TRT in the UK

Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Starting TRT

Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Starting TRT

By Mike Kocsis | 7 minutes read | Last updated: October 25, 2022
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    If your doctor has suggested TRT, there are some important questions you need to ask them before getting started. These questions will help you better understand the process, remove your doubts, and learn what to expect.

    In this article, we have mentioned some questions that you should ask your doctor. We have also provided their expert answers. But, since each TRT case is unique, we advise you to get more specific answers from your doctor.

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    What exactly is low T? Why do I have it?

    Low T (low testosterone) is exactly what its name says. It is a condition in which your body does not produce enough testosterone – a hormone that turns boys into men. It deepens their voice, starts facial hair growth, increases muscle size, and controls sex drive.

    Low T occurs when your testicles are not doing their job, or they are not getting signals from the pituitary gland to produce it. Your doctor will conduct certain tests to identify the underlying cause of your condition.

    A decline in testosterone levels also occurs as men age. It is a natural phenomenon. Around 40% of men over the age of 45 have testosterone levels lower than normal. However, some may develop this condition earlier due to health issues like diabetes, obesity, etc.

     

    What are the treatment options for low T?

    In most cases, doctors suggest testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to men with several low T symptoms. In TRT, your doctor prescribes testosterone-boosting products that restore your testosterone levels.

    These products can be in different forms, such as gels, patches, injections, pellets, pills, etc. This treatment has gained acceptance and popularity over the last few years. Millions of men around the world have turned to this therapy and have seen it reduce their low T symptoms.

    Your doctor may suggest an alternative solution based on what’s really causing low T in your body. For instance, if it is due to obesity, they may first address this issue.

     

    What are the different types of TRT? Which is better for me?

    TRT is given in different forms. Some of these forms are:

    • Gels: It is applied to the skin once a day. Testosterone gets absorbed into the body through the skin. Some forms of gels are applied inside the nose.
    • Skin patches: They are applied to the upper body parts.
    • Injections: Testosterone is injected into muscles, from where it enters your bloodstream.

    You can choose any form of TRT based on what you find more convenient. Almost all forms of TRT provide similar results, but they may have different side effects. A study found that testosterone injections cause fewer side effects (particularly cardiovascular issues) than testosterone patches or gel.

    Ask your doctor for the pros and cons of each TRT form. Choose the one that you find the most suitable.

     

    How will you determine the optimal testosterone dose for me?

    Your doctor will determine the initial dose based on how low your testosterone level is and what your current health condition is. They will then analyse the effects of the prescribed dose and may adjust/alter it based on how your body responds.

     

    How long after starting TRT will I feel a difference?

    Before starting TRT, you need to understand that the therapy does not show results overnight. Its benefits appear after 4 to 6 weeks of starting the treatment, and then they accumulate over time.

    One of the first differences that men notice is the improvement in their sex life. In the weeks that follow, they can expect the following benefits.

     

    How long does a TRT shot last?

    A testosterone shot usually lasts for up to 2 weeks. You will have to take your next shot after 2 weeks; otherwise, your testosterone levels will decline to pre-therapy levels.

     

    Once I start testosterone therapy, can I stop? / What can happen if I stop taking TRT?

    TRT is not a cure for low T. It increases your blood testosterone levels as long as you take the prescribed testosterone dose. Once you stop taking testosterone, your blood testosterone level will decline to what it used to be before treatment. Your low T symptoms (muscle mass reduction, low sex drive, fatigue, mood changes) will also return.

     

    Will I be monitored while on TRT?

    Most doctors monitor the effects of TRT on a patient’s body for as long as they has the treatment. Your testosterone levels are checked after 3 and 6 months of starting treatment via blood testing. If your testosterone levels are normal, your current dose will stay the same. But if they are low, your dose will be adjusted accordingly.

    Your doctor will test your prostate cancer risk at the start of the treatment, after 6 months of starting the treatment, and then once a year. They will evaluate your testosterone and red blood cell levels annually throughout the course of treatment.

