Everything You Need to Know About TRT
As men get older, their testosterone levels naturally begin to decline. This can lead to unpleasant health issues, such as low energy, lack of sex drive, mood changes, and erectile dysfunction. Testosterone replacement therapy is one way to address the root of the problem and return testosterone (and the rest of your hormones) to better-optimized levels.
What Is TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a form of hormone replacement therapy focused on restoring healthy testosterone levels. As a man ages, his testosterone levels naturally begin to drop. This gradual decrease may not cause any noticeable symptoms at first, but over time, men may begin to experience:
- Loss of muscle and bone mass
- Negative mood
- Problems focusing on tasks
- Low libido
- Loss of energy
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
Men who suffer from these symptoms often don’t realize low testosterone could be to blame, assuming instead that it’s just part of the natural aging process. However, these symptoms can all be the result of a hormonal imbalance that can be corrected and optimized.
How TRT Works
TRT gives the body the testosterone it needs to function at its best. Once the right dose has been established, most men notice an improvement in energy, sex drive, and overall quality of life. However, such improvement doesn’t always happen overnight. It can sometimes take a month or two for the body to adjust and beneficial changes to become noticeable.
Before initiating TRT, an individual undergoes a blood test to determine the level of testosterone present in the body. The results should indicate if any symptoms are the result of a natural drop in testosterone or if the body is producing too little of the hormone. Once the need for TRT is determined, the next step is to decide which form of treatment makes the most sense.
TRT can be done with creams, gels, shots, patches and pellets. The most effective of these being shots and creams. There are also more natural ways to induce more testosterone production in the body. Lifestyle and other factors should always be taken into account when determining which type of treatment to use, which should always be tailored to the individual and carefully monitored.
The Benefits of TRT
Most men who undergo testosterone replacement therapy for a hormone deficiency experience a noticeable improvement in their symptoms. Many patients report an improved sex drive and energy levels, a decrease in body fat, an increased ability to gain and retain muscle mass, as well as improved focus.
While TRT offers many benefits, it is not an overnight fix, and not everyone will experience the same results. Some men see dramatic improvements, while others may have only gradual results. It can require some adjustments over time to optimize the right plan and a customized approach is very important. Regardless of how considerable the improvements are, TRT remains the best way to help men struggling with low testosterone.
Types of Treatments
There are a variety of TRT treatment options. Some need to be administered daily, while others can be administered infrequently. Below are the common TRT options available.
Topical Creams and Gels
Patients can rub a testosterone cream or gel directly onto the skin for absorption into the body. Several kinds are available with different ways of applying them. Some creams are rubbed into the skin on the upper arm or shoulder, while others are applied to the front and inner thigh.
Patients are asked to avoid showering or bathing for several hours after application to ensure full absorption. Potential side effects include skin irritation and transferring the medication to another person. Patients should avoid skin-to-skin contact until the treatment is dry or cover the application area. This is usually a very manageable process and preferred by those who don’t like shots.
Testosterone pellet implants are a longer-term option. These implants are surgically inserted every three to six months. The pellets dissolve slowly to administer testosterone to the body over an extended period of time. The slow release mechanism is less accurate than other methods and can lead to big swings in the amount of testosterone being regulated.
Most patients opt for testosterone injections. They allow for direct administration of an accurate dose, as well as maximum absorption by the body. Depending on the level of comfort, injections can be given at home or by a medical professional either once or twice a week.
A patch containing testosterone can be applied each night to the thighs or torso. One possible side effect is severe skin irritation. These are generally less effective in raising testosterone levels consistently to the desired level and are rarely used.
Potential Side Effects
As with any medical treatment, there are potential side effects to testosterone replacement therapy.
- Breast swelling or soreness
- Enlarged prostate
- Foot or ankle swelling
- High red blood cell count
- Smaller testicles
All of these symptoms can be avoided with proper dosing and testing to make sure you are on the proper plan. Patients on TRT should have regular blood tests to monitor testosterone levels, the prostate, and red blood cell count.
While some believe that the long-term effects of TRT remain uncertain, new studies and literature paint a much clearer picture of the risks. Dated studies have publicized the cardiovascular risk of TRT and risk of accelerating prostate cancer, but according to The American Heart Association, having optimal levels of testosterone does not increase cardiovascular risk while having low levels of testosterone does. Multiple peer reviewed studies, such as the one published in PLOS ONE medical journal, have shown definitive proof that among men with low testosterone levels and normal PSA, testosterone treatment was not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Learn More About TRT
Don’t let low testosterone levels affect your quality of life. For testosterone replacement therapy in Los Angeles, Orange County, or San Diego, contact VitalityRx®. Our concierge service works with your schedule to create and deliver a personalized treatment directly to you. You’ll never have to leave the comfort and privacy of your home or office.