Written by pharmacy student Brandon J. Dockery, Pharm. D. candidate.
Men face a variety of unique health issues ranging from low testosterone to erectile dysfunction and more. These conditions may be difficult or even embarrassing to talk about for many, and men often do not know how to start the conversation. Fortunately, this is where pharmacists excel. Our pharmacists specialize in men's health and can provide valuable information about these issues and more!
Pharmacists are the most accessible members of the healthcare workforce and an often overlooked resource for men's health needs. Consulting with a pharmacist is a great way to receive safe and personalized recommendations for:
- Custom medications for specific conditions;
- Alternative medication options for therapies that are causing side effects;
- Other medication options for prescriptions that are ineffective or no longer effective;
- Options to help with keeping up with medications;
- Vitamin and supplements to support your body's natural systems;
- Lifestyle changes to improve overall health and wellness.
What Issues Can Pharmacists Help to Address?
It is estimated that in the United States, low testosterone affects 4 to 5 million men, and at least 60% of men over the age of 65 have below-normal testosterone levels. Low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism, is a condition where the male body does not produce enough of the hormone testosterone. While we are familiar with the role testosterone plays in male development during puberty, it also plays a role later in life as well in metabolism, vasculature, and brain function. Low testosterone has the potential to significantly reduce your quality of life, significantly reduce your libido, and has even led to divorce for thousands of men. Many testosterone replacement products are on the market. However, some men find these to be ineffective or only achieve a partial response. And because every individual has specific needs, working with a compounding pharmacy to create customized testosterone therapies is a great way to expand your options for optimal results.
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to develop and maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse or activity. It is estimated that about 52% of men experience erectile dysfunction, with 70% of those affected being over the age of 70. While this can be a sensitive and difficult topic to discuss, it is important to address it as erectile dysfunction can cause a marked decrease in quality of life for both you and your partner.
Commercially available products in both brand and generic form are most are taken orally, and some men do not respond well–if at all. When a person has difficulty swallowing the tablets/capsules or a less than desirable response, they may feel like they don't have many options.
Pharmacists and compounding pharmacies assist men with these issues by providing alternative dosage forms such as lozenges and troches (medications to dissolve in the mouth). A pharmacist can also recommend additional treatment methods and supplements to support a therapy and refer you to a specialist when needed.
Hair loss is one of the most prevalent cosmetic issues in men. It is thought to be caused by a number of factors, including genetics and the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
There are several options available for treatment when it comes to hair loss reversal, some being reasonable, and some are a hefty expense. Traditional hair transplants can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000, and most insurance plans do not cover these procedures. One of the most commonly used products is a Minoxidil foam which is roughly $20 per ounce. Minoxidil applied to the scalp is used to stimulate hair growth in adult men (and women) but only for a certain type of baldness. Compounding pharmacists can formulate custom hair foams that combine other ingredients like finasteride, latanoprost, and minoxidil which can help to attack the root cause of hair loss through several different mechanisms.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — also called prostate gland enlargement — is the condition that most commonly affects males over the age of 50, manifesting difficulty urinating, frequent urination both during the day and at night, and an inability to completely empty your bladder. A pharmacist can help identify if any of these symptoms should be discussed with a specialist or primary care physician and help inform men about lifestyle changes or personal habits that might help to ease their symptoms.
When medication is needed, compounded therapies for BPH may be prescribed to help decrease the size of the prostate.
If you are a man struggling with a health problem, have tried commercial products without success, or don’t want to go through the hassle of searching for a qualified healthcare provider on your own, talk with a pharmacist. We can provide more information on how compounded medications might help to support common or complex conditions.
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Medical Disclaimer This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such information or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Innovation Compounding, Inc. nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any medication, nutritional supplement, diet, or health regimen.
- Carson C. Boston University Medical Campus - Sexual Medicine. Sexual Medicine RSS. https://www.bumc.bu.edu/sexualmedicine/publications/prevalence-diagnosis-and-treatment-of-hypogonadism-in-primary-care-practice/#:~:text=Hypogonadism%20affects%20an%20estimated%204,men%20aged%2030%20to%2035. Accessed June 6, 2021.
- Kumar P, Kumar N, Thakur DS, Patidar A. Male hypogonadism: Symptoms and treatment. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research. 2010;1(3):297. doi:10.4103/0110-5558.72420
- Erectile Dysfunction. https://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/endocrinology/erectile-dysfunction/. Accessed June 7, 2021.
- Hair Transplant Cost. Hair Restoration Institute of Georgia. https://www.georgiahairinstitute.com/hair-transplant-cost. Accessed June 8, 2021.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/symptoms-causes/syc-20370087. Published April 13, 2021. Accessed June 9, 2021.