TREATING LOW TESTOSTERONE LEVELS WITH TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

hormones

TREATING LOW TESTOSTERONE LEVELS WITH TESTOSTERONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

Returning hormone levels to a normal range, with testosterone replacement therapy, can have profound positive effects. Many men will notice improved strength and endurance, as well as a return of libido and improved sexual function. Benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, also include improvements in symptoms associated with heart failure and improved stability and balance (essential to those with weak bones).

Testosterone replacement therapy begins by having testosterone levels checked through blood, urine or saliva, but blood tests are the most common medium. Evaluations of testosterone levels include a free and a total testosterone reading. Much of the hormone in the bloodstream is bound to a protein, rendering it inactive. The active portion, called “free testosterone,” can give a more accurate picture of how much testosterone is available to the body.

Current practice advises that men with prostate cancer should not receive testosterone replacement therapy as it is thought to accelerate an active case. Note that testosterone is not thought to cause prostate cancer, but may speed up the severity if the cancer already exists. Men who are, or have been treated for prostate cancer are at risk for the fatigue and decreased libido of low testosterone as well. Since testosterone replacement therapy is typically not recommended for this group, other options are needed.

As is the case with most hormones, testosterone needs to be kept in balance. Men with too much testosterone may notice shrinking of the testicles, and both men and women may see acne or aggravated mood swings with high levels. Testosterone should only be given by prescription from a physician. A testosterone replacement therapy program should be frequently monitored through lab tests along with attention to potential side effects.