Testosterone Replacement Therapy: All You Need To Know

When we talk about testosterone and male functionality, what comes to mind is erectile and sexual function. However, it is much more than that! Testosterone is a vital hormone in the body. It is essential for the proper development, functioning, regulation, and maintenance of many systems concerned with the male body. The primary process and most common one, of course, is the proper development of the sexual characteristics of males, which is a function of the testosterone produced by the testicles. 

That, however, is not all. Testosterone is equally essential for regulating and maintaining red blood cells, proper growth and development, maintaining muscle bulk, and an overall sense of well-being. It is also responsible for maintaining fat distribution, sperm production, and facial/body hair growth. So yeah, the testosterone hormone does more than just sex drive.

When there is a decrease in the production of testosterone hormone by the testicles, all of these functions collectively suffer from the decline. That is why testosterone therapy is an option. While inadequate testosterone is not directly related to erectile dysfunction, testosterone therapy is undoubtedly a way to improve it.

Relationship Between Testosterone And Age

With an increase in age comes a decrease in many bodily functions and activities, one of which is the production of the testosterone hormone. The effects of decreased testosterone eves due to aging do not differ much from the expected effects. This means that aging is a natural process, and a natural reduction in testosterone levels is observed as an age-related decline. So, while the news about how testosterone therapy is a solution to the low production of this hormone, the effectiveness of this therapy in natural aging processes remains unclear. Here, we have combined all you need to know before getting the therapy done!

Although testosterone therapy is highly effective in treating hypogonadism, its effect on a case of natural aging remains a topic of debate among physicians. Some say there is little to no evidence backing up the benefits of this therapy on otherwise healthy men. Testosterone therapy certainly is promising. However, there are so many misconceptions about it, and it is pre-eminent that we cross out, with clarity, what the treatment can and cannot do and if it is the best for you.

Symptoms Of Low Testosterone

Now when it comes to the symptoms of testosterone production, it is imperative to note that testosterone levels fluctuate at certain times and on certain days, making it seem like reduced production. At the same time, the decline of the testosterone hormone could be due to aging.

Nonetheless, here are some common symptoms that serve as an indicator that there is something wrong with the level of testosterone hormone being produced by you

  1. Decreased Muscle Mass

As previously stated, testosterone is mainly responsible for maintaining muscle bulk, which means a decline in its productions would lead to a decrease in muscle mass.

2. Changes In Cholesterol Levels

Low testosterone would mean rapid and unaccounted changes in the overall body fat and cholesterol levels.

3. Anemia

Testosterone is connected to the maintenance of red blood cells. A decline in production comes from a decrease in hemoglobin and anemia.

4. Weak Bones

Here is another symptom to look out for when there is a shortage of testosterone productions in the body.

Some other common and popular symptoms include like decrease in body mass, erectile malfunction. It can also lead to depression and difficulty concentrating: irritability, and a reduction in energy levels.

Causes of Low Testosterone

Apart from the gradual reduction in testosterone levels as accustomed to aging, here are some other causes of low testosterone;

  • Chemotherapy and other cancer treatment sessions
  • Failure of one or both of the kidneys
  • Excessive stress caused to the body
  • Alcohol intake
  • Obesity, most of which is more concerned with abdominal fat
  • Uses of steroids and other hormone-altering medications
  • Infection or injury caused to the testicles

Others include chronic illness, inflammatory diseases, and dysfunction of the pituitary gland.

All of these individually and collectively are responsible for low testosterone productions.

What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

Testosterone replacement therapy is therapy targeted at treating hypogonadism, which is the condition of low testosterone productions. There are certain situations or states where the body does not produce enough testosterone, and right there is where testosterone replacement therapy comes in. 

Over the years, different types of testosterone replacement therapy in the form of medications have been developed and adopted to curb these issues, some of which include injections, creams, and gels. They rarely occur in oral form as researchers are convinced of the adverse effects it will have on one’s liver function.

