Health

Benefits and Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is a modern attempt to replace testosterone that was lost either due to age or a health…

Testosterone replacement therapy is a modern attempt to replace testosterone that was lost either due to age or a health related condition. Testosterone is primarily a male sex hormone that is found in the testicles. It plays a key role in male growth and development. It is responsible for sperm production, facial and body hair, bone density, muscle strength, and sex drive.

As men age, their testosterone levels tend to decrease. It’s not usually as a big of a decline as estrogen when women go through menopause but, it’s low enough to be noticeable. Lower testosterone levels can cause men to have physical and emotional changes, reduced sexual drive, and insomnia.

Although it’s rare, some men may suffer from low testosterone levels while in their younger age. The condition is known as hypogonadism. Testosterone replacement therapy can help treat it. There are different ways to undergo the therapy – patches, injections, pallets, or gels. They all come with similar risks and benefits.

Pros

Testosterone replacement therapy can genuinely help those who need it. In some cases, like people with hypogonadism, it is a necessary procedure. Hence, the benefits should be taken into account before dismissing it all together. Nevertheless, responses were found to vary from man to man. Some men noticed large benefits and improvements. Many others barely notice anything so, it’s all highly individualized.

Only one benefit is guaranteed – it will increase testosterone level which means it will reestablish all the effects of testosterone that the person may have lost. The therapy gives a boost of energy. Men with lower testosterone levels often complain of fatigue which they find to be improved with the therapy.

This may be tied to other benefits of the therapy. It also increases sex drive and quality of erections. The higher level of sexual activity may be the reason for the boost in energy.

Health Benefits

It increases muscle strength and mass. Testosterone stimulates muscle tissues to grow. With the increased energy and mood, users often find it easier to workout. With an increase in muscle mass, fat decreases and the basal metabolic rate runs faster.

It increases bone density through higher iron production. It also increases insulin sensitivity. Higher insulin sensitivity enhance fat loss and can reduce risk of getting certain diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

It can increase oil production that will change skin type. This may go either way, positive or negative. Increase in oil production lead to healthier skin. However, too much oil can cause breakouts. This doesn’t happen that often and is mainly seen in men with previous history of acnes.

Testosterone replacement therapy is a risky procedure but as of now, most of the results are from clinical trials. They are not largely in the market because responses keep varying among people. It can be the next groundbreaking procedure for men but, it should not be considered as the fountain of youth.

Although the therapy comes with a lot benefits associated with youth, it is not permanent and people can overdose. It is mainly recommended for people with hypogonadism. Lower testosterone levels caused by aging should not be treated with testosterone therapy. There are many other natural ways like weight loss or resistance exercises that doctors would rather recommend.

There are many different ways to receive the therapy. They all depend on the individual case. Ergo, anyone thinking about testosterone therapy should seek advice from a health care provider. There are certain cancer screenings and other exams that may be necessary before it can start.

Cons

Sleep Apnea

Testosterone replacement therapy is most notorious for causing sleep apnea. It’s a condition in which the person stops breathing and starts again many times while sleeping. It’s a dangerous condition that should be treated as soon as possible.

Skin Issues

The therapy can also cause acnes or other skin reactions like rashes, itching, or irritation where it’s applied. If the gel is used, it poses a risk for other people around including children, female partners, and even pets. It causes them to become aggressive. Women may grow beards while children undergo premature puberty.

Body Issues

It can cause breast enlargement. That’s because some of the testosterone is being converted into a type of estrogen called estradiol. Estrogen is the female sex hormone so, a large amount of it in men can cause them to have certain female characteristics.

It can limit sperm production or even cause testicles to shrink. This is one of the most common side effects. It is due to the testicles being basically put to sleep. When outside testosterone is added unto the body, it messes with natural signals to keep producing sperms because it senses that the body has reached its maximum capacity of sperm. Undergoing testosterone therapy for a long period of time will decrease chances of sperm count ever going back to normal.

Feet and ankles can start to swell up. Testosterone encourages the body to hold in extra fluid. This does not represent a large risk since it goes down after a few days. It’s normally not more than two or three pounds.

It can increase the risk of a blood clots forming in a deep vein. Deep vein blood clots can travel in the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs. It will stop blood from flowing. This is a life threatening risk why most of these products come with a warning to users.

Blood clots formation is only one of the most dangerous side effects of testosterone therapy. Another is its impact on heart diseases including a higher risk of stroke. Men with heart problems are advised against undergoing any type of testosterone therapy.

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