Testosterone therapy is one of the many options for men with low T levels. Many men who undergo the treatment report experiencing increased energy, improved sex drive, and even better mood after undergoing this treatment. However, the treatment isn’t without its risks. Before you begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it’s important that you understand the regimen, its intended use, and the possible side effects. You should also discuss with your doctor to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for this type of regimen.
What Is Low T Therapy?
Testosterone replacement is designed to restore a low T level to a normal level and can have many benefits for the individual undergoing treatment. Low T treatment can reverse many of the side effects of low testosterone levels in men and serves to:
- Increase energy levels
- Increase sex drive
- Increase muscle mass
- Support hair regrowth
- Improve concentration
- Correct erectile dysfunction
Some studies have even revealed that restoring testosterone levels can have an effect on their longevity, as individuals with normal T levels have been found to live longer than those with low levels. The regimen may also have some impact on such diseases as adult osteoporosis and diabetes.
Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement is available in a variety of forms. Each treatment can improve testosterone levels, so it’s helpful to discuss which one is right for you with your doctor.
- Transdermal: This form of treatment is delivered via a skin patch that is placed on the arm or upper body. The patch is typically applied or changed once a day.
- Gel: A topical method, testosterone gel is applied to the skin once a day to allow the hormones to absorb into the bloodstream through the skin.
- Oral patch: A tablet or oral patch is also available for hormone replacement. This regimen is typically applied to the gums above the incisor and continuously releases the hormone into the bloodstream via the oral tissues.
- Injections: The hormone can also be injected directly into the body through the muscles. With this method, the body slowly absorbs the hormone into the bloodstream following the injection.
- Implants: Implants are delivered as a pellet that is placed into the soft tissue and slowly releases the hormone into the bloodstream.
This hormone is available in oral forms; however, it is not typically recommended by doctors, as many medical professionals believe it can have a negative effect on the liver. Using one of the alternatives – patches, gels, or even injections – allows the hormone to bypass the liver, making its way into the bloodstream directly.
Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Like most hormone regimens, this treatment is associated with certain side effects. For many, these symptoms are minimal and include rash, irritation, or itching at the application site.
Research does indicate, however, that individuals may be at an elevated risk of certain health conditions with testosterone use. These risks include and increased chance of heart attack and/or stroke. Likewise, some health conditions may be worsened with prolonged treatment, including:
- Benign prostatic hypertrophy
- Prostate cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Blood clots
- Congestive heart failure
Further research needs to be done to provide more definitive information regarding the long-term risks and benefits of this form of treatment. At this point, determining whether the benefits outweigh the risks is up to you and your doctor.
Testosterone is a male and female hormone that plays an important role within the body. Low levels of the hormone can cause a number of symptoms, particularly for males. In either case, hormone replacement can restore levels and improve your quality of life, but it’s not without its risks. Before accepting a prescription for any form of hormone replacement, you should discuss your options and expected outcomes in detail with your doctor. Your physician can also help you determine if you are an ideal candidate for this form of treatment.