1. What is testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)?
TRT is a form of hormone therapy that is used to reduce or eliminate symptoms which can result from having sub-optimal testosterone, also known as low-T. It involves replacing testosterone under the supervision of a healthcare provider with weekly injections, topical cream, or testosterone pellets.
2. What are the symptoms of low-T in men?
Common symptoms of low testosterone levels include decreased energy, erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, decreased muscle mass, increase in body fat, and low or depressed mood.
3. What’s the difference between total testosterone and free testosterone?
Total testosterone measures the total amount of testosterone in the bloodstream, while free testosterone measures only the active form of testosterone available for use by the body. Up to 98% of the testosterone we produce is irreversibly bound to a protein called sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG for short. Once bound to SHBG, testosterone is permanently inactivated. It is important to test for both total and free testosterone numbers to make an informed treatment decision. It isn’t uncommon for total testosterone to fall within normal lab reference ranges while having a low level of circulating free testosterone.
4. At what age do testosterone levels being to fall?
Studies suggest that 1 in 4 men over age thirty have low free testosterone. Testosterone production begins to decline as early as age thirty, but this can occur earlier or later in life.
5. How long does it take for testosterone replacement therapy to work?
This varies from person to person and depends on the replacement method being used. Many patients begin to experience symptom improvement within a few weeks of starting therapy. Other factors include the patient’s individual diet, activity level, physical training program, and quality of restful sleep.
6. What are the potential side effects of testosterone replacement therapy?
As with any medical treatment, TRT has the potential for side effects. Many of these can be reduced or avoided altogether with proper monitoring and adjustments to treatment. Potential side effects from TRT a include increased red blood cell production, sensation of feeling bloated or retaining water, oily skin, acne, hair loss, and others. It is important to monitor labs closely during TRT while under the care of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
7. Is testosterone replacement therapy safe?
Testosterone replacement therapy is generally recognized as safe when used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. As with any medical treatment, there are potential risks and side effects that must be carefully considered. Your healthcare provider at 22 Health & Hormone will carefully review your medical history and discuss the risks and benefits of your treatment plan. Additionally, your provider will monitor your progress with regular blood tests and in-person visits, adjusting your individual care plan if necessary.
8. Does testosterone replacement therapy cause infertility?
TRT can make it more difficult to have children while on treatment, but by no means does it make having a child impossible. Your 22 Health & Hormone provider will discuss family planning with you before recommending TRT. Additionally, they may recommend medications that can improve fertility while on testosterone replacement therapy.
9. How long does testosterone replacement therapy last?
Once testosterone levels begin to fall, they normally continue to decline as we age. Generally, when a patient stops TRT their testosterone level will decline over several weeks until it reaches pretreatment state. It’s also possible for testosterone levels to be even lower than when the patient initially began TRT.
If you have additional questions, we’re here to help. Call (321) 972-6159 to speak with one of our care coordinators, or click here to request an appointment. We look forward to helping you feel great!