Testosterone levels drop as men age, particularly after the age of 40. Also, some men have naturally low testosterone levels.
Testosterone serves important functions, contributing to sex drive and muscle development, so why not replace it? This may seem straightforward, but there are serious ramifications to consider related to testosterone replacement therapy.
While we tend to think of testosterone as a purely male hormone, women’s bodies employ it also. And like men, women experience a decline in testosterone levels during aging.
In The Plus Column: Improved Energy Levels, Mood
Testosterone replacement therapy, also called androgen replacement therapy, or ART, has shown success. Men who have taken testosterone report improvements in mood, energy, and sex drive. Biohacker Dave Asprey, for example, has written about using bioidentical testosterone replacement therapy for almost a decade.
However, even with these gains, pursuing testosterone replacement therapy shouldn’t be taken lightly without considering your medical history.
What Are Side Effects Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
There may be good biological reasons for aging men to have lower testosterone, and circumventing this may lead to unforeseen problems. This is true also of men with low testosterone. We already possess evidence linking serious medical problems to TRT.
Enlarged prostate. This can lead to difficulty urinating.
Prostate cancer. The enlarged prostate may increase the likelihood of cancer. Experts recommend prostate cancer screening prior to taking testosterone replacement therapy.
Sleep issues. Increased testosterone can interfere with sleep, even leading to sleep apnea. Experts recommend screening for sleep apnea prior to beginning a TRT regimen.
Blood clots. The FDA requires patients be warned of potential blood clots prior to entering TRT. These are potentially life-threatening, possibly leading to stroke.
Heart failure. Increases in testosterone levels can lead to congestive heart failure.
While medical professionals have documented these side effects, they are relatively small in number compared to the number of patients taking testosterone. However, researchers have not yet performed long-term studies. So if an individual suffers none of the effects listed above, what might the long-term effects be, good or bad? Nobody can say for sure.
TRT: When Is It Something To Consider?
Testosterone replacement therapy shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, there can be important medical reasons for considering it. These include:
Low sex drive. Low sex drive by itself shouldn’t be considered a valid reason. However, coupled with additional reasons below, it can be part of a list of motives for considering TRT.
Erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction can result from other issues, not merely low testosterone. Your doctor can make recommendations. For example, rather than TRT, a drug such as Viagra or Cialis may be more appropriate.
Fatigue. Low testosterone levels can result in fatigue and a general sense of low energy.
Reduced muscle mass. Older men often find their muscle mass dropping. In most cases this is not serious, but in some individuals, it can be cause for concern.
Loss of hair on both the face and body. Loss of facial and body hair can indicate other issues aside from low testosterone, but coupled with other items in this list, it can be a reason for considering TRT.
Concentration and memory. Hormonal changes dramatically influence brain function, so changes in testosterone levels can affect focus and attention.
Depression. Research links depression with low testosterone. In serious cases of depression, your doctor or psychiatrist may recommend TRT.
There are several delivery methods for testosterone. These include:
Skin patch. The patient wears a patch typically on the upper arm and replaces it daily.
Gel or Cream. The patient applies a gel directly to the skin once a day. The skin absorbs Testosterone, as with a patch, feeding it into the bloodstream.
Injection. Testosterone can be injected into muscle tissue or implanted as a pellet that leaches the hormone into the bloodstream gradually.
Pills. Oral testosterone is available, but some experts believe testosterone can damage the liver if taken orally. All other forms of delivery bypass the liver and go directly into the bloodstream.
If testosterone replacement therapy is best for you, your doctor will recommend a form of treatment based on your personal medical history and symptoms. To set up an appointment with our Hong Kong clinic, call (+852) 2523 8044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.