TRT or testosterone replacement therapy is a well-known therapy for men who have been diagnosed with an abnormally low testosterone level. If you are reading this, chances are you are one of those men, or your friend or loved one is. Nonetheless, the point of this article is to educate and give you an idea of what could be waiting in line, e.g. benefits and risks, as soon as you decide to see a testosterone replacement therapist.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy – What You Need to Know
TRT is designed to help men with low levels of testosterone hormone. This hormone which the primary male reproductive organ secretes is vital for its functions, i.e. stimulating libido for sex drive, enhancing muscle mass and strength, distributing fat, and producing red blood cells and sperm. In addition to that, testosterone also plays a role in developing facial and pubic hair, deeper voices, and enhancing mood and thinking ability.
Normally, testosterone supply in men can increase up to thirty times more throughout adolescence and early adulthood. After that, however, this level tends to drop gradually every year. Although this should not sound alarming, when testosterone production abnormally decreases, it pays to act on it right away especially if you are still in the 30s to 40s.
Here is where TRT or testosterone replacement therapy can help.
If your testosterone level is abnormally low, a TRT can definitely help boost it and the other benefits will most likely follow:
An improved sex drive. According to a study, TRT can be beneficial to a man’s sexual performance and overall health and the increase in testosterone supply may take place in response to sexual activity and arousal. So, it is safe to say that once you get a TRT, you will most likely feel a bit warm and intense as an effect. For older men, however, more testosterone boost may be needed to enhance libido and address conditions such as erectile dysfunction.
Better mood. Men with low testosterone levels are prone to suffer from fatigue, depression, and irritability as some of its effects. However, a study has claimed that only men with hypogonadism are likely to end up with such symptoms.
Fortunately, with a boosted testosterone supply because of TRT, sooner or later, the patient is expected to notice mood improvement, reduced irritability and fatigue, and enhanced well-being.
Better blood and a healthy heart. The testosterone hormone promotes red blood cell production via the bone marrow, making the heart happy as it pumps blood to the rest of the body. With a healthy and happy heart, oxygen supply for the body organs and muscles is secured. On that note, if there is a shortage of testosterone in a human body, it could welcome cardiovascular risks.
It does not equate to TRT being a cure for heart diseases. Studies can prove that the improvements seen in patients with heart disease who had a TRT were sort of insignificant. But TRT can help prevent these cardiovascular risks.
More muscle, less fat. Testosterone hormone can also boost muscle mass, helping the body to become leaner. Studies have claimed that testosterone replacement therapy can stimulate the production of testosterone which can help enhance the size and strength of muscles in the long run.
Bones get stronger. The testosterone hormone plays a vital role in ensuring bone mineral density which usually reduces with age. The therapy here will help ensure that testosterone levels are kept at normal levels to eradicate the likelihood of acquiring osteoporosis or having weakening bones.
Better mental health and ability. According to a lot of studies, men with an adequate supply of testosterone hormones were less likely to suffer from illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc. Moreover, there were pieces of evidence strongly linking testosterone and men’s thinking capabilities, e.g. faster processing speed, verbal memory, and many more. For the elders, TRT is believed to be beneficial in enhancing their spatial memory.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy – What are the risks?
Testosterone replacement therapy may be beneficial to men with abnormally low testosterone levels but as per studies, the therapy can also trigger side effects. Here are what you might have to deal with if you decide to undergo a TRT and the odds do not side with you:
- Oily skin;
- Acne Breakouts;
- Testicle Shrinkage;
- Reduced sperm count;
- Breast enlargement; and,
- Risk of blood clots that might lead to stroke and/or heart attack.
The therapy is also not recommended for people with specific conditions. For instance, according to the guidelines set by the Endocrine Society, breast cancer and prostate cancer patients are bad candidates for TRT as the male hormone can promote the growth of cancer. Nonetheless, as per studies, breast and prostate cancer survivors are technically safer to have it as long as they are monitored closely for signs of illness.
Other conditions that do not go well with testosterone replacement therapy include:
- High-level red blood cell counts
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Severe congestive heart failure
- Severe lower urinary tract conditions like the feeling of having to pee urgently and on frequent occasions caused by an enlarged prostate or a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia
Meanwhile, the therapy is discouraged on elders or those who are suffering from low testosterone levels because of age.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy as an Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Treatment
Men with low testosterone can rely on TRT in trying to regain healthy erections and a more fun sex drive. However, it cannot address erectile dysfunction on point as the condition may also be a product of other causes. In this case, a visit to a doctor for advice and clarifications should help.
To have or not to have TRT?
Because of its potential side effects, the TRT treatment is only recommended and suitable for men with low levels of testosterone. On that note, those within the normal range are discouraged to go through it. Moreover, testosterone must not be displayed sans a prescription. Now, to know whether your testosterone level is low or otherwise, you can have a blood test done or you can do it with a hormone testing kit from the convenience of your home. The result will tell you what you have to do and if you have to consult a doctor.