ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — Low on T Levels? TRT or Testosterone Replacement Therapy can help you regain your energy and aid your overall health and wellness.
Testosterone levels decrease with aging and medical conditions. Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) increases testosterone levels and helps men cope with the effects of hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a testosterone deficiency that affects about 4.5 million American men.
TRT, called androgen replacement therapy, gained popularity for non-medical purposes:
- Increases bone density
- Builds muscle mass and strength
- Improves mood and mental process
- Enhances sexual function
- Promotes weight loss
People with hypogonadism incur additional healthcare costs of about $100 a month. As a business owner, TRT may or may not add up to your employees’ expenses. Its benefits, though, are invaluable.
Here are some fast facts about the most frequently asked questions about this type of hormone therapy:
Table of Contents
1. Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) effective and safe?
You may be hesitant to undergo TRT. The most important question that pops in your head is, “Is it effective and safe?”
There have been studies throughout the years with promising findings. A latest 2020 study reviewed PubMed journals of random and controlled trials. It included observational studies that showed the effects of TRT. Based on the study, TRT is safe. It can improve sexual function among men with hypogonadism.
2. Can TRT make you feel invigorated?
Low levels of testosterone can mean problems in the bedroom. Men with low levels of testosterone often complain of low libido and erectile dysfunction.
A study suggests TRT helped with mild erectile dysfunction. But it rarely worked for men with moderate to severe conditions. TRT also improved libido among men with low testosterone.
3. Can TRT cause high blood pressure?
Testosterone may cause your blood pressure to rise. You may be at risk of stroke or heart attack. Men with low levels of testosterone are also at risk of cardiovascular conditions. But TRT may have potential benefits to heart health.
A key point in a study shows TRT reduced mortality of men with low testosterone. It’s in contrast to men who didn’t undergo TRT. Moreover, TRT improved blood flow to the heart muscles in men with coronary artery disease. At the same time, TRT boosted exercise capacity in men with congestive heart failure.
It’s best to consult a medical professional before undergoing TRT. You may seek advice about your blood pressure or your heart illness.
4. Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) cause cancer?
There is no clear proof that TRT causes cancer of the prostate. And there is still no evidence that short-term TRT among men with hypogonadism causes a greater risk of prostate cancer. Medical professionals, though, recommend regular screening for any prostate abnormalities.
Researchers conducted a study of men with low to normal testosterone levels. The men were aged 40-89 years old. TRT doesn’t increase the risk or accelerate prostate cancer.
5. Can TRT cause polycythemia and blood clots?
As a side effect, TRT can potentially increase red blood cell count. It can lead to polycythemia, a rare blood disease. TRT preparations come in various concentrations and dosages. A study finds formulations with higher testosterone levels pose a greater risk of polycythemia. And it’s not the duration of the therapy.
In contrast, the latest study shows TRT doesn’t cause blood clot disorders or venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein in your leg. It can cause pain in the calf or area in the body where it develops. It may start in a vein of your thigh, pelvis, or arm.
Based on the University of Texas Medical Branch study, men aged 40 years old underwent TRT. All of them weren’t at risk of developing VTE.
6. Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) cause weight gain?
Experts have contradicting findings when it comes to TRT and cholesterol. It’s a gray area. Some studies suggest TRT decreases both high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol. At the same time, it reduces low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol.
However, a study reveals TRT lowered cholesterol levels and increased lean muscle mass. Another research shows TRT improved glucose serum levels and insulin resistance in men with diabetes.
Men with low testosterone are prone to obesity and vice versa. Long-term TRT may be helpful in the weight loss of obese men with low testosterone levels. But there is no proof TRT can shed pounds from healthy men with typical testosterone levels. Generally, TRT improves your quality of life.
7. Can TRT cause insomnia?
People with hypogonadism may experience abnormal circadian rhythm. It’s responsible for sleep pattern problems which are also associated with obesity.
Studies conducted over the years have conflicting results. Some studies claim TRT improved sleep among hypogonadal men who had trouble with rest. Other studies, though, say otherwise.
A study finds high-dose TRT poses a risk of obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when a person suddenly stops and starts breathing while asleep. Clinicians usually prescribe equipment to aid in getting restful sleep. An example is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
8. Can TRT cause anger?
TRT is a form of anabolic and androgenic steroids. Many people believe steroids cause anger. Thus, the term “roid rage” came into being—scientific discussions associated increased testosterone with rage.
According to a 2021 study of transgender men, there was an increase in anger after 3-7 months of TRT. Note, there were only seven participants in the study. So, more studies are needed to prove you can be angrier when you get more testosterone than usual.
Receiving TRT may do the opposite. Experts say men with low testosterone are prone to mood disorders. A study reveals men with low testosterone levels who underwent TRT became less anxious and depressed. TRT stabilizes the mood instead of increasing anger or aggression.
9. Is TRT legal?
The answer is yes and no.
Even if TRT and steroids are similar in chemical composition, you use them differently.
Yes, it is legal under the supervision of a medical professional. TRT helps increase testosterone levels, especially among men with hypogonadism.
No. It is illegal when used at a dangerously high dosage. Some athletes use it to build their muscles and improve their sports performance.
TRT is a permanent life-long intervention. You can complement it with proper nutrition and lifestyle changes. Although, its benefits for men without hypogonadism aren’t known.
10. How do you know if Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is for you?
Gonads are the male testes. Hypogonadism occurs when gonads or sex glands don’t produce enough sex hormones. As you age, your body produces less testosterone. It starts when you’re about 30 years old.
You may experience some of the symptoms of low testosterone:
- Low sex drive
- Sleep problems
- Unusual weight gain
- Unexpected muscle loss
- Erectile dysfunction
You have to undergo a testosterone level test to know if you have low testosterone. It’s a blood test. It shows if your level is within normal limits for your age.
Once diagnosed with low testosterone, you have the option to choose the method of administration. It includes topical creams or gels, transdermal patches, oral medications, or intramuscular injections.
Sidebar: Can women undergo TRT?
Gonads for males are testicles, and gonads for females are ovaries. Testosterone plays a vital role in women’s reproductive health. Like men, testosterone declines in women starting before menopause.
Not all women are candidates for TRT. Only postmenopausal women with low libido can undergo TRT. Testosterone is an off-label compounded drug for women. Some medical professionals prescribe TRT for women to enhance their sexual function. However, we know little about its efficacy and safety.
One of the few studies aimed to determine the safety of testosterone therapy in women. The women suffered from hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD. It’s the most common form of sexual disorder in women included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The study supports earlier claims that short-term testosterone therapy is safe for postmenopausal women with HSDD. The researchers noted a transdermal patch is the safest route of administration.
This study shows TRT benefits women as well as men. Risk factors and side effects are somewhat similar. TRT, though, is more common in men over 40 than women.
In 2019, an international panel of medical professionals endorsed the Global Consensus Position Statement on the Use of Testosterone Therapy for Women. The consensus serves as a guide to clinicians prescribing TRT for women.
To take or not to take the plunge?
Even the most carefully formulated medicines come with risks. People with low testosterone still benefit from TRT. It improves the body, mind, and sexual functions of men with hypogonadism. It contributes to the general well-being and overall quality of life.