The Benefits And Risks Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone therapy can make a man feel like a man again. Many men suffering from Low T have reported improvement in energy levels, returned sex drive, as well as significant improvement in mood. So if these are the results of testosterone treatment, why not prescribe the treatment wide spread without much thought on the matter? One fact that must be recognized is that low testosterone levels may not always require treatment. Testosterone treatment has its side effects, and while the treatment can be beneficial, the side effects over long treatment periods are not fully known. For this reason, only those men suffering the symptoms of low testosterone should be considered for treatment.
Testosterone levels naturally decline as men approach 40 years of age and many times the onset of symptoms appear gradually. Some typical symptoms are low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, onset of depression, and irritability. If any of these symptoms exist and testing confirms low testosterone levels, your physician may recommend testosterone replacement therapy. However, many men may have low testosterone levels yet suffer no symptoms because of it; for those men, treatment is generally not recommended.
Testosterone replacement therapy is available in several forms, and any one of these variations may improve a patients testosterone levels. Skin patches, sometimes called transdermal treatment, is a patch worn on the skin, usually on that of the arm, being applied on a daily bases. AndroGel and Testim are testosterone gels, applied and absorbed directly through the skins surface and these are applied on a daily bases as well.
Striant, a mouth patch, is a tablet that adheres onto the upper gums. This treatment is applied twice daily and is a continuous release type of treatment allowing the medication to gradually enter the blood stream through the oral tissues. Injections are yet another treatment method. Testosterone is injected directly into the patients’ muscles, allowing the body to slowly absorb testosterone into the bloodstream.
The Benefits of Testosterone Therapy
The benefits can be somewhat difficult to predict, as every patient tends to react differently to any one of these treatment methods. In general, men report improved energy levels, as well as an increase in libido and firmer longer lasting erections. Testosterone also enhances bone density, muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity. Patients generally report an improvement in mood and general outlook. However, it should be understood that reactions to these treatments tend to be individual in nature.
What Are the Risks Involved With Testosterone Therapy ?
Some mild side effects that have been reported include rashes, itching, and/or irritation at the application site. Certain health conditions can worsen if testosterone treatment is implemented. For this reason, physicians will need to know if you have any of the following medical conditions. Benign prostatic hypertrophy is a condition in which the prostate grows when it is stimulated by testosterone.
Generally, men’s prostates naturally grow larger with age. However, testosterone replacement therapy can aggravate this condition. In addition, if the patient has prostate cancer, testosterone treatments are not recommended as it has been shown that testosterone will stimulates prostatic tumors.
Generally, physicians will test a patient for prostate cancer before employing testosterone replacement therapy of any kind. Erythrocytosis or high blood counts will be cause for concern because testosterone treatments will put the patient at greater risk for other health problems. Those men suffering with congestive heart failure will usually be denied testosterone replacement, as the condition usually will worsen with testosterone treatment.
Testosterone therapy can be the answer for those men who suffer the symptoms of low T; however, thorough testing will be a necessary first step. Information gleaned from those tests performed will determine if treatment is recommended, or for that matter, if treatment is even possible.
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