Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy improves a person’s quality of life by helping them achieve optimal hormone levels. It involves administering hormones to the body either through injections or patches.

Testosterone replacement therapy, commonly known as TRT, is where testosterone, an essential androgen, is supplemented or replaced. TRT primarily addresses the decline in testosterone levels, which can be a natural part of aging or due to certain medical conditions.

Unfortunately, TRT is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The amount of testosterone administered depends on age, medical history, and lifestyle choices. Contrary to popular opinion, TRT is not just for men. Women may also benefit from TRT when they naturally struggle to produce enough of the hormone.

Eastshore Healthcare has successfully handled numerous hormone replacement therapies, and we can handle your situation, too. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

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What Is Testosterone?

Testosterone is the main male sex hormone produced in the testicles. It plays an important role in developing the reproductive tissues, including the prostate and testes, in males. It also promotes secondary sexual traits like increased bone and muscle mass and body hair growth.

Testosterone is also linked to sperm production, red blood cell production, sexual function, fat distribution, and cognitive function.

 

Do testosterone levels change with age?

Generally speaking, testosterone levels peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As you age, your testosterone levels gradually decline, typically between 1-2% per year from as early as age 30.

This gradual decline means that by the time men reach their 50s and 60s, they are more likely to experience noticeable symptoms associated with low testosterone hormone levels.

Although the most significant drop occurs in men in their 50s and 60s, it’s worth noting that even men in their 30s can suffer from low testosterone. Thus, men need to be aware of their testosterone levels and potential symptoms throughout their adult lives, not just in their later years.

Benefits of Testosterone Therapy

The benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include a reduced risk of diabetes and heart attack and stronger bones. TRT also helps increase sexual function and libido, boost your mood and energy levels, and help you maintain lean muscle mass.

This might be shocking, but your testosterone levels are connected to your problem-solving ability. Men with high testosterone levels are at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and are faster thinkers. Men between 34 and 70 can improve their cognitive function and spatial memory with TRT.

How quickly does testosterone therapy work?

The effects of testosterone therapy can be seen in as little as 3 – 4 weeks, beginning with noticeable changes in mood and quality of life. For hormone-related depression, noted improvements occur around 3-6 weeks post-initiation, with continued enhancements potentially lasting up to four to seven months after starting testosterone replacement treatment.

For men with a low sex drive, improvement can be noticed in 3-4 weeks, with full benefits kicking in around the 6-week mark. However, the full benefits may not be realized until six months for cases of erectile dysfunction.

A similar timeline applies to reducing lipids and increasing energy levels. However, improvements will show between 3 and 12 months for insulin sensitivity and blood sugar.

Patients on TRT report feeling calmer, happier, and in better control of their mood.

Before-and-After-TRT

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In response to these universal and natural changes, hormone replacement has grown to be the biggest attraction in our office. Why? Because it’s very effective and very affordable! Even some of our own staff members enjoy the benefits of this life-changing care.

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What Testosterone Levels Qualify for TRT?

Testosterone replacement therapy is prescribed for a man with hypogonadism. According to the American Urological Association, blood tests should indicate testosterone levels below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) for a definitive diagnosis.

However, a single blood test isn’t enough to diagnose low testosterone levels. This is because low testosterone levels vary daily and are affected by medication and diet. For males with testosterone deficiency but the underlying cause, like weight gain, is determined, addressing the cause is recommended before going on TRT.

What Role Does Hypogonadism Play in TRT?

Hypogonadism is central to the need for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT). Hypogonadism is a medical condition characterized by low or inadequate production of testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, by the testes. It can result from various causes, including:

  • Primary Hypogonadism: It occurs when the testes themselves cannot produce sufficient testosterone. Causes include genetic conditions, testicular injury, or chemotherapy.
  • Secondary Hypogonadism: The problem lies in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, which fails to signal the testes to produce testosterone. Possible causes include tumors, medication side effects, or certain chronic illnesses.

TRT is prescribed to individuals with hypogonadism to supplement their testosterone levels. It can help alleviate symptoms associated with low testosterone, such as fatigue, reduced muscle strength, mood changes, decreased libido, and sexual dysfunction. The therapy aims to restore testosterone levels to within a normal range, improving overall well-being and quality of life.

However, TRT must be administered under the supervision of a healthcare provider, as it may have potential side effects and should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs. When considering TRT for hypogonadism, it’s essential to monitor hormone levels and discuss potential risks and benefits with an experienced healthcare professional at Eastshore Healthcare.

How Do I Know If I Have Low Testosterone?

Key indicators for low testosterone include diminished sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss throughout the body, including facial hair. Low testosterone symptoms often vary with age.

For middle-aged men, common symptoms include:

  • Testicles that appear to be shrinking in size.
  • Experiencing hot flashes similar to those of menopause.
  • A significantly low or even absent sperm count, known as azoospermia, leads to male infertility.
  • A persistent feeling of sadness or depression.
  • Trouble focusing, coupled with memory lapses.
  • An increase in body fat.
  • Development of enlarged breast tissue, a condition known as gynecomastia.
  • A decline in muscle strength and mass, leading to reduced athletic performance.
  • A noticeable drop in endurance levels.

