Guys: UC and low testosterone level?

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seldom_seen
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Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/23/2008 6:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Just wondering whether anyone has had a similar experience to mine.

After battling mild-to-moderate UC for 9 years, I complained to my primary care physician about fatigue and, for lack of a better phrase, a feeling of having lost my mojo. At my urging, he ordered a total testosterone test, and it came back at 262 ng/dl, which while technically within the lab's normal range (241-827 ng/dl), was a bit low for a 30-something, fairly athletic guy. So he put me on Testim 1%, a T gel. After about six months, we retested -- 183 ng/dl, which probably would make my 85-year-old grandfather chuckle. So, he doubled the dose, and while I haven't been retested (will do so in a week or so), I don't feel much different.

Googling around, I see little hard data linking UC and low T (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6146274). I know prednisone can lower T, but I haven't taken that for at least 3 years. I guess after 10 years of UC I tend to blame it for any and all comorbidity, but I have to wonder whether there is a link, or perhaps whether low T can be a risk factor for developing UC.

Anyway, has anyone evaluated testosterone levels within the context of UC? (Didn't see this topic in a forum search.)

Thanks.

seconder
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Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 7/23/2008 7:08 PM (GMT -7)   

I've been waiting on a few lab tests to come back, but I've been planning to start the same thread.  I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis a little over six years ago and have been in a flare for a little over a year. 

I've been complaining to my GP about general fatigue for about a year and, then, about 6-8 months ago it started to get worse and, then, about two months ago it became completely unbearable.  All along and unbeknownst to me, I was bringing to my doctor's attention what were actually symptoms of low testosterone -- fatigue, waistline pudge, low libido, mental fog, aggravation, etc. -- but he claimed they were symptoms of ulcerative colitis.  (They can be similar, but I do feel like he wasn't really paying attention.  That I wouldn't take prednisone or 6mp or Remicade also contributed to his opinion that I was just doing this to myself.)

To make a long story short, when I told him I absolutely had to have surgery or had to sell my home because I couldn't take the stairs anymore, he thought to check my testosterone because a "34-year-old runner shouldn't feel that way."  (No crap , doc. . . .)  I don't know what took him so long.

My doc did a different test than seldom_seen's, but my numbers barely registered and were below those of a 100-yer-old man.  My doctor actually apologized.  I've been on the patch for about two weeks and I feel like a completely different person.  The people around me are amazed at the change.

I haven't found much of a connection between low testosterone and uc but my doctor considers the two problems related.  It is mentioned in passing in an Italian study that suggests all male uc patients be tested for low testosterone.  At any rate, it is up in the air whether the colitis causes low testosterone or whether colitis and low testosterone are a symptom of a general autoimmune problem.

As part of testosterone replacement, my doctor wanted a baseline bone scan, and the bone scan shows osteopenia.  Again, this is not to be expected in a 34-year-old man who exercises regularly.  It is likely to be a symptom of low testosterone, but it could also be a symptom of colitis.  My understanding is that what's causing the bone density problem will reveal itself depending on whether the bone loss reverses itself.

It seems like a lot of bad news, but I'm actually relieved to get to the bottom of the problems I've been having.

Anyone else???


doors12
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 637
   Posted 7/23/2008 8:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Can either of you comment on if you're UC (or any other specific symptoms) have improved since fixing the situation?
 
 
TIA
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 6/2006 at age 26 after sudden E.R. visit
~Pancolitis (Mild to Moderate)
 ~I had Mono in 2000
On Colazal 3x3/day; Folic Acid 1mg; Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc combo
In remission about 2-3 months after E.R. but not back to normal!
 
~Interested in finding a cure/making sense out of U.C. and philosophical and psychological aspects of UC and "Stress" and Personal Development issues with Chronic Illnesses. 


Boy-from-Oz
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 7/23/2008 11:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi,
Since being diagnosed in 2006 my drive has slowly taken a dive to the point now where it's now non existent.  I hadn't actually considered that my UC may have something to do with it.
I've been on Pred for a week and a half and I'm now begining to tapering off, so will have to wait untill that is out of my system, but I'm going to get my Testosterone levels checked too.
Do you know how long it takes for Pred to leave your system?
Boy From OZ
 
UC left side diagnosed 2006
 
Current Meds
Salofalk Enemas 4 gm (daily)
Prednisolone 30 mg
 
Supplements
Metamucil
Probiotic
Omega3 2g (Enteric Coated)
Iron + Vit C
Vit B12 injection (Monthly)
 
 


seconder
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 7/24/2008 4:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Never taken prednisone so I can't comment on when it will wear off, but it certainly would have muddled this diagnosis, so I've happy to have avoided it.

