As you become older, testosterone therapy may sound appealing. However, there are numerous myths regarding what the treatment can and cannot accomplish for you.
Testosterone therapy may appear to be the ultimate anti-aging treatment. However, the health advantages of testosterone therapy for age-related testosterone reduction remain unclear.
Learn what is known — and what is unknown — regarding testosterone therapy for normal aging.
What is testosterone replacement therapy?
TRT, also known as testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), is a treatment that doctors provide to men with low testosterone levels and experiencing hypogonadism symptoms.
Prescription testosterone helps restore testosterone levels in the blood, curing the symptoms of low testosterone. It may increase alertness, sexual function, vitality, mood, and overall well-being in those who use it.
How to get TRT?
Even when most people know about the TRT process, the question of how to get TRT still remains. You may only obtain TRT with a prescription. A doctor will only write a prescription after a comprehensive medical history and physical and lab testing if a patient appears with symptoms suggestive of low testosterone levels.
Doctors frequently collect two blood samples before noon, as hormone levels change depending on the exercise, food, and time of day. They may also request imaging scans and other tests, like luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone tests, to establish the source of the low testosterone levels.
What happens to testosterone levels with age?
Testosterone levels typically peak between the ages of puberty and early adulthood. However, your testosterone level generally decreases by 1% yearly beyond 30 or 40. Significantly, older men must establish whether a low testosterone level is related to normal aging or an illness (hypogonadism).
Hypogonadism impairs testosterone production due to an issue with the testicles or the pituitary gland, which controls the testicles.
Benefits of testosterone therapy
TRT can improve sexual function, according to a study, including:
- sexual satisfaction
- symptoms of erectile dysfunction
Further research reveals that TRT can help maintain bone density, and a 2016 study found that TRT can help improve cognitive function and attention span.
Types of testosterone treatments
There are various methods for delivering testosterone, including
Injectable testosterone is a low-cost and widely used type of TRT. A person can have short-acting treatment, which consists of a shot every 1 or 2 weeks, or long-acting treatment, which consists of a shot four weeks after the first and all others ten weeks apart. However, the amount and frequency of medication may differ based on the individual.
Short-acting testosterone is injected beneath the skin or into the muscle, while long-acting testosterone is injected into the gluteal muscles.
TRT can induce variations in testosterone levels, affecting energy levels, libido, mood, and the occurrence of symptoms like breast tenderness.
- Cheek or buccal patches
A buccal patch is placed above the upper teeth and releases testosterone for 12 hours. These patches are typically 30 mg in size. They should be applied twice a day, about 12 hours apart. They can, however, induce headaches and gum and oral discomfort.
- Topical (transdermal)
Gels and creams are commonly used daily—gradual absorption results in more consistent testosterone levels in the blood.
On the other hand, people who use topical therapies must avoid skin-on-skin contact with other people for at least 6 hours following application. It is critical to avoid putting the drug onto other people’s skin, as this can be risky for pregnant women and children.
Topical patches adhere to the skin and remain in place for 24 hours until the next dose is administered, and they are commonly available in doses ranging from 2 to 5 milligrams (mg).
The typical topical gel dosage ranges from 40 to 100 mg daily, depending on the product. Significantly, start with the lowest recommended dose and gradually increase if necessary.
- Testosterone implants or pellets
Testosterone pellets are little plastic pellets implanted beneath the skin by surgeons. The implant is placed in the buttock or upper hip. The pellets disintegrate slowly and can provide TRT for 3-6 months. However, the dosage differs depending on the individual, which you should discuss with a doctor before the initial implantation.
Implant placement is a minor inpatient surgical procedure. To insert the pellets, a doctor makes a small incision in the fatty tissue beneath the skin, and the treatment is carried out under a local anesthetic.
Subtle symptoms of low testosterone
Low testosterone symptoms can be noticeable at times, but they can sometimes be subtle. Men’s testosterone levels naturally fall over time as they age. However, certain situations can also result in a deficient level. Low testosterone symptoms include:
- Low sense of well-being
- Fatigue and poor energy level
- Body and facial hair loss
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased muscle mass
- Difficulty concentrating
A doctor may recommend treatment if men exhibit low testosterone symptoms and testing reveals an abnormally low testosterone level.
If you’re unsure if testosterone therapy is good for you, talk to your doctor about the risks and advantages. Before considering testosterone therapy, your doctor will most likely measure your testosterone levels at least twice. It would be best if you did not treat normal aging with testosterone therapy. However, suppose you don’t have a medical problem causing your testosterone levels to drop. In that case, your doctor can recommend natural testosterone boosters like decreasing weight and boosting muscle strength through resistance training.
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