Testosterone plays a vital role in what it means to be a man – it regulates a man’s sex drive, enables him to build muscle mass, and has an impact on his strength, bone density, production of red blood cells and distribution of fat.
It’s for good reason that the medical community is witnessing Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) growing in popularity, and TRT Clinics springing up all over the world. Treatment for Low Testosterone conditions in men can restore a man’s ability to enjoy a vital, healthy and sexually active lifestyle as he grows older. Suffice it to say, men tend to face physical and emotional challenges as they grow older due to a steady decrease in testosterone production, beginning in the mid-thirties. Getting older is not fun, and can leave men feeling like mere shadows of their former selves.
The aging male’s diminished capacity to produce testosterone is called andropause; this condition is sometimes misleadingly referred to as male menopause. However, there are few similarities between menopause and the constellation of symptoms that can affect men who have dramatically reduced levels of testosterone, although both begin to manifest themselves during mid-life.
Modern medicine has an answer to andropause and it involves simply supplying the body with bioidentical testosterone, to restore hormones to a more youthful state. Testosterone Replacement Therapy combats the symptoms of low testosterone that the normal aging process brings forth with unrelenting fury to most men.
Men who receive TRT most often find that they enjoy a more active, heathy, and happy lifestyle, experience an improvement in vitality and desire, an increase in muscle mass and bone density, a decrease in body-fat, an improvement in mood and general sense of well-being, and improvement in cognitive function and health.
How is Testosterone Administered?
The most common forms of testosterone therapy treatment prescribed by physicians are: injectable, topical, and pellet implants. Injectable delivery involves a weekly intramuscular shot of testosterone. Topical testosterone, requires the daily application of a testosterone cream or gel to the patient’s skin. Pellet implants are the relative newcomer to TRT, and involve the physician making a small incision on the patient’s buttock, and implanting several rice-sized “pellets” that slowly release testosterone into the bloodstream. This must be repeated every 3 to 4 months.
What Happens if a Patient Discontinues TRT?
Men should not begin TRT without understanding that it is a long term (as in life-long) commitment and should not be taken lightly. Men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy must understand that the administration of exogenous testosterone will impair the patient’s natural ability to produce testosterone. Unsupervised cessation of the therapy can put the patient back into a low testosterone state, perhaps lower than prior to receiving therapy. Nevertheless, if for whatever reason a patient decides to terminate TRT, it is possible to restore normal function if done so under the care of an experienced physician. However, whatever medical issues that resulted in a low testosterone state in the first place will continue to exist. Consequently, whatever benefits the patient received from TRT will likely be lost.
What About Alternatives to TRT?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a big commitment. Huge. The benefits can be profound, and that is certainly why many men happily get onboard, but it may not be right for every man with low testosterone. For example, there may be instances when a patient’s testosterone level is impacted by certain lifestyle choices. In these instances, simply modifying certain behaviors and receiving proper nutrient support may work to restore ordinarily healthy function. In some cases, especially with younger men, a patient who may be experiencing low testosterone due to medical conditions, such as secondary hypogonadism may respond favorably to alternative medical treatment protocols, such as HCG Monotherapy. In fact, recent advances in Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs), and Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are paving the way for the body’s own hormone modification and augmentation without the introduction of external testosterone.
Whether embarking on a traditional TRT program, or investigating newer, advanced alternatives to testosterone replacement therapy, it is crucial that patients educate themselves about their options, and long-term ramifications. Hormone optimization is a fast moving field, and selecting a healthcare provider that is up to date with the latest advances, and who has the patient’s best interests in mind is of the utmost importance.