Testosterone Replacement Therapy or TRT for Men
Testosterone replacement therapy for men remains one of the more controversial medical procedures today, yet it is also one of those treatments that can command a huge interest among the public.
In men, the testicles are responsible for the production of the hormone, testosterone. In women, it is the ovaries that produce it. However, testosterone production is more closely identified with men, rather than women. When testosterone levels are low in men, it becomes difficult for the body to maintain bone density, fat distribution, and production of red blood cells. Muscle strength and mass are also affected.
Low testosterone levels also affects the production of sperm cells and can lower a man’s sex drive. This is why testosterone has been perceived as the “libido hormone,” which is to say, it is the level of testosterone that determines if a man is “still good for sex” or not. In other words, in the minds of many, the mere mention of the word “testosterone” immediately calls to mind the male sex drive.
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How Can Men Know if They Have Low Testosterone?
Testosterone levels ordinarily drop with aging. As a result, the following changes happen in most males when such drops occur:
- erectile dysfunction
- diminished energy and fatigue
- lack of focus
- lack of libido or sex drive
- low self-esteem
These changes, or symptoms, are easily diagnosed. Sometimes, these symptoms also occur in other medical conditions, especially those that have a psychological factor as the cause. That’s why it is important for men to get diagnosed by a medical professional before jumping to any conclusions about having low testosterone levels or not.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Good or Bad?
Changing testosterone levels has both supporters and naysayers. Those who are in favor of it say that it is the easy solution for all the symptoms observable when a man has low testosterone. After all, it is not the kind of therapy that requires long hospitalization or expensive medical procedures.
Low testosterone levels can be improved through:
- The use of a skin or transdermal patch
- Application of gels
- The use of an oral or mouth patch
- Soft tissue implants or direct-to-muscle injections
So, the question is then, if testosterone replacement therapy can improve the physical, mental, and emotional condition of men with low testosterone levels, and the methods by which the therapy is done are relatively simple and easy to do, what are the risks involved?
Risks in Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Therapy for low testosterone levels can be the cause for the occurrence of laboratory abnormalities such as an increase in red cell count and changes in the concentration of cholesterol. Other side effects that have been medically observed, but do not usually or commonly occur include:
- possible decrease or increase in urine
- oily skin, acne or other facial eruptions
- increased incidence of sleep apnea
- reduction in the size of testicles
- enlargement of the breast
- retention of fluids
Considering both benefits and risks, testosterone replacement therapy should be fully discussed between you and your doctor, in order to weigh whether or not such therapy would actually be helpful or not.
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