Hormone Levels (as of October 2013):
Testosterone (T; Total T): 36 ng/dL (Total Joke!)
Estradiol (E2): 192 pg/mL (Ugh! Don’t even get me started on this one!)
FSH: 5.3 mIU/mL (I’m fertile, yay!…Well, sort of.)
So as you can see, low T levels and high E2 levels are normal for someone who has 17b-HSD [type 3] (17 beta-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Deficiency [Type 3]). I wouldn’t be surprised if my LH levels were high (but actually doesn’t need to be) and if my Androstenedione levels were also high (again, doesn’t actually need to be – especially since I’m experiencing the other signs of 17b-HSD). I’m considering getting my LH and Androstenedione levels checked out during my next blood draw (as well as other important things for TRT like red blood cell count). If my A:T ratio is high (that is, if I have high Andro levels and low T levels), then I definitely have 17b-HSD. But then again, I probably don’t need to do this as all the signs point toward 17b-HSD. But even with that in mind, I do plan on getting genetic testing a bit later in the future to confirm this and to see what type of mutation I have on that gene (out of mere curiosity). Its also possible that I could have low LH levels because it turns out that excess E production in males shuts down LH production which in return shuts down T production (and so you end up with T levels normal for women and castrated males).
As for the FSH levels: these are typically high in 17b-HSD (as well as in 5-ARD [5-alpha Reductase Deficiency] – which is basically 17b-HSD’s sibling since they’re so similar to each other), mostly because of undescended testes. However, they can be normal (and even low), as in my case. This seems to mostly come from people with descended testes (as in my case). Even with normal FSH levels, its very likely that my fertility is compromosied because of low T levels and high E levels. It also seems like its on the lower side of the normal range, and combined with all these other numbers, its pretty clear fertility is compromised.
One more thing about T and E levels in 17b-HSD: T levels don’t need to be low and E levels don’t need to be high. They can actually be normal (for both T and E) or low (in the case of E), while T levels can be high (less common but possible). All this depends on your genetics. All this is why genetic testing is far more reliable than endocrine testing.
Voice: My voice is kinda low (but not deep yet) – its about the equivalent of a Transsexual male 2 months on T. I sound like a teenage boy who’s just starting puberty (because that’s pretty much where I still am right now, lol). Its been this way since my voice first cracked on New Year’s Day 2002 (I was 11 and a few months away from turning 12).
Facial/body hair: I actually have hair in my upper lip, chin, sides, chest, and abdomen (I already have hair in my legs and arms). However, the hairs are so light and thin (or in other words, scanty) that you can only see them with a magnifying glass (that is, if you have bad eyesight) and in a well-lit room – or outside during the day, if the weather permits (I can actually see my hairs with just a mirror).
Body build: I currently weigh anywhere from 88-91ibs. As you can see, I’m pretty underweight for a 5’4″, 23 year old man, who should be weighing anywhere from 108-140ibs. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I was a teen. I didn’t know why back then but now I do – it turns out low T makes weight management difficult. Additionally, my chest size is 31-31 1/2 inches, bicep size is 8 inches, neck size is 12 1/2-13 1/2 inches, and I have body fat percentage of anywhere from 11-14% (my six pack almost shows!) and a body mass index of 14-16 inches. All of this makes me look and feel like a kid (or even wrose, a girl), and I’m not very happy about it. I’m fit, but my muscles aren’t huge yet (I want to achieve that ripped look).
Physical performance: Yeah, that has gone down drastically. My recovery is a total joke (I take a very long time to recover) and my stamina has declined. My muscles are still pretty fatigued from my previous workout (which was a very long time ago). I have had to really cut down on working out/exercising because of that (plus, I don’t really have the energy to do that stuff anyways). I really miss working out. I really can’t wait to get over this stupid low T and go back to doing that. Before my regular workouts were interrupted, I could do 50-100 pushups, 36-40 pullups and chinups, 45-75 second planks, and 50-100 squats – all in 1 cycle, as well as and 8-15 sec sprints in a few minutes (I’m following the Primal Blueprint Fitness regime). I could also lift up to 50 ibs (I do compounded workouts).
