If someone is diagnosed with low T (testosterone), then testosterone replacement therapy, commonly called TRT, provides several benefits. However, there are risks to be aware of, too.
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Are There Any Potential Risks Related to Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
The short answer to this is yes. TRT can have side effects. For example, it may cause oily skin or acne, a low sperm count that causes infertility, an increased risk of blood clots, and testicles shrinkage. Potential other side effects include an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack and larger breasts.
Should Testosterone Replacement Therapy be Avoided if Someone is Dealing with Certain Conditions?
There is information from the Endocrine Society that says a person should not have TRT if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer or prostate cancer. However, there are other studies that have suggested that men who have been treated successfully for prostate cancer could be a candidate for TRT if they are watched for any signs of disease. Before beginning TRT, a doctor needs to access the individual’s risk for developing prostate cancer.
In some situations, a doctor may tell someone not to seek TRT treatment if they are dealing with certain conditions. This includes obstructive sleep apnea, urinary tract issues, enlarged prostate, high red blood cell counts, and severe congestive heart failure. TRT is not good to use for those who are dealing with low testosterone because of aging.
Can ED be Treated with Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If someone has low testosterone, TRT can restore their ability to have strong and healthy erections and may even boost their sex drive. ED has several other potential causes, too. In many cases, low testosterone is not the cause or the only cause of ED. It is best for an individual to talk to their doctor to determine the underlying issue.
Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy Treatment Options
There are a few options when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy.
One option is patches. These are simple to use and apply. However, the patches can also cause rashes on the skin and may have to be used more than one time per day. Another option is a gel. It is possible to rub the gel into the skin each day. This option is convenient; however, it is essential that the user is cautious when using it. They cannot allow the treated area to touch or come in contact with anyone else for a few hours after applying it. If this happens, they could get testosterone into the other person’s system. It is now possible to purchase a nasal gel, which will eliminate the exposure risk.
Another option for testosterone therapy is a buccal patch. This is applied to the upper arm, two times per day. The patches are convenient; however, they can result in gum disease or irritation. An injection can be used two to 10 weeks apart. They are very affordable compared to other treatment options. However, injections do not always provide steady or consistent results. The person’s testosterone levels are going to fall between the doses.
For something that is more long-lasting, subcutaneous pellets are available. A doctor will put these beneath the skin every three to six months. They are extremely convenient after being put in but will require minor surgery each time they are used.
How Do Doctors Monitor Patient’s Undergoing Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
A doctor will measure a person’s testosterone level at the three and six-month mark after treatment starts. After this testing, an individual will be tested one time per year. If testosterone levels are fine, they will remain on the same dose.
If a person’s testosterone levels are too low, the dose could be adjusted. When testing testosterone levels, a doctor will check a person’s red blood cell levels, as well. In about one to two years of TRT, a doctor can measure the person’s bone density if they were dealing with osteoporosis when treatment was started. A doctor will also evaluate the individual’s risk of prostate cancer when treatment begins. Additional tests may be done at the three- and the six-month marks, too. After that, they will be conducted annually.
Anyone who is undergoing TRT needs to call for medical help right away if they have certain symptoms. These symptoms include chest pain, slurred speech, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, weakness in just one side of their body.
How Long is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Needed?
When someone begins taking TRT, they will have to stay with the treatment indefinitely. It is important to note that TRT is not designed to cure cases of low testosterone. This means that the symptoms may return if the person stops taking the prescribed treatment.
Speak to a Doctor about Low Testosterone Treatment
When it comes to low T treatment, there are several factors to consider. If a man suspects they are dealing with this issue, it is a good idea to set up an appointment with their doctor. By doing this, they can find out if this type of treatment may be beneficial. Being informed is one of the best ways to know if this type of treatment is needed and if it is going to provide the desired outcome for an individual.
Remember, each case of low T is unique. This means it is up to an individual and their doctor to find the right treatment option. Usually, one of the TRT methods mentioned above will be effective. In the long run, this may be the treatment the individual has sought for years.