This is a question that has probably crossed the minds of many men who have experienced poor energy levels, low sex drive, or perhaps even seen commercials on television urging you to ask your doctor if testosterone replacement therapy is for you. But, what does testosterone actually do?
The testosterone hormone is often thought to be what determines masculinity. While it does fuel sex drive and help men grow facial hair, it actually regulates the reproductive tissue like the prostate, as well as developing secondary sexual characteristics such as increasing muscle and bone mass, which aides in preventing osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Men who have low testosterone levels may experience symptoms of:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Irritability and getting upset quickly
- Depression or mood swings
- Low sex drive or lack of desire
- Erectile dysfunction
- Feeling unable to perform
- Inability to focus
- Decreased muscle mass
- Weak or achy bones
- Thinning or loss of hair
Symptoms men may experience that reflect having a low level of testosterone can affect self-confidence and leave them feeling like less of a man.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy right for you?
Despite having some of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that testosterone replacement therapy is right for you. A low testosterone level can only be verified by blood testing and both low testosterone and blood levels must be present. This is because a low testosterone level itself does not necessarily require treatment; the blood level also determines which treatment is appropriate.
The proper balance of hormone levels is important for good mental and physical health, and should be regulated. Just being tired and grumpy does not necessarily mean there is a need to worry about your testosterone levels, though discussing your concerns during your regular doctor visit won’t hurt.
Methods of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement is simply replacing the deficient testosterone hormone in the body. Of the available methods of replacement, skin patches are used once daily and applied to the arm or upper body.
There are also gels available that are applied and absorbed directly through the skin of the upper arms and shoulders and can come in a pump for easy use. Sublingual tablets are another method of treatment in which a tablet is placed under the tongue or between the cheek and teeth, This releases testosterone through the oral tissues of your mouth.
Finally, testosterone can be administered through a shot directly into the muscle and the body slowly absorbs the hormone into your blood. Oral testosterone pills are available, however, there can be negative effects on the liver so these alternative methods are generally used to get testosterone directly into the bloodstream.
The treatments that are suggested for low testosterone may affect everyone differently. To see if testosterone replacement is right for you, consult with your physician or contact the experts at Hoye’s Pharmacy about the different medications available and which suits you best.