Truth about TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy)

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is responsible for the growth and development of sexual organs, public hair, deepening of the voice, growth of facial hair, and development of muscles in the male. However, growing age and some other factors may cause the levels of naturally-producing testosterone to fall for which medical practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy or TRT to men and even women.

 

Symptoms Of Low Testosterone In Men

 

In aging men, low testosterone levels have often been referred to as “male menopause.” Some of the symptoms of low testosterone in men include low interest in sex, reduced bone density, anemia, small or soft testicles, muscle weakness, tiredness, weight gain (especially around the waist), and depression. Signs such as decreasing body hair, changes in cholesterol and lipids levels, difficulties in concentration and memory, moodiness, and anxiety may be considered as symptoms of low testosterone in men. Low levels of the male sex hormone may even result in lethargy, glucose problems, poor serum Hematocrit, low red and white blood cells, and increase in Prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

 

Causes Of Low Testosterone

 

Below-normal testosterone levels can be experienced by some men because of conditions such as undescended testicles, specific genetic problems, and varicoceles and failure to treat low testosterone levels puts men at increased risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, frailty, and Alzheimer’s disease in rare cases. Some of the other factors that may contribute to low testosterone levels in men include injury, infections, obesity, and tumors on the pituitary gland.

 

Why To Treat Low Testosterone Levels

 

Low levels of testosterone may even reduce insulin sensitivity[1] to reduced muscle mass, making diabetes worse. Men with low testosterone levels, abnormal lipid profiles, insulin insensitivity, and weight gain around the middles are even more likely to experience a condition called metabolic syndrome, which is a pre-diabetic state.

 

According to a study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 2010, testosterone supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass and body strength in healthy older men.[2] Some studies have even suggested that men with low testosterone (also called low T) are at an increased risk for debilitating conditions caused by osteoporosis, like hip fractures and experience declining bone density.

 

Testosterone replacement therapy can easily help men reduce the risks of coronary artery disease (CAD) and hypertension besides decreasing the levels of total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL levels. TRT is also associated with decreasing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic disorders and keeping thinking sharp, and lowering the risk of dementia. It may even improve cardiac function in patients with pre-existing heart disease. Thousands of men who have undergone TRT have applauded its benefits, including more strength, better muscle mass, improved sexual function, higher energy levels, clearer thinking, a renewed zest for life, reduced cholesterol, and good blood sugar control.

 

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

 

Popularly known as TRT, testosterone replacement therapy is the supplementation of synthetic or natural testosterone in men who have become deficient in the male sex hormone that is a common sight because of aging. This replacement therapy has become an accepted form of providing assistance to men with low levels of testosterone. With this therapy, men with low testosterone levels can benefit in limitless ways, including re-established sexual functions and playing a role in muscle tone and mass, calcium retention, masculinizing effects, mood, red blood cell production and other essential functions.

 

Low levels of testosterone can be identified with a simple blood test and the test is usually ordered in the morning hours when the testosterone levels are highest. Normal total levels of testosterone range from 300 – 1000 ng/dL and testosterone replacement therapy may be recommended for levels below 350 ng/dL. Testosterone levels between 500-700 ng/dL are considered adequate for healthy and young men from 20-40 years of age.

 

Men undergo TRT for treating deficiency of testosterone caused by chronic illness, genetic abnormalities, stress, and alcoholism, injury to the testicles, aging, and some diseases. After the therapy has been completed, men can expect dramatic benefits in terms of improved sexual desire and function, increased bone mineral density, improved body composition and muscle mass, improved mood, energy and quality of life, and improved cognitive function. After the therapy, men can expect dramatic rise in the levels of testosterone within two weeks or so, depending on the type of TRT, and the symptoms of low T can get resolved within a month or two.

 

This therapy can also be useful for helping men experience significant improvements in erections and quantity and quality of sexual activities, and the pleasure associated with them. Testosterone replacement therapy can even help in promoting the levels of bone mineral density (BMD)[3] to a considerable extent that may reduce bone fractures from falls. In addition to these unique advantages, TRT is also useful in reducing rates of Alzheimer’s disease, improving time and space orientation in clinical tests, improving memory and concentration levels, and increasing response speed.

 

Side Effects of TRT

 

Testosterone replacement therapy or TRT can lead to priapism, a prolonged, painful erection. Moreover, this replacement therapy may lead to increased cell growth and urethral obstruction causing inability to pass urine in men with benign prostatic hypertrophy. It may even lead to oily skin, acne, fluid retention, and breast enlargement (gynecomastia) besides reducing sperm count. Testosterone replacement therapy may even lead to cardiovascular risks[4] (coronary artery disease, increases in cholesterol, and excess levels of red blood cell causing blood clots and high blood pressure), prostate problems (enlarged prostate and the development of prostate cancer), liver dysfunction, and sleep problems.

 

This form of therapy may increase the risk of prostate cancer or cause health complications like symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH that may include urgency to urinate, incontinence, involuntary leakage and a weak urinary stream. When Testosterone replacement therapy involves the use of transdermal patches, some men may experience itching, irritation, blistering, redness, soreness, hair loss, and acne. Oral forms of testosterone supplementation may even lead to liver damage in rare cases. TRT on women may lead to side effects such as acne, male pattern baldness, hair loss, increase in clitoris size, decreased size of breasts, and deepening of the voice. Some women may become more aggressive and hostile and others may experience menstrual irregularities.

 

Role of testosterone in etiology and treatment of obesity

 

REFERENCES:

  • Low testosterone and insulin resistance in hypertension-prone men..”
    PubMed.gov.
    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
    .
    Web.
    .

 

  • The Effects of Supraphysiologic Doses of Testosterone on Muscle Size and Strength in Normal Men..”
    www.nejm.org.
    New England Journal of Medicine
    .
    Web.
    .

 

  • Associations between testosterone, bone mineral density, vitamin D and semen quality in fertile and infertile Chinese men..”
    PubMed.gov.
    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
    .
    Web.
    .

 

  • Testosterone and cardiovascular disease in men..”
    PubMed.gov.
    US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
    .
    Web.
    .