To Do or Not to Do
Throughout adolescence of young adult men, testosterone plays a big part of their lives and in return it gets a heavy blame. It’s the cause of short patience, aggressive behavior, competitive behavior and sexual frustration. However, in adulthood, testosterone still plays a star role in the lives of men, however now in the other direction. No longer having too much of a good thing the problem is having too little, so what to do?
It seems that as men grow older, their levels of testosterone decreases and although most men have plenty to spare, a decrease in testosterone can cause much more than a decrease in sexual drive. Testosterone plays an important role in many bodily functions and a drop in its level can result in fatigue, infertility, depression and osteoporosis.
A recent study shows that as many as four in every ten men over the age of forty-five, suffer from below normal levels of testosterone. It’s a proven fact that as men age, their ability to produce high levels of testosterone decreases. Symptoms may include a drop in energy levels, erectile dysfunction, and a low libido. However, have no fear, there are options available.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy, What is it?
Quite frankly, testosterone replacement therapy is a method of replacing the declining hormone, in this case, testosterone. There are multiple ways to receive testosterone replacement therapy including injections, patches, gels, and pellets.
Injections: Although quick and effortless, this type of method does provide the greatest range of levels of replacement therapy. In the beginning a high dose is admitted, however it fades very rapidly and by the end there is little hormone left. This can almost produce mood like swings and an injection is required every two weeks.
Gels: Gels are to be applied as a daily habitual routine. They are usually applied in the morning and then slowly absorbed throughout the day. The process usually takes four to six hours for the gel to be completely absorbed and it is somewhat of a sticky process. If these gels are used consistently and when scheduled they do provide a steady stream of testosterone. The problem with the gels is like the pill is for women, men must remember to apply the same time every day otherwise the effects may be inconsistent.
Patches: The testosterone patch is very much like a smoker’s patch. You put one on approximately once every 24 hours; the hormone is then absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream. This method is an adequate and steady supply of long term replacement therapy. Side effects may include skin irritation.
Pellets: Pellets are implantable and are becoming more and more popular amongst users as they tend to last a lot longer, approximately four months and they tend to be quite an inexpensive form of therapy replacement.
Side Effects and Risks
Each method of testosterone replacement therapy has its own list of pros and cons so be sure to do your research beforehand. However the main category of side effects is as follows:
- An increases in the size of your prostate
- Water retention
- Sleep apnea
- Lower sperm count
- Increase in platelet count
Be careful when using certain types of testosterone replacement therapy not to pass it on or expose it to your loved ones, such as wife and/or children this can alter their hormonal balance and actually poison them.
Who Shouldn’t Use Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Although Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a great alternative for a lot of men, it is not the answer for all. For example, if you are still wanting children, this type of hormone therapy may not be the answer for you. This is because testosterone therapy actually tells the brains receptors that there is enough testosterone and thus tells the body, or more specifically the testis, to then stop producing sperm which is required to reproduce.
Also men who have previous symptoms of prostate cancer or male breast cancer should not go on this type of hormone replacement.
How Do I Know?
If you are curious to know whether you may suffer from low testosterone levels all you need to do is speak with your doctor. With a simple blood test, they will be able to identify whether or not you are suffering from low levels of the hormone and will suggest appropriate methods and options. Other factors may be present in causing similar symptoms such as obesity and/or depression so be sure to consult with your physician first.
Some common symptoms of lowered levels of testosterone include but are not limited to:
- A drop in energy levels
- The development of breast tissue
- Loss of body hair
- Small or shrinking testicles
- Bone density loss
- Memory Loss
- Erectile dysfunction
If you suffer from any of these symptoms be sure to discuss with your doctor. Although Testosterone Replacement Therapy is not the answer for everyone it may be an alternative option for you to consider in accordance with a healthy lifestyle and choices.