Next to adrenaline, testosterone is probably one of the most well-known and beloved hormones that humans produce. Ask any guy what testosterone means to him, and he might start raving about his barbell workout or boasting about his love life. But sometimes, the amount of testosterone that the body produces declines, and this is where testosterone replacement therapy can be useful. Testosterone replacement therapy (also called hormone replacement therapy for men), is similar to estrogen replacement therapy for women.
What is testosterone
Testosterone is certainly important for sperm production and sex drive, but it is a critical component in many other bodily functions, as well. Testosterone plays a role in your fat distribution and muscle mass and strength. It’s also important for red blood cell production and maintaining bone density.
What is male menopause
While it may not be as commonly discussed as menopause in women, menopause does actually occur in men, too. It’s often called andropause, and it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon. After about the age of 40 (or sometimes as early as 30), the amount of testosterone that a man produces will decline gradually.
The drop in testosterone may cause symptoms or medical conditions, such as erectile dysfunction, fertility problems, reduced libido, depression, trouble concentrating, reduced muscle mass, increased body fat, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
Talk to your doctor
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about andropause and ask if testosterone replacement therapy might be right for you. Your doctor will likely wish to perform a physical exam, as well as other tests to determine if your symptoms are indeed caused by low testosterone levels. A simple blood test will check your testosterone levels. However, because testosterone levels tend to fluctuate throughout the day, it’s best to check it in the morning. Your doctor may want to run this blood test on several different occasions.
Due to the risk of serious side effects from testosterone replacement therapy, it’s also recommend that you undergo a battery of tests to ensure your health, both before and during the treatment. These tests might include a lipid panel, cardiac function tests, liver function tests, a prostate examination, and a test to check your PSA levels.
Testosterone replacement therapy
Even if you do have low testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy may not be right for you. Your doctor may recommend it if you have low hormone levels with the symptoms of andropause. It’s also important to be aware of the potential for serious side effects before trying testosterone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy for men can take many different forms. Your doctor can recommend the right type of treatment for you. Oral testosterone therapy is available, but doctors typically recommend another type of hormone delivery system instead, such as a transdermal skin patch. Other treatment options include a mouth patch, a gel, an injection, or an implant.
Additionally, remember to care for your general health to help prevent many of the diseases and conditions that men commonly face.