Hormone replacement therapy for men, more specifically name testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is offered to men who have lower than ‘normal’ testosterone levels.
Since testosterone levels naturally decline as you age and are influenced by a range of factors, it can be difficult determining what levels can be considered as ‘normal’. As a general guideline, serum testosterone levels below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) are said to be below normal.
TRT is often provided for males who have hypogonadism and have had low testosterone from birth. The benefits of TRT in these situations are evidenced.
What scientists are less certain about is the benefit to risk ratio of offering TRT to men whose testosterone levels are naturally declined with age.
What to Expect When Going Through Testosterone Replacement Therapy
It’s natural to feel worried when you’ve been diagnosed with low testosterone. Discussing your hormone replacement treatment options can be even more anxiety-provoking.
However, doing some research before you begin your testosterone replacement therapy can help to calm your nerves. You can read about how the therapy options work so that you can be fully prepared when you go for your first round of treatment.
There are a few different hormone therapies that can be offered if you have low testosterone levels. The specific method that you choose is up to you, but your healthcare professional may offer their expert guidance.
The most common three types of TRT are:
- Testosterone patches – these are most commonly placed on your back, buttock, abdomen, or arm, and are replaced every few weeks.
- Testosterone gels – this is applied directly onto the skin as a topical treatment.
- Intramuscular testosterone injections – the testosterone will be injected into your buttock every two to three weeks.
The best estrogen blocker compounds, such as anastrozole (Arimidex) may also be used as part of your TRT.
They help to reduce estrogen production by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. They may also prevent the formation of estrogen receptors, which can enhance the effects of testosterone.
Prior to undergoing your treatment, your healthcare professional will also run through the most common side-effects of TRT. This is not done to scare you or intimidate you, but more to keep you fully informed on the potential adverse effects of testosterone therapy. No therapy is risk-free.
Here are some of the most common side-effects of you aware of where I’m going home and replacement therapy:
- Poor sleep
- Muscle pains or aches
- Skin reactions and acne
- Fluid retention
- Lower sperm production or quality, potentially leading to infertility
- Changes in sex drive
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Increased blood cholesterol levels
- Breast enlargement
- Decreased size of the testes
If you are experiencing any of the side effects during your treatment, you must inform your healthcare professional immediately. They will be able to adjust your treatment accordingly to reduce any adverse effects and maximize the benefits of your therapy.