David said: “During the pandemic gyms closed. I was an avid gym goer just purely for my own mental health and obviously there were less opportunities; I’m not particularly motivated to exercise at home.
“As time went by, I slowly noticed that I started to develop night sweats and I was having to change my T-shirt about three or four times a night. Sweating isn’t something that I’ve ever particularly suffered from, but in isolation, I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought, as it was getting into the warmer weather, that’s probably what it was or probably I was getting old and that was the reason.”
This wouldn’t be the first of David’s unusual symptoms. He explained: “As more time went by, I started to get a hairy chest. I started to get a hairy back and a hairy chest, and Kelly [my wife] would say, ‘Oh God your back is really hairy’.
“I started putting on weight and getting really lethargic and wanting to fall asleep all the time. I was very distant and struggling to concentrate on things.I actually thought I’d just become lazy because of the pandemic. That was literally it. I thought, well, the night sweats are because of the heat. I can’t explain the excess hair growth; maybe I’m just getting old.”
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While David became used to the symptoms, the first real breakthrough came after the end of the third lockdown in early 2021.
David said: “My local gym opened up and on the first week of opening they had a private company visit to offer to take bloods for anyone who might be interested. My wife said I should do that, get a full gamut of bloods done.
“So I did that. And then when the results came back, the company rang me and said my testosterone was low for somebody my age. They asked me to explain again the brief conversation I had with them at the time. And he [the nurse] said, ‘This explains a lot of your symptoms. It’s because you’ve got low testosterone. You need to obviously speak to someone else because although we’re nurses, we can only interpret results.’”
However, this wasn’t as easy as it sounded: “Doing a Google search, obviously there was nothing certainly in the north east of England and of course, because of the challenges of Covid in regards to the healthcare system, to book an appointment with a GP. It was difficult to get someone to speak to.”
In the end David came across Ted’s Health, an organisation which specialises in the treatment of testosterone deficiency, “through a colleague that I used to work with who got a job with them and subsequently introduced them to me”.
David added: “My situation that came up in the conversation seemed to fit perfectly with what they were trying to pursue. I had some bloods taken and then they formally said it was [testosterone deficiency] just at the end of October.
“They said these results would get a consultation with one of our doctors and suggested treatments that none of which I had ever heard of might be recommended. So, that’s in process.”
Looking back, one symptom David points out as being a “huge indicator” was his loss of libido, his sexual drive at the beginning of the lockdowns. However, this wasn’t noticed at the time as his wife had just had major surgery.
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On testosterone deficiency Ted’s Health says it is a “silent epidemic” among men.
The main symptoms of the deficiency are:
• Erectile dysfunction
• Low sex drive
• Brain fog
• Increased body fat
The organisation added: “Combined evidence now lists testosterone deficiency as a marker for early death in men.”
Senior Medical Advisor on their programme Professor Geoffrey Hackett commented: “Testosterone deficiency can be devastating in men’s personal and professional lives, whilst increasing their risk of premature death, yet thousands of men aren’t getting the support they need.
“I have dedicated my career to championing men’s health and am therefore delighted to be empowering more men than ever before with access to potentially life-changing treatment that they can trust with Ted’s Health.”
Professor Hackett added: “I encourage all men who are experiencing symptoms to visit Ted’s Health to get checked out.”
Testosterone deficiency is sometimes regarded as the ‘male menopause’.
However, the NHS says: “This label is misleading because it suggests the symptoms are the result of a sudden drop in testosterone in middle age, similar to what occurs in the female menopause.
“This is not true.”