The different forms of improving testosterone production levels include;

  • Gels

These gels, also known as Androgen, come in a package containing gelatinous testosterone. They are used topical and are based in the body via the skin.

  • Skin Patch

It functions just like its name, and it is needed to be applied just once a day.

  • Injections and implants

Another way of improving testosterone levels is to get a shot at one of your muscles or as pallets directly into soft tissues.

  • Mouth Patch

Like the skin patches, the mouth patches stick to the mouth region and are applied twice a day to improve testosterone production and are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Is Testosterone Replacement Right For You?

The truth remains this, testosterone replacement therapy is undoubtedly not for everybody, and only people with low blood levels and testosterone should consider this treatment. People with cancer like breast and prostate cancer are advised not to opt for testosterone-reducing therapy. Neither should people suffering from urinary tract infections, apnoea, and cardiovascular problems. 

When undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, a follow-up appointment with the doctor is highly essential.

Note that treating age-related testosterone decline with this therapy is certainly not advisable. In this case, exercise and dieting are better ways to deal with lipids and testosterone levels.

Testosterone Replacement And Erectile Dysfunction

Happy young couple having fun in bed

Erectile dysfunction is not an automatic indication of low testosterone productions. There is a wide range of possible causes of erectile dysfunction, including infections and heart problems. However, in many cases of erectile dysfunction, testosterone therapy can significantly enhance and improve results, though not in natural aging cases. So before going straight ahead to get testosterone replacement therapy, ensure you undergo the necessary diagnosis to determine if that is best for you.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy And Performance-Enhancing Drugs: What Is The Difference

First things first, testosterone replacement therapy procedures are very different from enhancement drugs. Most body enhancement medications used by athletes also contain testosterone but only in different doses. The dosage used in the therapy is in quantities to boost testosterone production, while athletes’ use is in more significant amounts for attaining superhuman feats.

Risks And Side Effects Of Testosterone Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy has its share of side effects and disadvantages. Here are a few of them;

  • Irritation and discomfort in the area used
  • Increased cardiovascular threats
  • It can worsen Benign prostatic hypertrophy
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer
  • Blood clotting
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Breast enlargement
  • Changes in testicular size
  • Fluid retention
  • Mood swings and aggression
  • Potential infertility

Benefits Of Testosterone Therapy

Some of the many benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include;

  • Development of male sexual characteristics
  • Increased reproductive action
  • Healthier blood cells eves
  • Building muscles
  • Increased mass and strength
  • Improved mood and cognitive function
  • Price reduction in osteoporosis

Facts About Testosterone Therapy

Did you know?

  • American men are top participants in testosterone replacement therapy, with over 2 billion dollars spent each year.
  • The amount of testosterone replacement therapy users have quadrupled since 2014.
  • One in every 25 men use testosterone replacement therapy.
  • There was an $18 million to $1.6 billion in 2011 increase in testosterone medication sales in 1988.

What Are The Effects Of Testosterone Therapy On Other People And Pets?

Testosterone usage can prove to be a danger to women, children, and even pets when they contact it. This is most common with testosterone gels. People who come in contact stand a more significant risk of developing side effects. Women can experience skin irritation and hair growth. 

It is even worse for pregnant women as the child can be harmed. Children are more accustomed to side effects like large abnormal genitalia, skin irritation, aggressive behavior, and early puberty, including alternate puberty development like male children growing breasts

Pets could become aggressive and violent when exposed. They can also experience abnormally large genitalia

What Are Testosterone Injections?

These are injections specifically administered to introduce a particular dosage of testosterone into the body system.

There are different types of testosterone injections;

testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone)

testosterone enanthate (Xyosted and also available in its generic form)

testosterone undecanoate (Aveed, which is a long-acting formulation)

Conclusion

Before opting for a testosterone replacement therapy, it is imperative to be well aware of its disadvantages and side effects. Speak to your doctor and ensure you perform the necessary checkup and diagnosis before going ahead to get it done.

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