What is Testosterone replacement therapy?
Testosterone is the primary male hormone produced in the testicles, which is responsible for male’s sexual characteristics such as muscle strength and mass, the appearance of facial and body hair, deep voice, bone density, fat distribution, sperm distribution, sex drive, and red blood cell production. During adolescence, the level of testosterone is at its peak.
However, as a man ages, the level of testosterone gradually declines. Age is just one of the many factors affecting the level of testosterone. Some medical conditions cause a dramatic decline in testosterone and it is important to determine whether the decline in testosterone level is caused by aging or an underlying medical condition.
One of the medical conditions causing a dramatic decline in testosterone is hypogonadism. Such a condition hampers the body’s ability to naturally produce the required level of testosterone. In such instances, testosterone replacement therapy is necessary. What is testosterone replacement therapy? It is the practice of introducing testosterone in the body to compensate for the low level of testosterone and address the underlying conditions.
Why should you take TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy is primarily used to treat hypogonadism, a condition wherein the body has a severely low level of testosterone. it is caused by the testes' inability to produce a normal level of testosterone, which could be associated with problems in the testes or problems in the brain's hypothalamus or pituitary gland. Clinical manifestations are excessive growth of the breast and lack of body hair.
Testosterone replacement therapy aims to increase the concentration of blood testosterone to a normal level. Many men undergo testosterone replacement therapy to improve their male sex characteristics and restore their sex drive. From a medical standpoint, men who were diagnosed with hypogonadism receive testosterone replacement therapy throughout their lifetime.
How to take a TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy is done in different ways. It can be introduced to the body through oral medications, transdermal patches, topical creams, intramuscular injections, and rubbing testosterone on the gums twice a day. Which one should you choose? It depends on your medical needs and lifestyle. Some methods like oral medication have to be done every single day while some can be done on a monthly basis.
However, people should be reminded that testosterone replacement therapy is not for everyone. Some people are restricted from getting too much testosterone, especially if you are:
- Men older than 40 years old – It is just normal for testosterone levels to decline with age as men go through a process called andropause (the equivalent of menopause in women). Testosterone replacement therapy is not effective in reversing andropause.
- Men with prostate or breast cancer – People with such types of cancer cannot undergo testosterone replacement therapy as such can stimulate the growth of other cancers.
- Men suffering from chronic illness – For hypogonadism that is caused by an existing illness or injury, testosterone replacement therapy might be less beneficial. The underlying medical condition should be addressed first and the level of testosterone will normalize even without undergoing testosterone replacement therapy.
- Athletes – Some athletes take testosterone, but competitive athletes have to keep in mind that too much level of testosterone may lead to disqualification. So, if you are a professional athlete, you have to think twice before undergoing testosterone replacement therapy.
What might happen if you don't undergo a testosterone replacement therapy?
If your condition warrants more testosterone to be added to your body, then you have to submit yourself to testosterone replacement therapy, or else, you will have to endure the health complications that come with a low level of testosterone. One of the primary health repercussions of low testosterone level is a dramatic decline in men’s sexual functions. It includes:
- Inability to get and keep an erection.
- The erection is not as stronger as before.
- Your sexual libido will dramatically decline causing less frequent sexual intercourse.
- You will gain more weight.
- You will have less energy than you used too.
- Your muscle mass reduces and your fat percentage increases.
- You will have trouble concentrating.
- Your bones become weak which makes you prone to osteoporosis and bone-related injuries.
Testosterone replacement therapy is a big help for men who medically need to improve their level of testosterone. However, although it is packed with therapeutic benefits, it does possess dangers too. Before you even consider having a testosterone replacement therapy, you have to weigh the pros and cons, and most importantly, you have to consult your doctor.
Keep in mind that just because your testosterone level is low does not necessarily mean you will need to undergo testosterone replacement therapy. The root cause of low T level should be established first and only then will appropriate treatment can be applied. Consulting your doctor is the only way to find out if testosterone replacement therapy is right for you.
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