctly. If it's not listed, then it wasn't on the lab report sheets.
Total Test------- 294
Free androgen Index--- 44.9
*endo's notes in report:"The levels are similar to what you had, low end of normal range but the binding protein is also low so there appears to be a normal level of the active hormone. I think it would be safe to try testosterone empirically. Start testim 1 tube daily and see in 6 weeks, not 3. Rx and instructions enclosed."
Estradiol-------- not tested
Total test----- 352
Free androgen Index--- 51.5
*endo's notes: "The levels are up very little if at all, and there is no evidence that you are on too much. I think it's worth a try to push them up higher with injections. If you agree, fill the attached Rx for the vial and come in with it for a shot every 3 weeks. First dose 1cc, then 2cc each time"
Total T4---- 9.0
Free T4----- 1.6
Free T3----- 4.75
T uptake %--- 32