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What To Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy For Men

As people age, it’s natural to experience changes in body functions, cognitive ability, sleep behaviors, and physical strength. These are usually caused by the hormone imbalance that occurs when the body stops producing enough amount of hormones to sustain normal function. Hormone replacement therapy is known for helping menopausal women ease symptoms of estrogen imbalance but it can be just as effective for testosterone deficiency in men.

So how does HRT help men with symptoms of low testosterone level? Hormone therapy for men is also known as testosterone replacement therapy. It works to restore normal healthy levels to the male hormone and enhances alertness, motivation, energy levels, and libido in men. Testosterone supplementation can be safely taken in different forms like patches, gel, injections, and pellets. If you’re considering TRT, you should consult with your doctor first.

Understanding Hormonal Imbalance In Men

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and they are essential for regulating overall health, growth, reproduction, and well-being. In men, androgens, which include testosterone, are the main sex hormones that is responsible for the makeup of male characteristics, sexual traits, and reproductive functions. 

Once men reach the age of 30, the release of testosterone from the organs is reduced by 1% every year. Early signs of hormone deficiency usually go unnoticed so if you’re worried about your testosterone levels then your doctor may perform a blood test or serum testosterone test.

Once men reach the age of 30, male hormone imbalance begins and the release of testosterone reduces by 1% every year. Early signs of hormone deficiency usually go unnoticed so if you’re worried about your testosterone levels then your doctor may perform a blood test or serum testosterone test.

Based on the guidelines of the American Urology Association, the testosterone level for a healthy man should fall around an average of 300 nanograms per deciliter. Any blood test result below the normal baseline would give you the diagnosis of having testosterone deficiency.

Risk factors for male hormone imbalance include overweight, obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, high fat diet, and metabolic syndrome like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Low testosterone may also be a side effect of radiation therapy or chemotherapy for cancer patients. Tumors that are present in the pituitary gland such as pituitary adenomas may affect the release of signals needed to produce testosterone and lead to hormone deficiency. Others may have a medical disorder that affects the production of testosterone like Klinefelter syndrome and hypogonadism.

Do Men Also Experience Menopause? 

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The simple answer is yes. Menopause is a term that describes the life-changing event when a woman’s period stops. On the flip side, male menopause pertains to hormone-related changes that happen due to aging. This age-related hormone imbalance in men can also be called andropause

Because testosterone is essential in regulating most functions and behavior in men, the significant drop in hormones during andropause can result in symptoms that can significantly affect the quality of life. Some of the telltale signs of male menopause that hormone replacement therapy can treat are:

  • Erectile dysfunction: Healthy testosterone levels have a link with the ability of men to have quality erections. This can also happen when there is a reduced blood flow to the penis and other factors like hypertension, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessel, and heart disease should also be considered.  
  • Decrease in sexual drive or libido: Because testosterone is responsible for encouraging normal sexual function, men with hormone deficiency will also experience a noticeable reduction in sexual drive as they age.  
  • Low energy levels: Constant feelings of exhaustion and fatigue are also common in men during andropause. This may affect your motivation for movement and exercise and lower your levels of physical activeness.
  • Reduced bone density: Due to low T levels, men also become more prone to weak and brittle bones. This can increase risks for osteoporosis and other bone-related fractures and injuries.
  • Low muscle mass: A decrease in muscle mass means loss of strength and function of your body muscles. Muscles are also needed by the body to burn calories and with reduced muscle tissues, it may be difficult to lose calories and weight. 
  • Changes in memory and cognitive function: Low testosterone levels can also affect a man’s thinking and comprehensive abilities. Older men may notice that they experience frequent ‘brain fog’ or situations where it is difficult to concentrate or express their thoughts and words.
  • Hot flashes: Like women in menopause, men can also experience sensations of sudden warmth or heat spreading through their upper body, face, and chest. It can also cause sweating and skin reddening.
  • Increase in body fat: Low T can also signal the buildup of excess body fat. In addition, some men may experience an increase in their breast tissue leading to gynecomastia or breast enlargement. 
  • Irritability, mood swings, and depression: Low male hormones can affect emotional wellbeing in men, resulting in frequent mood changes and feelings of increased anxiety, nervousness, and depression.
  • Difficulty sleeping: Some patients will also experience recurrent sleep problems, insomnia, and mild to moderate symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • Risks for serious health conditions: In the long run, testosterone deficiency is associated with increased risks for health problems like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol diseases.  

Why You Should Consider Testosterone Therapy 

The decision to get testosterone hormone replacement therapy ultimately falls on the male patient. Once the signs of hormone imbalance start interfering with your daily activities and negatively impacts your enjoyment in life, it may be time to visit your primary health physician to discuss the possibilities of getting the testosterone treatment.

Upon consultation with your doctor, you’ll find that you may benefit from getting testosterone therapy in more ways than you think. For one, testosterone hormone treatment aims to achieve a stable balance in male hormone levels and there are different forms of medications that can help supply testosterone in your system.

Bringing back normal testosterone levels helps to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone therapy can restore sexual drive and improve erectile function. It also promotes good bone health, improving bone density to protect against injuries and bone fractures. Older men diagnosed with osteoporosis may also notice improvements in their condition when undergoing HRT.