Energy: Don’t even get me started on this one. My energy levels are a joke. I’m constantly fatigued. I can barely get through a whole day. I even have had to reduce the hours I work, and take more days off as a result, since I don’t have much energy to do stuff. Its affecting other parts of my daily life too – I probably don’t need to say anymore, as I’ve pretty much already said it all. Basically, survival is my only goal. Everything else is a chore. I just wish I didn’t have to feel this way. But you know who I really feel bad for? The people around me. I feel like I’m neglecting them.
Mood: I have a case of “Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Syndrome”. My moods fluctuate pretty often. I get irritable pretty easily. I have no patience for people who get on my nerves. I feel like like a walking zombie (which is a common statement made by men with low T). Additonally, I don’t seem to be really “grasping” life – I feel like like its just going by…I literally just “exist”, I’m not really “living” life (this is also a common statement made by men with low T). Additonally, my anxiety levels seem to have gone up (which has always been this way), but there’s nothing that’s really incapacitating (in other words, I don’t have an anxiety disorder). Apparently, this is common with men who have not just low T but also high E – there’s evidence that high E levels cause anxiety in men.
Cognition: I feel like low T is affecting my cognition quite a bit, especially my concentration and verbal performance (which has always been a weak spot for me because I’m a visual-spatial thinker/learner). I actually seem to have this thing called “anomic aphasia” (or “word selection anomia”, or “dysnomia”), which is apparently a side effect of low T (but particularly very low T levels, such as mine). From what I’ve read, I should see improvement on that in about 2-3 months after starting T, and that includes my overall cognitive dysfunction. My performance at work has taken a huge hit – I can barely concentrate on my work and it takes a long time to get me into the “flow” of things. All this stuff isn’t good, as my career is intellectually demanding – so I gotta have a sharp mind and low T isn’t giving me that. Additionally, my memory is lagging a bit as well. Overall, this stuff is a huge pain in the ass.
Libido/Potency: My libido is inconsistent (or in other words, its a mess). I only think about sex occassionally (its not as frequent as it should be), and I have pretty long refractory periods – during these times, I have a hard time getting an erection (which I heard is common during these periods…more on that here). My morning/nocturnal erections are infrequent as well. Same goes for spontaneous erections. Not only that but, they don’t seem as firm as they should be. In addition, my semen volume is very low and at times I have a sort of watery semen – at least at times (these two things are very common with 17b-HSD and 5-ARD – and of course, Low T).
Appetite: I don’t think my appetite is as big as it should be. This is probably because of my lack of energy, which also means that I’m not moving around very often. All this translates into reduced need for caloric energy, resulting in a lowered appetite. I’ve done research on this, and I’ve also seen it in myself – whenever I more around more, I get more hungry and so forth. Low T seems to be messing up my metabolism (which isn’t surprising). The good news is that I will get higher energy levels, and as a result, a bigger appetite when I go on HRT.
Other: Some other stuff I think I should mention is that my bone structure is that of a male – which means that I have wide shoulders and narrow hips, my fat distribution is that of a male (I have no fat around my hips, buttocks, and tights), and I get hot flushes (common with very low T and high E levels) – which seem to be more noticeable in warmer weather. Not only that, but I also have a severe case of Gynecomastia (which is typical for people with 17b-HSD to have). Additonally, I seem to have a bit of imnsonia, which I’ve been dealing with for a long time.
As you can see, low T is making me pretty miserable. This is not a great way to live life and I definitely do not want to live like this anymore – I’m so freaking tired of it. I shouldn’t have to go through this, especially since I’m in my 20s. I just hope I’m on T soon (and I’ll be taking an Aromatase Inhibitor as well, so I hope to be on that soon too). I’m going to got visit the Endocrinologist for the very first time (I got a new insurance provider) on Tuesday (5/13) and hopefully I walk out of that endo’s office with a prescription in my hand by the end of the visit on that morning. I just want to get this over with so I can go back to living my life. Being sick sucks and you’re just not really alive if you’re low T. I want this out of my life now!