Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be used to balance the hormone in the body.
When levels of testosterone are low, it is possible to experience a range of symptoms, such as:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased muscle mass
When to Consider TRT
When testosterone goes below 300 ng/dL, men and their doctors might consider further testing to determine if TRT might be beneficial. This level may be explored if men have experienced the following:
- Unexplained anemia
- Bone density loss
- Radiation to the testicles
- Chronic narcotic use
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Low-trauma bone fracture
- Positive HIV/AIDS test results
- History of infertility
- Insulin resistance
- History of corticosteroid use
- History of chemotherapy use
There are several ways men might take testosterone if it is prescribed. The first is the transdermal approach. This comes in the form of topical gels, liquids, creams, or patches. When applying these, it must be to an area where there is no skin damage or irritation. The area should not be washed until the next dose is going to be administered. Always apply with clean hands and ensure that no one else touches the area or the medication.
There are oral options, and the most common is the dissolvable form. The patient will place the tablet in the mouth and then it dissolves. There is also a buccal patch that can be placed above an incisor tooth.
Pellets that steadily administer testosterone are another option. The pellets are placed under the skin, usually in the buttock or a hip. The skin is numbed, a small incision made, and the pellets are inserted. Depending on how many pellets are placed, this can last for three to six months.
Injections can be performed as well. There are both long-acting and short-acting forms. The medicine may be injected into a muscle or just under the skin. The doctor will let the patient know how often the injections need to be repeated.
Intranasal is an additional administration option. This is a gel, and the patient will pump it into their nose via the nostrils. This option usually requires the patient to pump the gel into the nose about three times each day.
Possible TRT Side Effects
It is important for men to be aware of the side effects so that they know what to look out for when they are undergoing TRT. For anything applied to the skin or injections, it is possible to have some redness or irritation at the application or injection side. Other possible side effects may include:
- Normal sperm production interruption
- Risk of increased erythrocytosis
Those with certain health conditions may not be able to receive testosterone replacement therapy. Men should disclose their full medical history to their doctor before getting this therapy. These conditions include:
• Benign prostatic hypertrophy
• Sleep apnea
• Congestive heart failure
• Prostate cancer
• Blood clots
Before agreeing to testosterone replacement therapy, men should talk to their doctors and ensure that they have realistic expectations. It is also important to use this therapy exactly as prescribed.