Low Testosterone Levels in Children

Low testosterone levels can be particularly concerning for children assigned male at birth, especially if it occurs before or during puberty. The symptoms to be aware of include:

  • A stunted growth in height. However, their limbs might continue growing, leading to a disproportionate body structure.
  • Delayed or reduced development of pubic hair.
  • Slower growth of the penis and testicles than their peers.
  • A voice that doesn’t deepen as expected during puberty.
  • Lower strength and endurance levels compared to children of the same age.

Low testosterone levels can profoundly affect a person’s overall health and well-being. It can lead to reduced muscle mass, increased fatigue, reduced libido, and other physical and emotional issues. Fortunately, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is an effective option for restoring testosterone levels to their normal range and alleviating symptoms associated with low testosterone.

Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

There are several methods of administering TRT. Forms of testosterone replacement therapy administration include:

Gel Application

TRT gels are a popular method of administration. The daily dose, often comparable in size to a ketchup packet, is spread over the upper arms, shoulders, or thighs, depending on the brand you use. After application, the body absorbs the testosterone through the skin, so you should avoid showering or bathing for several hours post-application to ensure optimal absorption.

You should also avoid direct skin contact, which could transfer the testosterone, potentially leading to side effects like acne or unwanted hair growth in women.

Injection

Injections are typically administered under the skin or into a muscle. They are usually given once every ten weeks. While injections can cause testosterone levels to spike for a few days post-administration, they tend to decrease afterward gradually. This fluctuation can result in a “roller-coaster” effect, where a patient can experience highs and lows in energy levels and mood.

Implantable Pellets

Implantable pellets, such as Testopel, offer a longer-term solution. These pellets are surgically inserted under the skin and release testosterone gradually over three to six months. This method provides a steady dose of testosterone without requiring daily or weekly administration. However, it does require a minor surgical procedure to implant the pellets.

Patch

The Androderm patch is a Transdermal testosterone replacement method that involves adhering a patch to the skin, typically on the torso or thigh. This patch gradually releases testosterone into the bloodstream.

It’s designed to be applied nightly, ensuring a consistent dose of testosterone. However, this application method can cause severe skin reactions at the application site for those sensitive to adhesives.

Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Have Side Effects?

The potential side effects of testosterone replacement therapy should also be considered when deciding whether or not to pursue a treatment plan.

TRT is generally safe and effective, but it can cause complications if not monitored properly. These include increased risk of blood clots, sleep apnea, enlarged prostate, and acne. In some cases, TRT may even lead to reduced sperm production and fertility issues.

  • Sleep apnea – A notable side effect of TRT, sleep apnea is a condition characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. If not addressed, this can be a serious disorder, leading to fatigue, cardiovascular issues, and other complications.
  • Acne – Testosterone therapy can lead to various skin issues, including acne. These skin reactions can range from mild irritations to more severe conditions, depending on the individual’s sensitivity and the method of testosterone delivery.
  • An enlarged prostate – It can also stimulate noncancerous prostate growth, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Moreover, if an individual has undiagnosed or existing prostate cancer, testosterone therapy might accelerate its growth.

With the above possible side effects, it’s crucial for anyone considering or undergoing TRT to have regular check-ups and communicate any concerns or changes to their healthcare provider. Monitoring and early detection can help manage and mitigate potential side effects.

Who Is Not a Candidate for TRT

Given the known risks of TRT, we recommend males at a higher risk of prostate cancer, have serious urinary symptoms from prostate enlargement, have a heart disease, or have suffered a heart attack not undergo TRT.

There are a few other factors to consider when deciding if testosterone replacement therapy is the right choice. It is important to recognize that while TRT may be an effective treatment for some, it may not work as well for others. Before beginning any form of hormone therapy, it’s necessary to consult with a doctor and discuss the potential risks and benefits.

At What Age Does Testosterone Drop the Most?

Testosterone levels naturally decline as men age. Typically, men begin to lose about 1-2% of their testosterone annually starting in their 30s. This gradual decline means that by the time men reach their 50s and 60s, they are more likely to experience noticeable symptoms associated with low testosterone hormone levels.

While the most significant drop tends to occur during the 50s and 60s, it’s worth noting that even men in their 30s can suffer from low testosterone. Thus, men need to be aware of their levels of testosterone and potential symptoms throughout their adult life, not just in their later years.

Consult with East Shore Healthcare

Navigating the world of hormone replacement therapy can be complex, but with the right guidance and expertise, it can be a transformative journey. As with any medical treatment, it’s essential to be informed, understand the potential risks, and work with professionals who prioritize your well-being.

At Eastshore Healthcare, located in the heart of Harrisburg, PA, we see you as an individual with unique needs. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive care tailored to your specific requirements.

We integrate various physical medicine practices to ensure you receive the best treatment. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re considering testosterone replacement therapy or seeking guidance on related health concerns. Schedule a free consultation with us today.