Everything You Need to Know About Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Everything You Need to Know About Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, is a medical treatment that replaces missing testosterone in your body. Physicians can prescribe testosterone therapy for men and women to ensure that their hormones are correctly balanced, especially for men whose testosterone levels have declined over time. Let us help you learn about TRT and its health benefits and associated risks. Then you can consult with your physician to know if TRT is right for you.

What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is commonly known as the male sex hormone, though both men and women produce and use testosterone at different levels. In men, testosterone is produced mostly in the testicles and is an important building block for a man’s body. Testosterone plays a key role in building and maintaining men’s:

  • Muscle mass
  • Fertility (e.g., sex drive and sperm production)
  • Red blood cell production
  • Bone density
  • Mood disorders
  • Body hair
  • Fat storage and distribution
  • Difficulty concentrating

Because testosterone helps support so many of a man’s key health functions, low testosterone levels can cause a myriad of health problems, including fatigue, weight gain, and mood disorders. (Thus, physicians prescribe testosterone therapy for men.)

What Causes Low Testosterone Levels?

The most common cause of low testosterone levels, or hypogonadism, is the natural decline in production as part of the aging process. As men grow older, their bodies will naturally start to slow down testosterone production. In some men, this happens sooner and at a faster rate than others. Injury to the male reproductive organs (i.e., testicles, radiation treatments, or chemotherapy), chronic health conditions that stress the immune system (such as HIV, renal disease, alcoholism, etc.), or even damage/imbalances in the pituitary, hypothalamus, or adrenal glands can cause low testosterone levels, as well. 

In women, a hysterectomy can cause low testosterone levels, as it’s primarily produced in the ovaries.

Testosterone Therapy for Men and Women

If you think that you may have low testosterone levels, consult with your physician to determine if testosterone replacement therapy is a good option for you. This will likely begin with bloodwork to measure your testosterone levels. Normal testosterone levels for men range between 280 and 1,000 ng/dL and range between 15 and 70 ng/dL for women.

You can go through testosterone replacement therapy via a skin patch, gel, mouth patch, pill, or injection. Some research suggests that pill-based TRT can lead to liver damage. Because of this, many physicians prefer trying a topical approach first before prescribing testosterone pills.

Risks of TRT

Testosterone therapy for women and men comes with various health risks, including:

  • Oily skin, often leading to acne and other skin reactions;
  • Enlarged breast tissue;
  • Testicle shrinkage;
  • Limited sperm production;
  • Stimulated benign growth of the prostate or increased growth of an already cancerous prostate;
  • Increased red blood cell production, which may lead to blood clots and a pulmonary embolism; and
  • Worsening sleep apnea

Benefits of TRT

The primary benefit of testosterone replacement therapy is an increased libido and improved sexual functions. Other benefits include increased bone density, muscle strength, body hair growth, and red blood cell production. And while many people associate TRT with increased youth and vitality, the Mayo Clinic has found little evidence that TRT provides such things to otherwise healthy men.

Conclusion

Living with low testosterone can make you feel like you’re not the same person you used to be, and you’d be right. Fatigue, weak bones and muscles, and a diminished sex drive can all lower your quality of life. It’s a good idea to get screened regularly to ensure that your testosterone levels are where they need to be. If they aren’t, you may want to consider testosterone replacement therapy to make sure that your bones, muscles, mood, and sex drive stay healthy as you age.

Searching for testosterone replacement therapy clinics near you? Read more about our services and contact Core today!

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