I can't really tell if the uc has improved since starting the testosterone because it was already improving when I switched uc meds about six weeks ago (about a month before the patch). I can say, I'm not totally wiped out any more, and my mood has improved, so having uc is much, much more tolerable than it was previously.

munchkindd
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 348
   Posted 7/24/2008 5:37 AM (GMT -7)   
seldon_seen, I believe there was a thread on this exact subject awhile back. From what I remember males and females have both voiced their concerns about this, so it's not just a guy thing. It seems as though it may be another wonderful side effect of UC that some of us may experience.
*******Donna*******
 
diagnosed with uc 27 years ago.  Enojoyed 20 year remission with just minor blips here and there (approximately 16 of those years without any meds)
 
In a flare for 2 very long years which Asacol didn't help at all.  Finally in remission again since Jan 2008, can't believe it..............
 
currently on Sulfasalazine 2 tabs 3x day. Folic acid, mesalamine enema once a week. Omega 3, Probiotics, multi vitamin, calcium supplement, Biotin 5000mcg, Fibercon.
 


ioscan -fnk
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/24/2008 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
 
Stress, poor sleeping, poor food absorbsion, anemia, all depress testoserone levels. Healthy males who are fatigued and stressed have periods of low testosterone, so a chronic disease over time could easily cause depressed testosterone levels. Athletes who overtrain, also frequently have low testosterone. There are a few things that research has shown help maintain higher levels:
 
1) Stay lean...Not skinny with a fat belly but lean all around.
2) Get enough sleep
3) Eat a lot of protein/ go light on carbohydrate and particularly sugar
4) Train with weights
5) Avoid soy and anything containing it and all variants of it.
6) Have sex as often as possible
 
I know I felt like my T was rock bottom when I had UC bad. Since I've been in remission for about 6 months it feels like it snapped right back and it now feels higher than it's been in years. I have that great feeling of well-being again that you get when your T levels are high.

seconder
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Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 7/25/2008 7:08 AM (GMT -7)   
All good points, ioscan-fnk.

I'd say I comply with your six points fairly well yet my testosterone levels went wonky. What's the cause? So far unknown. Did you have your testosterone levels tested or are you going by feel?

A couple more points, seldom_seen: From what I've read, the patches can be a better fit, so to speak, for raising T levels. (They can also be very irritating to about a third of patients, but it might be worth a try.) Six months may be a long time between blood tests, especially if you don't feel it's working. As I understand it, you can probably tweak the dose month to month. You might also ask for a test of "free" or "bioavailable" testosterone which is said to be more accurate than total testosterone.

mbx5
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 7/25/2008 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   
WOW this really applies to me!!!!

To keep this short - I was found to have a non-cancerous tumor on my pituitary gland...called a Prolactinoma. Basically it messed up my pit gland to the point where it greatly over-produced prolactin, and suppressed my testosterone levels. Prolactin is normally found in higher levels in women...mine was high enough to lactate! nasty...

My neurosurgeon seemed to think I have had this tumor for a very long time....now - is there a relationship between prolactin / testosterone levels, etc and UC - possibly...

I had the tumor removed through endonasal surgery last year...miserable surgery by the way... I feel different.... My testosterone is back to normal and prolactin is as well... My UC hasnt changed...maybe gotten worse actually....

I posted something about this a long time ago - I googled prolactin levels and UC and found some info - but couldnt understand it as it was all in deep medical lingo....
33 yr old male. UC for 14 years. 5mg pred (tapering off), 12 pills Asacol per day, Dicyclomine (for cramps), 0.5 - 1mg Atavan per day (anxiety) when needed, Fish oil pills, Culturelle probiotics. Recent Endonasal brain surgery to remove non-cancerous hormone producing tumor on pituitary gland (And I am still more afraid of my UC!!)  "I poop in the woods because I can"


seldom_seen
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 7/25/2008 5:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all for the replies. I tend to believe that the physiology of UC does not itself interfere greatly with Testosterone production. But I do believe that the goodies that UC often brings with it -- lethargy, depression and anxiety, to name a few -- can suppress T. I certainly have all these, plus I am married and not getting any younger. If I ever felt up to hitting the gym anymore, that would help immensely, no doubt.

And a quick apology for prefixing the thread with "Guys," as I understand that this hormone is not gender-exclusive. Certainly women could also suffer.

I went to the lab yesterday for a retest. I suspect similar results, if my instincts are correct. I have read, as "seconder" wrote, that measuring T is not a cut-and-dried process. "Total T" is sort of a sloppy way to go about it. I suspect that I need to go to a urologist or some other specialist who really knows the mechanics of T -- my PCP is good, but I don't get the impression he knows a ton about treating low T.

As for whether T supplements help -- not for me. However, when I have been in good shape (with UC, I have done two triathlons and practiced Krav Maga), which I suspect naturally raises T, I have felt much better.

