Testosterone is a male hormone that plays a critical role in sexual health and function, as well as other essential functions such as muscle building and mood regulation. Testosterone levels start to decline from the early twenties and continue to do so into old age, meaning that many men will not have their full set of natural abilities for as long as they would like. While most men are familiar with low testosterone symptoms such as loss of libido, shrinking muscles, erectile dysfunction, and depression, relatively few know that high levels of testosterone can actually be treated safely with medication. There are various forms of this treatment available; however, the most common is called injections. To learn more about these treatments and risks/benefits associated with them, check out our article on Testosterone Injections.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and a metabolic stimulant in the body. It is produced in the testicles and adrenal glands and is also present in the blood and plays an important role in the development of male characteristics, such as increased muscle mass, libido, strength, and fertility. In men, low levels of testosterone may result in decreased muscle mass, decreased production of sperm, and decreased libido.
Types of Testosterone
– Androstanediol: Also known as stanolone, this is the most common type of testosterone therapy used. It is a highly purified version of the latter’s ester form, which is found in the human body at very low levels. Stanolone has a half-life of about 12 days and is taken subcutaneously (under the skin). – Propionate: Also known as DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, this is a highly potent androgen, and has a quicker onset of action and shorter half-life than androstanediol. The main benefit of propionate is that it can be used off-label to treat low testosterone. – Cypionate: This is highly purified testosterone, with no aromatase activity, and has a half-life of about two days. – Mesterolone: This is another highly purified form of testosterone that has low androgenic properties.
Why Should Men Have Testosterone Therapy?
There are few benefits of having low testosterone, but men who do may experience symptoms such as loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, fatigue, decreased muscle mass, and decreased production of sperm. These symptoms can be caused by multiple factors, so getting tested for low testosterone levels may be the first step in treating them. The benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include increased strength, muscle mass, and libido, improved mood and sense of well-being, increased memory, increased fertility, and increased energy. While low testosterone levels are not a serious health concern for most men, it’s important to understand that testosterone therapy can treat symptoms associated with low levels of this hormone and improve quality of life for many men.
How does testosterone therapy work?
Testosterone is responsible for the development of male characteristics, such as muscle mass and libido. In men, testosterone is produced in the testicles and the adrenal glands, and it can also be produced naturally by the body in small amounts. When men begin testosterone therapy, they usually take a gel, cream, or buccal tablet to absorb the substance through the skin. The levels of testosterone in men’s bodies are closely linked to the amount of sex hormones in the blood, and once a man starts therapy, his levels increase. While testosterone is responsible for a number of important functions in men, it also has some side effects, such as increased muscle mass, increased libido, and increased fat mass. Therefore, it’s important to closely monitor your health while on this medication.
Risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy
In the short term, the most common side effect associated with testosterone replacement therapy is acne. Higher testosterone levels are associated with increased oiliness and pore size, which may improve after a few months. However, long-term testosterone therapy increases the risk of developing acne and other skin conditions. There is also a risk of developing prostate cancer if testosterone therapy is used for an extended period of time. However, this risk is greatly mitigated when the treatment is used for only a short time. Additionally, testosterone therapy may increase the risk of heart disease, especially when combined with other risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and a diet high in saturated fats.
If you are experiencing symptoms due to low levels of testosterone, or would like to enhance your performance in sports or have a better quality of life as you age, it’s important to get tested for hypogonadism. Low testosterone may result from a number of issues, such as too little sleep or stress, medications, or diseases that affect the hypothalamus. In these cases, testosterone therapy is an ideal treatment option to optimize quality of life. If you would like to know more about testosterone replacement therapy, you can ask your doctor or speak to a trusted health care professional. The best way to learn more is by talking to a healthcare provider who is familiar with this treatment option.