Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos
Testosterone is important for the normal functioning of various organs, such as muscles, bones, and sex organs. However, its levels do not stay the same throughout a man’s life for various reasons.
Some men become testosterone deficient if they have serious underlying health issues such as tumours while others may develop testosterone deficiency as they age. Testosterone deficiency or low T can impact your social, family and work life in various ways. Getting a suitable treatment such as TRT may help you feel better again.
TRT is a popular treatment used worldwide to restore serum testosterone levels. It offers numerous benefits; however, it is not suitable for all. Doctors prescribe it only to those who are the right candidates for TRT.
Not sure whether TRT is right for you or not? Keep reading the article to find out!
TRT is the abbreviation of testosterone replacement therapy. It is an FDA-approved procedure used to increase testosterone levels in men who are unable to produce it naturally.
In TRT, synthetic testosterone is administered in the body in different ways to ensure you have 300 ng/dL or more serum testosterone. TRT has different types based on how the hormone is administered. Some of these types are:
Testosterone gels: They are applied to the skin at least once a day. You should let the gel dry fully before you have skin-to-skin contact with another person to avoid gel transfer.
Testosterone pellets: They are of rice grain size and are implanted under the skin. They contain crystallised testosterone and provide low doses for 3 to 6 months.
Testosterone patches: They are applied to the dried skin once a day. They may cause mild to severe skin reactions.
Testosterone injections: They are available in the market in various doses and are usually taken once a week. You can inject testosterone yourself or let your physician do that for you.
Oral testosterone: Testosterone capsules or pills are also available in the market. They may cause diarrhoea or liver toxicity.
These testosterone products have their particular pros and cons. Testosterone gels are one of the most widely used forms of TRT because they are more convenient than other TRT forms.
You should discuss the effects and benefits of each TRT form with your doctor to identify the one that best suits your condition.
TRT is often prescribed to men who have low T and experience the following symptoms.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays an important role in libido. Sex drive reduces in men as they get older. However, it drops more drastically in men with low T.
Testosterone is involved in achieving and maintaining an erection. It stimulates nitric oxide production, which initiates reactions required to get an erection. That is why when men don’t have enough serum testosterone, they lose the ability to gain an erection.
Testosterone is an androgen hormone that helps improve hair growth. However, having too much or too little of it can adversely affect your hair growth. It’s not uncommon for men with low T often lose their body and facial hair.
Fatigue and lethargy are among the most common low t symptoms. If your testosterone levels are low, you may consistently feel fatigued even after resting for hours.
Hot flashes are another sign of low T. They produce a warm sensation throughout your body, particularly in the upper body part. Your skin gets red and starts to sweat. They usually occur at night and may make you feel chilled afterwards.
Testosterone reduces body fat accumulation and promotes leanness. However, when you become testosterone deficient, you start gaining extra fat and weight. It often leads to gynecomastia, a condition in which you develop enlarged breast tissue.
Studies show that testosterone increases muscle mass in men. That is why men with low T often report low muscle mass and strength.
Testosterone strengthens bones. When you don’t have enough testosterone, your bones start losing their density, and they become fragile. The risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture also increases.
Your body needs testosterone to develop testicles and maintain their health. So, low T could contribute to reduction in penis size. Some other health conditions that may cause small testicles are hypogonadism, obesity and prostate surgery.
According to a study, testosterone deficiency in older men can lead to anaemia (lack of red blood cells). Increasing the testosterone level back to normal tends to correct the anaemia.
Low T can disturb your mental capacity and mood. You may feel depressed most of the time and lose your desire to socialise with others.
Do you find it hard to concentrate on a task without getting distracted? It could be because of low testosterone levels. Restoring your testosterone may help you regain your ability to focus and concentrate.
Overall, TRT is a beneficial procedure. It has helped plenty of men get rid of low T symptoms and improve the quality of their life. However, it has some possible side effects, due to which doctors do not prescribe this procedure to all low-T patients.
If you are suffering from certain medical conditions, taking TRT can worsen your health. Men having breast cancer or prostate cancer are advised to avoid this procedure. Similarly, men with sleep apnea and untreated heart problems should also not have it.
Some athletes and bodybuilders take testosterone to enhance performance even when they have normal serum testosterone concentrations.
They buy testosterone products from e-commerce stores or gyms without knowing what they contain. These products are unhealthy and pose serious health hazards. You should not take testosterone without getting checked by a doctor.
Men, after starting TRT, report following side effects of the procedure.
Studies about TRT show mixed results. Some conclude that it may increase the risk of prostate cancer and heart attack, while others say there is no correlation between these problems and TRT.
More research needs to be done on TRT effects. It is best to have TRT under the direction of an experienced and qualified physician.
Once you start taking testosterone, you may notice its effects within a few weeks. Your physician will ask you to have regular checkups to monitor your testosterone levels. They will optimise your testosterone dose to make sure you meet your health goals and get the best possible results while experiencing fewer side effects.
TRT is a life-long treatment. If you stop having it, your testosterone level will drop again, and low T symptoms will reappear. That is why you should mentally and financially prepare yourself before starting the procedure to avoid trouble in the future.
TRT may help improve mild ED symptoms, but it is possible only if your ED is because of low testosterone levels and not some other condition. Discuss your symptoms with a doctor to identify the root cause of the problem.
It depends on why you have low testosterone levels. If they are due to obesity or poor lifestyle habits, getting rid of them can help you improve your testosterone levels.
To get the best TRT results, you should see a physician who specialises in hormone deficiencies and their treatments. Here at Balance My Hormones we have specialised TRT doctors ready to guide you through your TRT journey. Click the contact button below to get in touch.
If you have low T symptoms, you should visit a physician to find out what is causing them. They will conduct a physical examination and have a total testosterone levels test to diagnose the problem.
If your testosterone levels are slightly lower than normal, getting TRT may not be the best choice. In such cases, doctors often suggest lifestyle changes.
In case you have prominent low T symptoms, and they are influencing your life, getting TRT from a knowledgeable physician can produce a positive impact.
Men with certain medical conditions, such as untreated heart problems and prostate cancer, should avoid TRT as it may further deteriorate their condition.
Reach out to a doctor today to learn more about TRT and determine whether you should have it or not.
References/Bibliography/Scientific studies/Further reading
Spitzer, M., Huang, G., Basaria, S., Travison, T.G. and Bhasin, S., 2013. Risks and benefits of testosterone therapy in older men. Nature reviews Endocrinology, 9(7), pp.414-424.
Isidori, A.M., Giannetta, E., Greco, E.A., Gianfrilli, D., Bonifacio, V., Isidori, A., Lenzi, A. and Fabbri, A., 2005. Effects of testosterone on body composition, bone metabolism and serum lipid profile in middle‐aged men: A meta‐analysis. Clinical endocrinology, 63(3), pp.280-293.
Kovac, J.R., Rajanahally, S., Smith, R.P., Coward, R.M., Lamb, D.J. and Lipshultz, L.I., 2014. Patient satisfaction with testosterone replacement therapies: the reasons behind the choices. The journal of sexual medicine, 11(2), pp.553-562.
This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.
References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.
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