We have an epidemic in this country, that is a silent killer, but rarely discussed. Even with some of the best doctors in the world, men don’t go to the doctor.
According to statistics published by Blue Cross Blue Shield, men aged 20 to 40 are twice as likely to die than women of the same age. This could be contributed to males avoidance of the doctor’s office. Three times more men report they haven’t seen a doctor in the past year. From surveys and speculation based on psychology, experts agree that men’s resistance to seeing a doctor is tied to their identity and masculinity. The theory is that evolutionally speaking, illness was tied to infertility. Men don’t want to admit they are sick because it threatens their manhood.
The consequences of this can be dire if a condition goes undiagnosed and untreated. Even low-level symptoms like fatigue, low sex drive, and weight gain could be the result of a more serious issue like low testosterone. Low T-levels is so easily treatable, it is illogical to put off getting tested.
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Clinics are prepared to test for abnormal testosterone levels which can be addressed with certain therapies. What is testosterone replacement therapy? It is administering the hormone into the body in steady dosage to maintain normal levels. It can be achieved in a multitude of ways, supported by the science of endocrinology.
The most common and effective delivery method is by injection. The average amount is 200-250 mg per shot approximately every 2-3 weeks. In very young or very old men, the dose is reduced to 100 mg. Maximum dosage injections can be given for long-term use and last 10 to 12 weeks.
Other options include transdermal patches, implants, oral drugs, and topical gels and creams. How long you need to use therapy will depend on your initial tests and how your body responds. Talk with your doctor about what is best for you.
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Benefits of Testosterone Therapy
The benefits of testosterone therapy is a long list. Since the hormone affects so many functions in the body, smoothing out the levels can improve health on a broad level. Beneficial results include:
- Increased libido
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Boosted energy
- Better bone density
- Weight loss
- Reduced risk of obesity-related disease like diabetes
- Higher sperm count
- Improved fertility
- More body mass and muscle growth
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Before and After
Results of testosterone replacement therapy before and after is best demonstrated through pictures. WebMD has an interactive slideshow with results and educational materials on the subject.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Cost
Expenses will differ depending on brand name versus generic and insurance coverage. Not all providers will deem replacement therapy medically necessary, but you can ask your doctor to petition on your behalf. The testosterone replacement therapy cost is around $30 for a Depo-Testosterone injections. A shot of generic equivalents runs $12 to $26.
Testosterone Therapy Side Effects
No drug or therapy is void of repercussions. Potential testosterone therapy side effects include:
- An overabundance of red blood cells, called polycythemia. This can affect oxygen levels.
- Mental health issues like mania or anger control issues
- Fertility problems
- Shrinkage in testicles
- Skin disease
- Sleep apnea
- Abnormal hair growth
Most men find the side effects to be mild, but some individuals experience stressful effects.
Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
The risks of testosterone replacement therapy include a higher likelihood of liver disease and prostate disease. Liver problems occur more often with oral pills because they are processed through the liver. Cancer of the prostate is fueled by testosterone so introducing it into the bloodstream regularly could produce a tumor.
Is Replacement Therapy Safe for Men with History of Prostate Cancer?
Physicians will recommend men with a history of prostate cancer avoid undergoing replacement therapy. They are at higher risk of cancer returning because of their medical history and higher testosterone can make recurrence exponentially larger.
Holistic and Natural Hormone Supplements
Holistic and natural alternatives exist for patients that prefer not to inject hormones. The over the counter options include exercise programs, weight control, sleep quality, and stress reduction.
Supplements with promising studies include magnesium, DHEA, zinc, and creatine.
Treatments for Women
Women struggling with testosterone imbalance or infertility issues have options too. Replacement therapy has been effective for some women, but many find negative effects too much to deal with.
Clomid is a popular choice of pharmaceutical that stimulates ovulation. Progesterone is often prescribed in IVF rounds to boost ovulation.