Most Common Potential Side Effects of Low Testosterone Treatment
Let’s begin by briefly introducing testosterones.
Humans have a hormone, testosterone. Testosterone levels are higher in men than they are in women. The production of testosterone increases in puberty and then begins to decline after 30. The testosterone level in men begins to decrease at an average rate of 1 percent each year. Thus, the natural effect of aging is a decrease in testosterone.
Testosterone is essential for maintaining a variety of bodily functions, including:
- Sex Drive
- Production of sperms
- Muscle mass/strength
- Fat distribution
- Bone density
- Red blood cell production
A decrease in testosterone can cause significant emotional and physical changes, as it has so many effects.
What are the effects of low levels of Testosterones on a man?
Testosterone is a hormone that helps boys to develop their male features, such as a deeper voice and body, stronger muscles, and a more masculine appearance. To produce sperm, men need testosterone. As testosterone levels decrease with age, older men are more likely to have lower blood levels of testosterone.
Low testosterone levels can affect some men. This condition is known as Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome (TD), or Low Testosterone.
A low level of blood testosterone (Low T) is defined as a concentration below 300 nanograms per deciliter. The following symptoms may accompany Low-T:
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Sensitivity to well-being decreases
- Concentration and memory problems
- Irritation and moodiness
- Muscle weakness is reduced
Low testosterone can also cause other changes, such as:
- Anemia mild and low hemoglobin levels
- A decrease in body hair
- Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bone loss.
- Increased body fat
- Breast development (gynecomastia)
These symptoms can also be caused by opioid use, certain medical conditions, congenital disabilities, or loss of the testicles. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
What is the best way to diagnose low testosterone?
A blood test can determine if a patient has low testosterone. Low testosterone can be diagnosed by taking several measurements as levels change throughout the day. The morning is when testosterone levels are highest, around 8 a.m. Therefore, doctors prefer to measure testosterone levels early in the morning.
How can Low Testosterone be treated?
Low testosterone can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. This therapy can be administered in many different ways.
- Intramuscular injections are usually done every 10-14 days.
- Testosterone patches are used every day. They are applied to various body parts, including the abdomen, back, arms, and buttocks.
- Testosterone gels are applied daily to the dry upper back and arms skin. The gels need to be used with care to ensure that the hormone does not accidentally transfer to another person or partner.
- Every two months, pellets are placed under the skin.
What are the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy?
The potential benefits of testosterone replacement therapy includes:
- Avoid problems with delayed puberty in boys
- Losing fat
- Protection against osteoporosis and increased bone density
- Improved mood, well-being, and feelings
- Sexual function improved
- Mental sharpness improved
- Increased muscle strength and performance
What side effects can Low Testosterone Treatment cause?
Side effects of Low Testosterone Treatment include:
- Oily or acne-prone skin
- Mild fluid retention can cause swelling in the ankles.
- Stimulation of the prostate can lead to urination symptoms like difficulty urinating.
- Tenderness or breast enlargement
- Severe sleep apnea. It is a sleep disorder that causes frequent nighttime awakenings and daytime sleepiness.
- Smaller testicles
- Patients receiving topical testosterone replacement may experience skin irritation.
- Testosterone replacement can cause laboratory abnormalities such as:
- An increase in prostate-specific antibody (PSA).
- Red blood cell count increases
- Infertility decreases sperm counts, which can lead to infertility (inability to have children). This is particularly important for younger men who want fertility.
Precautions to take before Low Testosterone Treatment
Regular follow-up appointments are essential if you are on hormone replacement therapy. The guidelines recommend discussing the risk vs. benefits of prostate cancer monitoring and evaluating prostate risk with your doctor.
Prostate cancer monitoring will be decided jointly by the doctor and patient. A clinician should assess patients who opt for monitoring before beginning testosterone treatment. The same applies to patients who elect to monitor.
- PSA levels should always be checked every year. The time intervals should be like; one at the beginning of each year, at 3 and 6 months, and then again at 12 and 12-month intervals.
- The prostate should be examined digitally every year, at least once every 3-6 months after starting therapy and again after one year. As an age-related screening for prostate cancer, this is recommended for all men. This is usually done at 50 years old.
- Before testosterone therapy begins, the hematocrit level will be tested. Red blood cell levels will also be checked regularly.
Who should not take Low Testosterone Treatment?
The prostate may grow if testosterone replacement therapy is used. In addition, there are concerns that testosterone replacement therapy may cause prostate cancer in men who have been diagnosed with it early. Therefore, men with prostate cancer should avoid testosterone replacement therapy. Before beginning any testosterone replacement therapy, all men must be screened for prostate cancer.
- Men who have had a previous testosterone replacement therapy should not have it.
- An enlarged prostate can cause urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting a urine stream.
- Undiagnosed lump in their prostate
- A PSA measurement higher than 4
- Breast cancer
- A high hematocrit (an elevated number of red blood cells)
- Severe congestive heart failure
- Obstructive sleep apnea not treated
Each person is different, and everybody reacts differently to a treatment. For example, low sex drive and bone marrow density may be affected by testosterone treatment. It can also help with symptoms of depression such as low sex drive, low sperm count, anemia, low bone marrow density, low bone marrow mass. However, there is no evidence to support the claims that it will improve memory recall, energy, quality of life, sleep, lipid profiles, or quality of living.
Routine checkups are necessary to ensure that your testosterone levels remain normal. Patients who have been stable on Testosterone Treatment should have their total testosterone, and other lab tests checked at least every six to twelve months.
You can lose weight if you are overweight. Increased physical activity can help you lose weight and may also increase your testosterone levels.