    This process can vary from clinic to clinic. You should talk in detail to your doctor to learn how they will monitor your health while you are on TRT.

     

    Are there any risks and side effects of TRT?

    Some studies report the following risks and side effects of TRT.

    Doctors usually conduct different tests before initiating TRT. These tests are performed to make sure you are in good health and do not have a condition that can worsen over time due to TRT. They do not advise TRT to patients who have the following health conditions.

    • Sleep apnea
    • Prostate cancer
    • Breast cancer
    • Uncontrolled health failure
    • Severe urinary tract infection

    Tell your doctor your medical history without any hesitation. Talk about side effects and risks in detail to make sure you choose the safe treatment option.

     

    Is there any natural way to boost my testosterone?

    Some doctors prescribe natural ways of boosting testosterone levels to some patients. These ways may work for some and may not have any effect on others. For instance, your doctor may tell you to exercise and lose weight if you are overweight. This natural method will work for you if the reason behind your low T is your weight.

    Some natural ways that may help some people improve their testosterone levels are:

    • Eating a balanced diet consisting of protein, healthy fats, and carbs
    • Managing your stress levels and reducing the production of cortisol (stress hormone)
    • Eating natural testosterone-boosting food items
    • Taking quality sleep at night
    • Increasing your vitamin D3 intake
    • Adopting a healthy lifestyle

     

    Other questions to ask your doctor

    In addition to the questions mentioned above, you should also ask the following questions to make the whole procedure smoother and easier.

    What is your qualification?

    Many physicians in the UK offer TRT therapy, but not all of them can be trusted. Therefore, you need to do your homework before selecting a physician. Learn about your physician’s qualifications, certification, and experience. You can find this information on his official website or directly ask about it during an appointment.

    Will I have follow-up sessions?

    Yes, all TRT patients have follow-up sessions. Ask your TRT doctor when you are supposed to visit them again after you first take your testosterone.

    What do you expect from me?

    If you want testosterone to show positive effects, you must take an active role in this treatment. Your physician may guide you about diet, exercise, stress management, sleep routine, and other elements contributing to your testosterone levels.

    How to prepare for your first TRT consultation?

    If you have your first TRT appointment soon, you might be confused about what to expect or do. In that case, these tips will help you get the most out of your TRT appointment.

    • Gather all the necessary documents your doctor asked you to collect. It could be related to your test reports or medical history.
    • Write down all the questions and confusions you have in mind on paper (or you can note them down on your phone).
    • Bring someone you trust with you, so if you forget an important point shared by your doctor during the consultation, that person can remind you about it in the future.
    • Ask your doctor about all the potential treatment options. Ask them to give you sincere advice and help you select the best possible solution.

    By the end of the consultation, you will have a clear picture in your mind and know what will really happen within your body due to TRT. You will have a proper roadmap and know how to tackle issues that may arise during treatment.

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    Summing it up

    TRT is a life-long therapy that you may have to receive throughout your life to keep your testosterone levels normal. Therefore, it is important to ask all the questions you have in mind to your doctor and get your confusion resolved. Doing so will also help you feel better and have more confidence in your decision.

     

    References

    https://blogs.webmd.com/mens-health/20181109/do-you-need-testosterone-therapy-5-questions-to-ask

    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism

    Corona, G., Torres, L.O. and Maggi, M., 2020. Testosterone therapy: what we have learned from trials. The journal of sexual medicine, 17(3), pp.447-460.

    Al-Zoubi, R.M., Yassin, A.A., Alwani, M., Al-Qudimat, A., Aboumarzouk, O.M., Zarour, A. and Al Ansari, A., 2021. A systematic review on the latest developments in testosterone therapy: Innovations, advances, and paradigm shifts. Arab Journal of Urology, 19(3), pp.370-375.

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    Evidence Based Research

    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.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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