Testosterone therapy is also linked with the increase in the activity of dopamine and serotonin. These two are basic neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for elevating mood, pleasure, and overall happiness. With the increase in testosterone, men will experience boosts in their emotional well-being and alleviate symptoms of depression.

Men taking testosterone hormone treatments will also see improvements in their body composition and muscle mass. The treatment can reduce fat and increase muscle mass so you can better control your weight. Combining the therapy with strength-training and cardio exercises to build muscle can let you enjoy better results.

In addition, testosterone therapy can improve thinking and memory function in aging men. Multiple studies also suggest that the hormone replacement treatment may have protective benefits against neurological diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Testosterone is thought to promote healthy brain tissues which delay the degeneration of the brain to prevent early onset of neurological conditions.  

What Are The Different Testosterone Treatment Options? 

Man consulting with practitioner

The basic principle of hormone replacement therapy is that it uses synthetic hormone that is available in a number of preparations such as patches, gels, tablets, injectables, and implanted pellets. To determine the best course of hormone treatment, your HRT provider will consider your medical history, current health condition, and lifestyle.  

  • Gels: A testosterone gel is applied topically either on the arms, shoulders, or thighs. In this method, the hormone is absorbed by your body through the skin. After applying the gel, you should avoid skin-to-skin contact with another person or wear long-sleeved clothing to avoid transferring the medication. Also, you should wait for the gel to be fully absorbed by the skin before wetting the treatment area.  
  • Patches:  A skin patch allows transdermal application of the testosterone hormone to the bloodstream. It is usually worn once a day on the upper arms, thighs, abdomen, or back.  
  • Injections: Testosterone injections deliver the hormones directly to the system via intramuscular application. The injections are usually given every seven to fourteen days at a doctor’s office. This may cause fluctuating levels of hormones for a few days and you may experience side effects like mood swings and shifts in energy levels.
  • Pellets: Testosterone pellets are small implants that are inserted under the skin. They contain crystallized form of the hormone and it will release a steady low dose in the blood stream for up to six months.
  • Oral therapy: Testosterone is also available in pills or capsule forms which is taken twice a day after meals. Another option for oral therapy is sticking a small substance to your gumline, near your cheeks, and it allows the testosterone to be slowly absorbed through the oral tissues.

Doctors may also recommend taking bioidentical hormones. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a type of treatment that uses compounded medication which contain bioidentical testosterone made from plant sources. With bioidentical hormone treatment, you can also receive custom formulation and dosage that is tailor fitted to your needs. 

Many producers of bioidentical hormone therapy claim that this form of HRT is a safer alternative since its chemical compositions are similar to the natural hormone found in the body.  However, there’s not enough evidence yet to support that claim. Patients interested in taking bioidentical hormones should only do so under the guidance of their physician and they must understand the possible risks and side effects. 

What Are The Side Effects And Risks Of Testosterone Therapy? 

The side effects of receiving testosterone therapy, whether via traditional or bioidentical hormones, are almost the same. Some of the common side effects are:

  • Weight gain
  • Skin reactions like acne or oily skin
  • Increase in red blood cell count
  • Breast swelling or tenderness
  • Swelling in the ankles
  • Decrease in testicle size
  • Limited sperm production
  • Sleep disturbances

While testosterone treatment is safe and effective for males suffering from low T, it may not be recommended for patients with history or diagnosis of heart problems, previous heart attack or stroke, or severe urinary tract disease.

Men with prostate cancer are also advised against taking testosterone therapy. That is because prostate cancer cells feed on testosterone and they may grow while taking the treatment. Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer can safely take another form of hormone therapy which suppresses the release of androgen.  

Reminders If You Want To Get Male Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Smiling young dad giving piggyback ride to son on street while looking away

You shouldn’t self-prescribe hormone replacement therapy on your own. If you want to get the treatment, schedule a consultation with your physician to weigh the pros and cons of the hormone therapy. They’ll also assess if your condition requires the treatment or if there are other alternatives that you can try. You also need the accurate diagnosis to determine which medications you will need.

Once you start the testosterone treatment, regular maintenance checkups and follow-up visits are required to see how you are responding to the therapy. If you’re experiencing prolonged side effects, your doctor may recommend changes to your hormone treatment plan or adjust your dosage.

Likewise, you shouldn’t be negligent on keeping a good health and active lifestyle while on testosterone therapy. Regular exercise should be maintained to promote healthy blood flow and encourage natural production of testosterone. You should also maintain a proper diet and include foods rich in protein and healthy fats to your daily meals.   

Taking precautions to manage chronic conditions and avoid increasing your sugar and cholesterol levels can also help lessen complications from the hormone therapy. Lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking, and stopping alcohol use can also help maintain good hormone health.

Get Your Personalized HRT Plans At Revitalize You MD 

Hormone replacement therapy is a proven safe and effective treatment that helps improve quality of life both for men and women. At Revitalize You MD, we can formulate a specific dosage for your testosterone therapy to ensure that it efficiently meets your needs.

Our doctors and expert staff will diagnose your condition first before treating you with hormone replacement products. We’re committed to providing high-quality hormone treatments so you can relieve yourself from the uncomfortable effects of aging and hormone changes. Call us today to schedule your appointment.


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