Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Low levels of one hormone may detrimentally affect another. When it comes to testosterone, men especially feel vulnerable.
One of the options available for low levels that are determined low enough to affect the quality of life and health is known as testosterone replacement therapy.
Testosterone is a male hormone produced in the testicles or testes, and in very small amounts in women.
Both men and women produce small amounts of it in the adrenal glands. It is one of the many hormones produced by the endocrine system.
Hormones (all of them) have a huge impact on the function of entire body systems.
How To Get TRT
Very low levels of testosterone or decreased production of the hormone in males are known as hypogonadism.
Consumers should know that even if levels are lower than normal (the average range in adult males is 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter – or ng/dL) therapy isn’t always recommended.
Your doctor can check your levels with a simple blood test. After careful discussion and consideration, it may be an option.
This type of therapy involves artificial testosterone that can be administered with injections, orally in the form of tablets, pills, capsules, or even as a gel or a patch that you place on the skin.
A few of the benefits associated with it include enhanced muscle mass and a stronger libido. However, it’s also important to be aware of side effects as well.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Any prescription or over-the-counter therapy or treatment, drug, or supplement can be associated with side effects.
Not everyone experiences side effects, or even the same side effects, as well as to varying degrees of severity. Some of the most common side effects include:
- decrease in testicle size
- decrease in sperm production
- edema or fluid retention
- oily or dry skin
A number of additional, and more serious, side effects have been associated with testosterone replacement therapy. An individual can experience one or more of these common side effects:
- Increase in red blood cell count.
- Detrimental effects on the prostate gland (if you already have an enlarged prostate, therapy may worsen symptoms, especially for individuals over 50 years of age).
- Sleep apnea. This is especially true if you already snore or have been diagnosed with breathing issues during sleep.
Research and clinical studies are currently attempting to determine whether treatment may increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer or other cancers such as colorectal or lung cancer, but the analysis is still under review.
It should be noted that men undergoing treatment that is carefully supervised and monitored don’t tend to experience severe emotional or psychological changes.
However, this is not the case when it comes to individuals who use and abuse, anabolic steroids, common in bodybuilding, weight lifting, and other athletic endeavors.
In such cases, “‘roid rage” has been reported along with outbursts of violence as well as aggressive behaviors.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Contraindications
Some contraindications against testosterone therapy and injections (such as Testosterone Cypionate) do exist.
Let your doctor know if you suspect or have been diagnosed with:
- Sensitivity to any drugs, including testosterone supplements or injections
- Prostate gland carcinoma or other issues involving the prostate gland
- Renal or hepatic disease or cardiac disease or heart conditions
- Carcinoma of the breast (males)
In addition to talking about potential side effects and adverse reactions or contraindications to testosterone replacement therapy, talk to your doctor about costs.
Is Hormone Replacement Therapy Expensive?
Before starting hormone replacement therapy, it’s important to know how much it costs. The same applies to testosterone replacement therapy costs. Costs will be associated with the form of the medication.
For example, gels or topical agents that are rubbed into the skin may cost anywhere from $100 to $150 a month, sometimes more.
Using a testosterone patch is also an option, but some create rashes on the skin.
Adjusting the dosage of gels and patches is also more difficult, based on the ability of those medications to absorb into the skin resulting in appropriate blood concentration.
The cost of testosterone injections averages about $400 a month (or more) but may differ depending on the drug manufacturer, recommended dosage, number of injections, and therapy treatment plan.
Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of treatment, and while most insurance plans are accepted, changes in coverage due to the Affordable Care Act in the US may have an effect on coverage costs.
Always check with your health insurance carrier about treatment methods or forms of the drug recommended by your doctor to determine out-of-pocket costs.
Testosterone replacement therapy may provide a number of benefits to men (and some women under certain conditions) based on health, age, and reason for taking it.
However, always weigh benefits with cost, results, and potential side effects or dangers. Compare various brands such as Androgel before you buy.
References On TRT
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- DeLay KJ et al . Testosterone and the Prostate: Artifacts and Truths. Urol Clin North Am. 2016 Aug;43(3):405-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ucl.2016.04.011. Review.
- Traish AM et al . The dark side of testosterone deficiency: III. Cardiovascular disease. J Androl. 2009 Sep-Oct;30(5):477-94. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.108.007245. Epub 2009 Apr 2. Review.
- Khera M et al . A new era of testosterone and prostate cancer: from physiology to clinical implications. Eur Urol. 2014 Jan;65(1):115-23. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2013.08.015. Epub 2013 Aug 16. Review.
- Lejeune H et al . [Hypoactive sexual desire and testosterone deficiency in men]. Prog Urol. 2013 Jul;23(9):621-8. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2013.01.019. Epub 2013 Apr 4. Review. French.
- Morgentaler A et al . Commentary: Who is a candidate for testosterone therapy? A synthesis of international expert opinions. J Sex Med. 2014 Jul;11(7):1636-45. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12546. Epub 2014 May 2.
- Araujo AB et al . Clinical review: Endogenous testosterone and mortality in men: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Oct;96(10):3007-19. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-1137. Epub 2011 Aug 3. Review.
- De Smet MA et al . Sex steroids in relation to cardiac structure and function in men. Andrologia. 2017 Mar;49(2). doi: 10.1111/and.12610. Epub 2016 May 2. Review.
- Yassin AA et al . Testosterone depot injection in male hypogonadism: a critical appraisal. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(4):577-90. Review.
- Rove KO et al . Role of testosterone in managing advanced prostate cancer. Urology. 2012 Oct;80(4):754-62. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jul 13. Review.
- Al-Khazaali A et al . Controversial Effects of Exogenous Testosterone on Cardiovascular Diseases. Am J Ther. 2016 Nov/Dec;23(6):e1504-e1513. Review.