Anyway, here is an abstract I found from some society on androgens and men's health:

TESTOSTERONE INTERACTIONS IN THE PATHOPHYSIOLOGY AND TREATMENT OF DEGENERATIVE AND INFLAMMATORY DISEASES
OBJECTIVE: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is more common in women and it is frequently assumed that being female may predispose to the development of this disorder. Alternatively, being male could offer some degree of protection and if so, this might be mediated by testosterone. The aim of this study was to assess whether male patients with IBS have lower levels of testosterone and related gonadotrophins than their unaffected counterparts and if this relates to rectal sensitivity.
METHODS: Fifty secondary care, male outpatients with IBS (aged 19–71 yr) were compared with 25 controls (aged 22–67 yr). Each subject had serum testosterone, free testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, follicle stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone (LH) measured, together with rectal sensitivity to balloon distension. Anxiety and depression were also assessed.
RESULTS: The only difference in the hormone levels between patients and controls that reached statistical significance was the lower value for LH in the IBS patients (p= 0.014). Although patients were more anxious and depressed than the controls (p< 0.001), this could not solely account for the reduced level of LH, as adjusting for these (analysis of variance) still tended to show that LH values were lower in men with rather than without IBS [F(1,70) = 2.74; p= 0.10]. Men with IBS were more sensitive to balloon distension of the rectum, with the distension volumes required for "urgency" (p< 0.001) and "discomfort" (p= 0.001) significantly lower than controls. Paradoxically, the patient's sensory thresholds negatively correlated with levels of testosterone (p< 0.05) and free testosterone (p< 0.002), and positively with levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (p< 0.05). Finally, there was a tendency for IBS symptomatology to be inversely related to testosterone levels (p= 0.15).
CONCLUSIONS: These results support the need for further exploration of the role of male sex hormones in the pathophysiology of IBS.
Dx'd left-sided UC in 1998
Lialda 2.4 g qam
Fish oil 5 g qam
Metamucil 1 tsp BID
Omeprazole 20 mg qam
Alprazolam 0.5 mg BID (for anxiety, not UC)
Calcium-Magnesium-Zinc 1000 mg, 500 mg, 200 IU qpm
Vitamin D 1000 IU qam
Beta-Carotene IU qam
<strike)Prednisone 5-30 mg</strike>
<strike)azathioprine >20 mg QD</strike>
<strike)Cortenema qpm</strike>
<strike)VSL #3</strike>


ioscan -fnk
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 7/25/2008 7:53 PM (GMT -7)   
seconder said...
All good points, ioscan-fnk.

I'd say I comply with your six points fairly well yet my testosterone levels went wonky. What's the cause? So far unknown. Did you have your testosterone levels tested or are you going by feel?

A couple more points, seldom_seen: From what I've read, the patches can be a better fit, so to speak, for raising T levels. (They can also be very irritating to about a third of patients, but it might be worth a try.) Six months may be a long time between blood tests, especially if you don't feel it's working. As I understand it, you can probably tweak the dose month to month. You might also ask for a test of "free" or "bioavailable" testosterone which is said to be more accurate than total testosterone.
Seconder,
I did not have my testosterone checked specifically though it was checked as part of a routine screening by my GP and it was normal (when I felt it was low). I think going by feel is a valid way of judging this. It was feelings of fatigue and loss of mojo that prompted the OP to get his checked and probably just confirm what he already knew to be true. I believe also that compliance to to the points above are for any healthy aging (relative term) male. Certainly I complied with my own recommendations but when you get into anemia from blood loss, stress and fatigue of active disease, these points can't bring yout T back. As the OP said his UC is under better control now so it is now that these things might start helping. Was your disease active when your T dropped or were you in remission?
 
As the OP is only 30+ years old, A concern with prolonged use of the patches would be supression of organic T production in the body. One supplement to try is Tribulus Terrestris. This works to varying degrees particularly when combined with avena sativa. I remember it giving me zits and slight agression when taking it sometimes, but this is good because I know it's working.

seconder
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 7/26/2008 7:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Interesting info., ioscan-fnk.

The fact that many symptoms of low testosterone are similar to many symptoms of ulcerative colitis probably frustrated my diagnosis of low testosterone. Going by feel, my first thought was anemia, but I didn't have anemia. B-vitamin defieciency? Nope. Stress? Not really. I hadn't considered low testosterone, and apparently neither did my doctor.

I went through three rounds of bloodwork (fasting, non fasting etc.) over the course of a month or so and all my blood work came back within the range of normal. My doctor told me I was healthy as a horse and used that opportunity to lecture me about finally taking prednisone. He also suggested depression, but I knew I was not depressed.

I told him that if this was how I had to live with uc, then I had to have surgery and that I would seek it out with or without his help. Then he changed his tune and ordered blood work to consider low testosterone but warned me it was rare. Lo and behold, low testosterone. (And not so rare.) Go figure.

