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Are You a Candidate for Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

Due to testosterone supplementation, large numbers of men with testosterone deficiency have reported increased mood, sexual drive, and energy. Why not take testosterone supplements if you have a low testosterone level?

Not so fast, my friend. On its own, a low testosterone level does not necessitate medical intervention. Testosterone replacement therapy may cause adverse effects, and the benefits and risks of using testosterone replacement therapy over the long term are currently unknown. To consider testosterone replacement therapy, only men who exhibit symptoms consistent with low testosterone and have blood tests that confirm that low testosterone is the source of their symptoms should do so. The only way to determine if testosterone therapy is right for you is to speak with your doctor about it.

 

Testosterone Deficiency: Subtle Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of low testosterone can be pretty obvious at times, but they can also be quite subtle at other times. Male testosterone levels naturally decline as men reach their golden years. However, certain circumstances can result in an abnormally low level of a substance being detected. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of low testosterone:

  • Low sense of well-being
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Body and facial hair loss
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Fatigue and poor energy level
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive (libido)

A doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy if a man's testosterone levels are abnormally low. There is no recommended treatment for the millions of men who have low testosterone levels but no symptoms. Furthermore, it has not been approved to treat men with low testosterone levels due to their age.

Testosterone Supplements in Various Forms

There are several types of testosterone replacement therapy. It is possible to increase testosterone levels by doing any of the following:

  • Implants and Injections: It can be injected directly into muscles or implanted as pellets in soft tissues to increase effectiveness. Your body gradually absorbs the testosterone and distributes it throughout your body.
  • Mouth patch: In contrast to other dental products, Striant is a tablet applied to the upper gums above the incisor, which is the tooth directly in front of the two front teeth on either side. By using it twice daily, it can continuously release testosterone into the bloodstream through the oral tissues.
  • Gels: AndroGel and Testim are testosterone gel packets that are transparent. After applying the gel once daily for some time, testosterone is absorbed directly through the skin. A testosterone pump is available that delivers the prescribed dose of AndroGel, Axiron, and Fortesta, among other options. Natesto is a gel that is applied to the inside of the nose to treat nasal congestion.
  • Skin patch (transdermal): Androderm is worn on the upper arm or chest to treat various conditions. It is recommended that you apply it once a day.

Why isn't there a straightforward testosterone supplement available? Oral testosterone is an available medication. Some experts, on the other hand, believe that taking oral testosterone can cause liver damage. In addition to oral disintegrating tablets and injectable testosterone, other methods, such as skin patches, gels, and injections, bypass the liver and deliver testosterone directly into the bloodstream.

Benefits of Testosterone Therapy

The following are some of the possible side effects of testosterone therapy. Because each man is unique, it is impossible to predict what will happen. Numerous men have reported an increase in their energy level, sexual desire, and the quality of their erections due to taking this supplement. The hormone testosterone has increased insulin sensitivity, muscle mass, and bone density in some men.

Men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy frequently report an improvement in their mood. The degree to which these effects are imperceptible or provide a noticeable boost is highly variable from person to person.

A specialist in testosterone deficiency at the University of California-San Diego, Karen Herbst, MD, Ph.D., is an endocrinologist who works in the field. In her estimation, approximately one in every ten men is "ecstatic" with their testosterone therapy response, while a similar number "doesn't notice much." Most men respond favorably to testosterone replacement therapy, though results vary depending on the individual patient's circumstances.

 

Testosterone Therapy Risks

The most frequently reported side effects of testosterone replacement therapy are irritation, itching, or rash at the injection site.

On the other hand, there is some evidence that testosterone use may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Due to a scarcity of large-scale clinical trials, Experts warn that long-term testosterone therapy has unknown benefits and risks.

Experts say testosterone therapy may worsen the following conditions:

 

  • Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH): In response to testosterone stimulation, the prostate grows naturally. As men get older, their prostates tend to enlarge, putting pressure on the tube that transports urine (urethra). This makes urinating much more challenging to accomplish. Male sexual dysfunction (BPH) can be exacerbated by testosterone therapy.
  • Prostate cancer: It has been shown that testosterone can encourage the growth of prostate cancer. The majority of experts advise pre-screening for prostate cancer before starting TRT. The American Cancer Society advises men with prostate cancer or elevated PSA to avoid testosterone therapy.
  • Sleep apnea: Testosterone replacement therapy may aggravate this condition. While men may struggle to recognize this on their own, their sleeping partners frequently do. A sleep study (polysomnography) may be required to make the diagnosis.
  • Blood clots: FDA requires testosterone replacement products to warn of vein blood clotting risks. These are potentially fatal blood clots in the lungs. The risk of blood clots from polycythemia, an abnormal increase in red blood cells from testosterone therapy, was previously warned. Men who do not have polycythemia are now included in the warning, which was previously exclusionary.
  • Congestive heart failure: Men with severe congestive heart failure should avoid testosterone replacement therapy.

Prolonged use of testosterone therapy will require large-scale clinical trials.

 In the same way, you would with any medication, you and your doctor must decide whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

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