Think you may benefit from Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) but not quite sure how to go about getting it? Not to worry, we’ve put together this article to inform you of the different routes to getting TRT and their pros and cons.
There are two main ways to get TRT in the UK; through the NHS, or through a private clinic like Balance My Hormones. One thing both routes have in common is that you will need to take a blood test to verify that you do in fact have low testosterone levels before any treatment can be prescribed. Read on to find out which route is best suited to you!
What Is TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a medical treatment that aims to restore testosterone levels to optimal physiological range. TRT involves providing the body with bioidentical testosterone to help relieve low testosterone symptoms. The most common way for testosterone to be administered is through injection or topical methods such as creams and gels but it can also be administered by patch, pill, or implant.
Some men are born with low testosterone, but you can also develop insufficient testosterone levels through lifestyle choices or ageing processes. If you are concerned you may be testosterone deficient, take our 60s Hormone Imbalance Quiz, and find out whether you’re in need of medical assistance today.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Many people think testosterone is a hormone that only affects your sex organs and mood, but this is far from the truth. Testosterone aids many functions throughout the body from red blood cell production to supporting collagen production in your skin. So, if you want to stay feeling and looking youthful, you should closely assess your testosterone levels to make sure they are in optimal range!
As men age, their testosterone levels naturally begin to decline. They decline at a rate of 1% every year after the age of 30. As testosterone supports many functions in the body, you tend to quickly notice the effects of insufficient testosterone levels. They’re not pleasant and can leave you feeling like a shell of yourself.
Symptoms of low testosterone levels include
- Low sex drive/libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased muscle mass
- Increased weight gain
- Frequent urination at night
- Body and facial hair loss
- Pelvic floor pain
- Poor memory or concentration
Routes to TRT in the UK
Private Clinic like Balance My Hormones
The first step to receiving TRT with Balance My Hormones is to complete the patient intake forms so we can find out more about your unique situation and to us decide which treatment is best for you. All you have to do is get in touch with us by phone, email, or you can reach out via our live chat feature on our homepage.
Order Blood Tests
The next step is completing blood work so we can confirm your symptoms are a result of low testosterone levels. You can order blood tests online here or you can speak to one of our medical case managers who can arrange your blood tests for you. Our blood test kits are delivered in discrete packaging and are sent out to you to be administered in the comfort of your home. They are then processed in accredited labs and results analysed by our specialist doctors.
Once we receive your blood test back from the labs, you will have a face-to-face remote video consultation with one of our doctors specialising in advanced hormone therapies for men. On your video consultation, the doctor will discuss your bloodwork results and which treatment they would recommend for your unique circumstances. They will also explain how the treatment works, what you can expect from your TRT journey, and discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
Once approved by your doctor for treatment, you will receive your prescription order from a registered pharmacy supported by our staff. As part of our ongoing support, you will have regular interval blood tests and consultations so we can track your progress throughout the course of your treatment.
Advantages of Private Clinics
No long waits for consultations or bloodwork results.
- With Balance My Hormones you can get treatment approval in as little as 48 hours.
Specialist doctors who are experienced in hormone therapy.
- Our GMC registered doctors are experts in hormone therapy. They will not only provide the best treatment, but they will also guide you through the process with utmost care, comfort, and support.
Specialist equipment to administer treatments.
- Private clinics often have top of the range equipment that aids in our high success rates and efficiency of treatment.
Wider range of treatments and medications
- The NHS can’t provide essential off-licence mediations such as HCG which improves your fertility while on TRT.
- Balance My Hormones aims to treat its patients with their wants and needs in mind. If you have a preferred treatment or concerns such as fertility, we are able to work around that to suggest a treatment that you’re comfortable with.
Monitoring bloodwork and follow up consultations
- Private clinics often provide ongoing care so the progress of your treatment can be closely monitored to produce the highest possibility of treatment success.
Home blood tests
- No need to travel for your blood test, you can complete your blood test in the comfort of your own home. They’re even sent out in discrete packaging!
Disadvantages of Private Clinics
More expensive than NHS route
- Private clinics often take a more bespoke route to TRT which adds to the cost of the overall treatment.
The route to getting TRT through the NHS begins with a GP visit. You’ll discuss your symptoms with your GP, and they’ll decide whether they want to send you off for a blood test to check your testosterone levels. Once you’ve taken your blood test, it will be sent off to be tested by a lab.
Blood Test Results
Once your GP has received your blood test results, they will get in contact with you to schedule a consultation to discuss them. The NHS criteria for receiving TRT is different to that of a private clinic. Most men who manage to get TRT from the NHS have extremely low levels of testosterone. Generally, the NHS requires you to have levels below 8.6 nmol/L which is considered drastically low to most private clinics.
If you fall below this threshold, your GP will refer you to an endocrinologist who will decide which treatment they think will best suit you.
Treatments on the NHS are limited as they do not have access to off-licence medications and have an affinity toward the less expensive and less effective treatments such as testosterone patches and gels. Furthermore, once you begin treatment, it is unlikely you will receive regular follow up consultations to monitor your progress.
Advantages of NHS Route
- The NHS is taxpayer-funded so the only expense you might have is for your prescription.
Disadvantages of NHS Route
Long wait times
- Due to budget cuts, NHS wait times have considerably increased over the last decade. As a result, you can be left waiting months for one endocrinology appointment let alone follow up appointments.
Lack of hormone knowledge among GPs
- Many GP’s lack sufficient TRT knowledge and are likely to equate low testosterone symptoms to other conditions such as depression or anxiety.
Low ‘normal’ testosterone ranges
- The NHS guidelines for normal testosterone levels is very low (compared to private clinics) making it difficult to be diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency and near impossible to receive treatment to relieve your symptoms.
- Unlike most private clinics, the NHS are limited in the treatments they can offer. This means that if you do manage to get approved for treatment, you will have little to no say in what type of TRT you receive.
Other Ways of Receiving TRT
Some Online Pharmacies do sell Testosterone Replacement Therapy that you can buy straight off their website if you have a prescription from your GP. Online pharmacies often do not require an initial consultation, nor do they offer follow up consultations/bloodwork, so it is regarded as one of the more unsafe ways to get TRT.
Getting It Yourself
Sometimes, people from countries where medical provisioning of TRT is lacking will attempt to get TRT by illegal means such as through the black market. Black market TRT is often advertised as high quality and accurately dosed but often, it’s false advertisement. There are many risks with sourcing TRT through the black market including unsanitary conditions during production, laced testosterone to bulk out the product, and many more. We strongly urge you not to source TRT through illegal means as it can result in serious health implications. We advise booking a free consultation with us to talk about your symptoms and treatments available. It’s highly likely we can come up with a working solution for you that will be safer and more beneficial to you in the long run.
Benefits of TRT
TRT is known to have plenty of benefits. Countless studies and scholarly articles prove that TRT can drastically improve the quality of life for men who are suffering from symptoms of low testosterone.
Some benefits of TRT include:
- Improved libido
- Decreased body fat
- Increased energy levels
- Increased brain function and cognitive ability
- Improved sleep
- Decreased risk of diabetes
- Improved body composition and strength
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved ability to handle stress
- Improved bone and joint health
If you feel you may have low testosterone and could benefit from TRT, we urge you to take our 60-second Hormone Imbalance Quiz which will give us a better idea of your symptoms so we can assist you further.
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to picking which route you want to take for your TRT. Both the NHS and private clinics have their good points and bad points, it’s about picking which route best suits your circumstances and expectations from TRT.
TRT is a long-term treatment that requires careful consideration before starting. We hope we have provided some clarity on which route you’d like to go with for your TRT journey and we wish you all the success with your results!