Hormone replacement therapy has been increasing in popularity over the past few years. Testosterone replacement is one of the most common hormones that are replaced. Keep reading to learn more about what testosterone replacement therapy is, where and how to get TRT, the benefits and side effects, dosage, and the forms that testosterone is administered.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is one of the most well-known hormones. It is known as the primary male sex hormone and is created in the testes. Testosterone is a lipid hormone, meaning that it is made up of fat molecules. It can also be classified as a steroid molecule because it has a four-carbon ring structure with a special group that makes it testosterone.
Testosterone is the hormone that helps men have “manly” features and attributes. In the male reproductive system, testosterone is important for balancing the libido and producing sperm. In addition to reproductive functioning testosterone also has roles in other parts of the body. In men, testosterone can function in balancing mood, bone health, muscle mass, body fat composition, and blood.
Testosterone is also present in women but in much smaller amounts than in men. Since women do not have testicles they produce testosterone in the adrenal glands that sit on top of each kidney. In women, testosterone has an impact on mood and sexual desire as well as other functions too.
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone is a therapy that is used when people have low testosterone levels. Testosterone medications are given to supplement the natural levels of the hormone and bring the level back up to a normal level.
When testosterone is low there can be several symptoms of low T that can make you uncomfortable and uneasy in your own body, such as fatigue and gynecomastia (the appearance of male breasts).
Restoring the natural levels back to normal can help to bring you back to the quality of life you had before the levels were out of balance. Many men experience increased libido, increased energy, and more motivation.
Comprehensive testosterone replacement therapy may also include other medications such as anti-estrogens and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). These medications can work together with testosterone to keep the body in balance and potentiate the positive effects.
Who Should Take Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone replacement therapy is supposed to be for those who have low levels of testosterone. It should not be used simply to improve athletic performance and can have unwanted effects such as growing breast tissue. Low levels of testosterone can be caused by many things including injury to the testicles, chemotherapy, high levels of iron, certain prescription medications, tumors, alcohol abuse, age, and more.
You may have low testosterone if you are experiencing symptoms including mood changes, low energy levels, low sex drive, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, increased body fat, and low sperm count. If you have these symptoms it may be wise to contact your healthcare provider to get testosterone testing.
Can Women Take Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Since women also have testosterone in their body it is natural to wonder if they can also benefit from testosterone therapy.
Testosterone is not currently FDA approved for use in women, however, some research has shown that testosterone may help women with certain symptoms. testosterone in women is only for off-label use but has been used for women with low sex drive. This is mainly used after menopause if estrogen hormone replacement therapy has not been helpful.
Before turning to testosterone replacement therapy for women it is advised to ensure that no other things could be causing the sexual dysfunction. Since testosterone is not traditionally created for therapies with women you should seek medical advice from your doctor to determine if this is something that would be right for you.
What Are the Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
There are many benefits to testosterone replacement therapy that can impact the entire body. Some of the most noticeable benefits are physical and can be seen as a decrease in body fat and increase in muscle strength and athletic performance. Other benefits can be felt such as a boosted mood, increased libido, and having more mental clarity. Some benefits cannot be seen or felt at all but can be noticed in a test completed by a healthcare provider such as increasing bone density and improved sperm production. Many men also report a greater sense of well-being in balance that they feel when their hormones are in check.
The benefits of testosterone therapy will be different for each user since the symptoms you start with will be different. For example, if you are struggling with low libido oh, and increase libido may be the benefit that you experience most. Usually, when people start testosterone therapy they’re looking for a certain benefit, but also get the other benefits and are happily surprised.
What Are the Forms of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone replacement therapy can come in a variety of forms. Injections, patches, gels, creams, and pills are all options when it comes to testosterone. Each form has benefits and negatives that need to be considered. The pills are the least commonly prescribed form of testosterone, while the testosterone gel, patch, and injection are the most popular.
Patches are applied to the scrotum or other areas such as the arm. The cons to patches are that they need to have a shaved scrotum to be attached. The pros are that they are generally non-irritating and are discreet.
Gels and creams are a popular option because they can be easily applied. They are typically applied to the stomach, arms, shoulders, and thighs. The pros to these are that they are easy to apply. The cons are that you have to be careful that the product does not come in contact with women or children since it can cause masculinization.
Injections are a very common route of administration because they only need to be injected every 10 to 14 days. The hormone is injected into the muscle. The cons are that the injections can be uncomfortable, however, they are not done very frequently so many users like this option.
What is the Common Dose of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
The dose of testosterone hormone will differ from person to person. Your doctor will decide the best dose for you to address your symptoms, level of hormones, age, and more. The most common range of testosterone doses is 50 to 400 mg. This is administered every 2 to 4 weeks via the intramuscular injection route.
The dosage for other forms including patch and gel will vary. For the patch, you will typically apply one patch every day in the afternoon. Always make sure that you remove one patch before applying another.
What Are the Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Most medications have side effects and testosterone is no exception. Some of the mild side effects that can occur with testosterone replacement therapy include acne, oily skin, and skin irritation. Other symptoms include swelling of the ankles, difficulty urinating, enlarged breast tissue, and smaller testicles.
Other changes can also occur in regards to lab values that your doctor can test for. Testosterone can cause increased red blood cell count, decrease sperm count, and an increase in prostate-specific antigen (PSA). These lab changes could be problematic, but if your doctor monitors them, and can catch an issue before it is worse.
Where Can you Get Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
There are many places that you can get testosterone replacement therapy. The first step in getting TRT is recognizing that you have a problem. Many people’s first step is to go to their health care provider and tell them the symptoms they are experiencing and even ask for a hormone level test.
Your primary care provider can prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, however, a specialist like Elite HRT is often better suited because they have an extensive knowledge base on hormone replacement therapies.
Elite HRT can provide you with a personalized treatment plan from a medical doctor to address your needs. You will go through a series of steps including a medical history form, blood tests, physical examination, and finally the development of your personalized treatment plan. Once the plan is created you will have your prescribed hormones delivered directly to your home or work to make it convenient to you, along with instructions on how to take your medications.
The process of getting testosterone replacement therapy may seem daunting but once you understand the steps and decide with your doctor that it is right for you, the process will go smoothly.
The largest part of taking testosterone replacement therapy is the testing beforehand to ensure that it is going to be helpful for you and your symptoms. Once it is and your treatment plan has been created, you will be on your way to improving your quality of life and getting the treatment you deserve.
Elite HRT is here for you to determine the best course of action and help you meet your health goals.