All along, he thought it was uc, so I thought it was uc. My best guess is that my uc was mildly active at that point.

As someone also in his early 30s I realize that supplementing testosterone will likely supress natural production of it. There are ways to counteract that and I will discuss with my doctor. Managing low testosterone seems even more complicated than managing uc. Who'd have thought that was even possible?! At least with uc there are physical and visual cues. Blood in my stool is a fairly reliable indicator of inflammation. With low testosterone it's all abot blood tests.

Mitzo
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 7/26/2008 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
With me, when the UC is active, my libido shuts down. Over the past several years, with more UC trouble than ever, my mojo has gradually reduced to zero. The combination of having the craps together with virtual impotence is a delight, especially with doctors who simply shrug.
21 years of UC which started after quitting smoking. In and out of flares which are usually triggered by antibiotics.

 

  • 3 500mg Pentasa a day
  • Probiotic
  • Psyllium powder.


Britman
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/24/2008 12:05 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm 29 and suspect I have UC or something similar (hopefully nothing more serious). I have colonscopy tomorrow to find out what's causing my symptoms but basically I have had diahrrea along with occasional red blood on my stools, brought on mostly by exercise and after eating certain foods like bananas, spag bol or alcohol. I have also lost a few pounds due to malabsorption no doubt.
 
Anyway the I was brought here after googling "IBS+low testosterone" because I definitely have low testosterone since I have very small testicles and only shave every 3 days (been like that for as long as I can remember and only discovered low T would be causing my problems because I read a lot of health mags). Also have other symptoms associted with low test and as a fit and active young guy I really should'nt be getting these symtoms. I have only just persuaded my doc to get blood test for low T so will get results this week.
 
I do know low T is associated with an increased risk for autoimmune disorders which UC is so my own opinion is that low T (and hormone imbalances in general) must have some cause and effect factor but prob dont necessarily cause UC per say in all cases. However, I am surprised that there seems to be a lack of studies done on this.
 
Someone else in the forum asked anyone to say whether or not their UC symptoms improved after taking testosterone supplementation - I think that would be helpful.
 
I did find one persons experience with Crohn's (similar to UC) to be relieved after taking TRT - link:
 
 
Goodluck to all in fighting against UC and/or los T :-)

Dae2night
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/31/2010 1:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone. I am a person who is not suffering from UC, i am however suffering from low growth hormone, it gives each and every single symptom you have all described, including low testosteron. If you can ask you doctors if they can test you for low growth hormone. I began when i was 28, very young, a little fat, but always been an athlete, then my libido decreased, i had erectyle problems and had colitis, thining dry flaky skin. Unfortunately because my family's history with cancer, i can't not take growth hormone, so i am bound to suffer....as well as my young wife. But you all should ask your doctor.

oconnow
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/31/2010 8:04 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had the same issue with low libido and fatigue with UC. I have been taking DHEA once per day in 5mg doses. This helps with the low libido and fatigue. My sex drive immediately came back. People with UC/Crohns have been shown to have really low levels of DHEA.

UC in UT
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 8/1/2010 5:43 PM (GMT -7)   
My T-Count was relatively low but I also experienced the fatigue, lack of desire, ambition and I had a lot of anxiety.
Although the Adrenal glands produce only a small portion of the testosterone in the human body (in men almost all is produced in the testes and women in the ovaries).
However, "temporary adrenal dysfunction" can cause low T-Counts. This is due to the domino effect more than anything - meaning that if the adrenal glands are not functioning correctly it can lead to stress, fatigue, blah...which, in turn, can reduce T-production.

If you don't see improvement with the testosterone therapy you may ask for an ACTH test. This is a test to stimulate the adrenal gland and then measure how it is functioning.

I had a problem in my adrenal glands and through this test they were able to address, and fix, the issue. The sad (and kind of ironic) part of the therapy is that it is small doses of Prednisone! They started me at 10MG a day for two weeks and did a really, really slow taper (from 10MG to zero in like 8 weeks). Your adrenal glands make between 5-7 MG of cortisol (basically pred) per day.

I have no idea if this will help but if you do not see improvement it is probably worth a shot.
"I come from the suburbs. You know the suburbs? It's where they tear out all the trees and name the streets after them." David Lee Roth

Male, Age 40
Diagnosed with Pancolitis, August 2005
Diagnosis changed to Pancolitis not including Sigmoid colon, rectum Jan. 2006
Past drugs: Azathioprine, Asacol, Remicade, Humira, Cimzia, Methotrexate, Prednisone. All had side effects or stopped working.

Currently suffer from drug induced Lupus, Raynaud's, Cryoglbulinemia and mild arthritis - all attributed to use of Remicade.

April 2010: underwent total colectomy with ileorectal anastomosis with temporary loop ileostomy. Awaiting take down.
Current meds: Rowasa enemas, 10mg prednisone/day
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