As we age, we can expect to see a gradual decline in testosterone levels.
While this causes problems for both men and women, men are more likely to be affected by these changes since they naturally have almost twenty-times more testosterone than women.
Somewhere between 4 and 5 million men across the United States report that they suffer from the effects of low testosterone.
If you are suffering from low testosterone, then there is a way to reboot your levels by taking part in a simple Testosterone Replacement Therapy or TRT. Sometimes Testosterone Replacement Therapy is recommended by a doctor while, in other cases, people simply opt to take the therapy because they feel like their levels are low.
The most common ways to replace testosterone are:
-Supplements that boost testosterone (find out more about those supplements here)
-Steroids and prohormones
-Testosterone Replacement Therapy
If you feel like you might benefit from boosting your testosterone levels, then this article is for you. We’ll talk about what types of therapy are available, the pros and cons of working to boost your testosterone, and the way that therapy impacts men.
Keep reading to have all your questions answered and discover if testosterone replacement therapy is right for you!
What Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Include?
Men who have normal levels of testosterone have been 300 to 1000ng/dL. While this number might sound big, the exact range varies depending on the source you use. When a man’s level falls below these normal numbers, he has something called hypogonadism.
Some men choose to combat low testosterone levels by taking supplements to naturally boost production, while others opt for replacement therapy that involves the use of synthetic testosterone. While research is still needed to really understand the safety of replacement therapy, medical providers and scientists usually consider the treatment to be worth any risks.
With many men struggling with low levels of testosterone, the replacement industry has seen a rise in success with men spending over $1.6 billion per year in the United States alone.
Testosterone replacement is usually done through injections, tablets and patches that are taken orally, or topical gels and creams. While testosterone is an anabolic steroid, those who have replacement therapy are not using the same high doses that are employed by bodybuilders or athletes looking to enhance their body or abilities. Testosterone replacement therapy is done under the supervision of someone within the medical industry and is used to raise levels so that they will be normal.
What are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
As men age, they can expect to see their testosterone levels naturally drop by 0.4 -2.6% every year. While a decline in testosterone is normal with time, men whose testosterone levels drop below 300ng/dL may need to see a medical professional for replacement therapies.
Low testosterone is a common problem that affects 20% of all men over the age of 60, and 30% of those over 70.
While testosterone levels can only be determined through blood tests, men who have low levels often report the following symptoms:
-Sexual issues including low libido, erectile dysfunction, and low sperm count
-Loss of body/facial hair
-Depression and irritability
-Poor muscle quality
-Increase in weight and body fat
What are the Options in Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
There are several different types of testosterone replacement therapy that cater to the individual needs of each man. Testosterone therapy is not cheap and, according to Men’s Health, can cost individuals as much as $10,000 each year; however, men often consider the cost worth the benefits.
Listed below are the different types of testosterone replacement therapies:
These topical options include gels, patches, and creams. This is a favourite replacement therapy for men who do not like needles or invasive procedures. Generally, these therapies can also be used at home, so men can avoid setting up appointments with doctors and will save time on travel.
Despite the benefits of topical solutions, there are also some draw-backs; generally speaking, testosterone doesn’t absorb through the skin as easily as an injection, so it is not as effective.
Also, topical solutions can become a nuisance since they will need to be applied daily and can’t be used on the skin in areas where they will come in contact with other people. Women and children are especially at risk for exposure to topical solutions, so men will need to be vigilant about keeping it out of their reach and not letting them touch skin where the gels or patches have been used.
Testosterone injections are generally given once every 1-3 weeks, providing less upkeep and lower maintenance. Men can choose to go to the doctor for their injection, then proceed with life as usual until it is time for their next appointment.
Since there is no guessing game with injections, doctors will know exactly how much is being absorbed in the body, making it possible to adjust the dose as necessary. While injections are certainly the easiest way to boost testosterone, research has found that they are not as safe as topical methods with injections being associated with heart problems, hospital stays, and death.
Injections are also less pleasant for men who might be afraid of needles and can cause injection-site irritation.
Oral treatment is not currently offered in the United States since it comes with more advanced risks and can cause liver problems. Generally, men who are taking oral treatment have a patch placed inside their mouths; a process that comes with risks such as oral redness, swelling, and pain.
Often, oral patches can come loose while a man is eating and this often causes severe discomfort. Natural testosterone boosters in form of pills are a good alternative. Read my full review of Testo Max natural testosterone booster pills here
Why Take Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Many men report that their lives are significantly improved after taking testosterone replacement therapy and say that they experience the following benefits:
-A boost in body/muscle mass
-Better mood/lower depression
-Improved sexual performance
Researchers often report that testosterone therapy can help to cure erectile dysfunction, improve bladder function, and limit the physical effects of aging. Men who have experienced depression and mood swings can see marked improvement after therapy.
What are the Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
As with most medical procedures, testosterone replacement comes with some risks including the following:
-Skin conditions such as acne
-Breathing problems like sleep apnea
-Growth of the prostate
Generally, researchers say that men who are experience late-onset with low testosterone do not need to worry about enlarged prostates after TRT; however, some studies do find that there is a link between the therapy and prostate cancer. Replacement therapy also has the potential to make current issues with sleep apnea worse.
While some of these risks sound scary, it’s important to keep in mind that doctors usually consider the benefits to be worth the potential side-effects.
Do Men Think Replacement Therapy Was Worthwhile?
Most men who take Testosterone Replacement Therapy consider it worthwhile, although others were discouraged with their low results. Some reviews report men saying that they could notice a marked difference in their levels of strength and muscle mass within the first six months of treatment. Other reviewers caution that men should not go in with high expectations because the results are not always obvious.
One man claims that testosterone replacement therapy completed reversed the loss of strength and energy he was experiencing. Those who experience side effects such as testicular shrinkage still report that the treatment helped them sleep better, have more energy, and experience higher motivation.
As a general rule, men are pleased with the results of testosterone replacement therapy. A study including men over 69-years-old revealed that all the participants felt better after they went through the replacement therapy.
If you feel that your symptoms may indicate low testosterone levels, it’s important to talk to a medical professional. A doctor can provide blood tests that reveal your levels and indicate if you need to take action. If you are truly suffering from low testosterone, you can opt to pursue natural replacement techniques, or go for medical Testosterone Replacement Therapy.
It’s important to discuss any concerns you may have about different therapies and how they may affect your current medical conditions. Carefully weigh the benefits of therapy and decide if it they will be worth the possible risks.
Testosterone replacement therapy is a wonderful option for those suffering with low levels of testosterone and subsequent symptoms. Talk to your doctor about a replacement plan that is right for you!