Men who experience low testosterone levels are typically recommended testosterone replacement therapy as an option. Many of these men experience various different symptoms that decrease their quality of life as well as sexual function. Testosterone is a hormone that sends messages throughout the body with the goal of assisting it in its proper function. When these hormone levels are low a number of symptoms can occur. If symptoms are severe enough, a man may choose testosterone replacement therapy. Continue reading to find out more about testosterone replacement therapy and its perks as well as side effects.
The Causes of Low Testosterone
As a man grows older, testosterone levels tend to decrease significantly. The decline of testosterone tends to begin when a man turns 30 and goes downhill as they age. This is one of the primary causes of low testosterone levels but there are other occurrences that can also cause low testosterone.
- Infection or injury to the testicles
- Radiation and/or chemotherapy treatments for cancer
- Genetic disorders or abnormalities
- Hemochromatosis (the over production of iron in the body)
- Pituitary gland dysfunction
- Certain inflammatory diseases
- Certain medication such as corticosteroid drugs
- Kidney failure
Some common symptoms of low testosterone are decreased sex drive, depression and lack of concentration. Many men do not notice any symptoms at all and do not realize they have low testosterone levels until they try to conceive a child as it causes a low sperm count as well.
Other Changes That May Occur
There are various other changes that could occur to your body when you have low levels of testosterone in the body. Since testosterone plays a big role in the growth of muscle tissue, if you start to notice a decrease in weight or muscle mass, you may have low testosterone levels. It may also cause you to have an increased level of body fat. It is possible that cholesterol levels may change and you anemia is also common in men with low testosterone. Men also experience some loss in body hair and their bones tend to become more fragile and prone to fractures.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Options
Low testosterone can be treated in a number of different ways. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a patch somewhere on the body that contains the hormone. There is also a gel that can be applied to the skin. Injections can be given into the muscles at a range of about 10 weeks apart. A testosterone stick can also be prescribed which is used like a deodorant to put testosterone back into the body. All of these options can be effective but all have pros as well as cons. Always discuss in-depth with your physician about which options might be better for you.
There are some men who should not rely on any of these testosterone therapy options. Men who suffer from prostate cancer or breast cancer should under no circumstances have testosterone replacement therapy. It is crucial that if you are considering this as an option that you have a thorough physical exam as well as a rectal exam to rule out prostate cancer.
Side Effects to Testosterone Replacement Therapy
As with any type of treatment or therapy, there are side effects when you are in the midst of testosterone replacement therapy.
- Oily skin or issues with acne
- Water retention
- Prostate tissue stimulation which causes increased or decreased urination
- Enlargement of the breasts
- Risk of blood clots
- If you have sleep apnea it could worsen your symptoms
- Decreased size in testicles
- Mood swings and possible aggression
- Decreased sperm count
- Increased red blood cells
- Changes in cholesterol levels
Which Therapy is the Best?
While there are many medical and expert opinions on which treatment therapy is the best, it varies per patient. Every man is different and requires a different treatment. Most experts recommend the intramuscular therapy option because it is able to increase the growth of muscle tissue at a much more rapid rate.
The Misuse of Testosterone
Due to its ability to increase muscle mass, testosterone is often misused and taken with the purpose of expanding muscle mass in professional athletes and bodybuilders. If you have not been prescribed testosterone replacement therapy, under no circumstances should you inject it. Having too much testosterone can cause serious side effects. If you are not taking testosterone for medicinal purposes, you could be causing severe damage to your body.
Men who experience low testosterone levels have a number of different options to choose from when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy. While one type of therapy may work for one, it may not for another. Your doctor will be able to inform you of the pros and cons for each option so you can make an informed decision about your testosterone replacement therapy.