Men have classically been very much judged on how strong and powerful they are and how well they uphold the stereotype of being able to handle anything without exhibiting emotion. While this stereotype and judgment seems to be evolving and changing to fit more with reality, men may still feel less than adequate if they are dealing with issues that could question their manhood, such as low testosterone levels.
Though most people were unfamiliar with the phrase only a few years ago, “testosterone replacement therapy” has rapidly become a much-used and often searched for term. A large volume of Google inquiries are dedicated to it and even mild exposure to media that targets the male demographic affords the viewer/reader/listener to hear the phrase mentioned multiple times. This surge in popularity has many adults curious as to its exact meaning. In the next few paragraphs we’ll attempt to clarify the meaning of the phrase and try to explain its relevance.
If you are a man that is dealing with testosterone issues, you should be told that you are not alone. You should not feel like you need to bear the burden in silence and avoid treatment because the day has come where there are very effective treatments such as testosterone replacement for men that can fix this issue for you and get you back to feeling as good as new.
Testosterone replacement for men has become a very popular option for treatment with low testosterone levels and many men that have used this option have fixed the problem and are now leading healthy, happy lives. Low testosterone levels can cause problems in many areas of your life such as lowering your sex drive, causing a variety of health problems and also can cause problems if you and your partner are trying to have children. If you are experiencing any of these problems or have not been feeling quite right lately, you might want to visit a specialist to see if low testosterone levels could be the culprit.
If you are a little leery about going to a specialist that you have never been to before, you might want to start by going to your family doctor because you will likely be more comfortable discussing this issue with them to begin with before you are referred to someone you have never visited before. It is very common for men to be hesitant about going to the doctor, especially for sensitive issues such as testosterone replacement for men, but the important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone in this issue and you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Many men are dealing with the same issue as you are, the thing is that none of them are likely confident enough to discuss it with you, so you may be feeling left all alone in your ordeal. Going to a doctor can be the chance to get the burden of this issue off of your chest and find a way to fix the issue that has been plaguing you.
- 1 Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
TRT, as it is also known, is a variant of Hormone Replacement Therapy that deals specifically with testosterone and involves elevating the “T” level of an individual by applying testosterone to the individual’s blood stream. Among the candidates for therapy are those who suspect themselves to be testosterone deficient. Though there is not a universally accepted number that indicates abnormally low testosterone, most physicians agree that a “normal” level will range between 300 and 1000 nanograms per deciliter.
Methods of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
There are multiple options available to those who believe themselves to be deficient and in need of therapy. Among these options is oral therapy (pills and/or dissolving strips). However, this method is often discouraged because it is widely believed to be ineffective for increasing “T” levels and because these pills have been linked to complications of the liver. Some choose the topical application route (gels, creams, deodorant-like sticks, etc.). Also available to candidates are testosterone pellets that can be implanted in the body. Perhaps the most common (and believed to be the most effective) method of therapy is injections that introduce testosterone directly into the blood stream.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Important?
The symptoms of Low T can range from mild to severe. On the more severe side… recent studies have discovered a possible association between low testosterone and an increased rate of mortality. With these things in mind, it is important that a person who believes themselves (or a loved one) to be testosterone deficient consult a physician to schedule a blood test. With a simple blood test a doctor can determine whether or not the patient’s hormone levels are a cause for concern and whether or not the patient is a candidate for therapy.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Safe For Everyone?
Testosterone Replacement Therapy is typically a simple and safe process with little or no side effects. However, those who have prostate or breast cancer are not to be considered candidates because use of testosterone with either breast or prostate cancer is contraindicated and has been shown to stimulate the growth of these cancers. For this reason, it is highly recommended that all potential candidates schedule a screening before initiating any form of testosterone replacement therapy.
Being a man can be very difficult especially if you are going through a health issue that you do not feel you can discuss with anyone else. The good thing is that you do not have to feel alone and suffer in silence because the solution is as easy as scheduling an appointment with a doctor and figuring out the treatment that will be a good fit for your situation. Hopefully you will quickly receive treatment and can get back to feeling healthy and happy in no time.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Blunders Causing Health Problems!
I have heard of so many mistakes being made by people taking testosterone replacement therapy. Some mistakes seriously impacted their quality of life, or resulted in men stopping testosterone prematurely. Here are a few of the biggest errors I’ve witnessed:
Wrong sources in Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Using “street sources” of testosterone: I have met many men whose doctors do not support their use of testosterone, so they buy it on the black market or from some guy at their gyms. This is illegal. Testosterone is classified as a controlled substance under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990 and has been assigned to Schedule III. It is regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). A doctor can legally prescribe it but it is illegal to use without a prescription. Be aware that the buying or the using of testosterone without a proper prescription may have legal consequences. The use of testosterone and its cousin molecules (anabolic steroids) is illegal in the United States for those without a medical diagnosis that justifies their use (e.g. anemia, wasting, hypogonadism). If after reading this book you still decide to get testosterone in the black market, be beware that you could set up by informants who may alert the DEA of your purchase. Also, importing testosterone even if you have a prescription is not legal. In a nut shell: only use testosterone after a physician gives you a prescription and do not import it from other countries.
The use of “street” testosterone is also dangerous. No one knows what those products may contain. Some so-called testosterone products may simply contain peanut oil, sesame or grape-seed oil. You also run the risk of exposure to contaminants that could cause infection.
Not having a doctor follow-up your blood work is a sure way to get in trouble! If you have low testosterone, there are hundreds of doctors who will prescribe testosterone replacement therapy (refer to the Appendix section for directories). If you are using testosterone to increase muscle mass or to improve athletic performance even though you have normal testosterone levels, be smart and research all you can. And please, read the information in this book about how stopping testosterone can cause health problems (if you are using black market testosterone, chances are that your source will eventually run out).
No proper research for Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Not exploring what testosterone option is best for you: Since there is an assortment of options for testosterone replacement, it’s important that you take the time to really find out what’s best for you. Several factors are involved in deciding what would be the best testosterone replacement option for you. Among them are cost, insurance coverage, convenience, preference for daily versus weekly use, lack of time to stick to a strict daily schedule, fears of needles, and physician familiarity of the different products. For instance, some health management organizations (HMOs) programs only pay for testosterone injections since they are the cheapest option. However some men have needle-phobia and dislike weekly or bi-weekly injections that may require them to go see their doctors that frequently (some doctors do not teach their patients to self inject at home). Other men are prescribed daily gels even if their busy lives make it difficult to be perfectly compliant to the daily therapy. Some men without insurance or financial means decide not to seek help since they do not know that there are patient assistance programs set up by manufacturers, or the fact that compounding pharmacies can make cheap gels and creams with a doctor prescription (details on this information is available in the Appedix section). Every testosterone option has advantages and disadvantages that may be more suitable for one person over another, so read the following section on treatment options.
Wrong dose in Testosterone Replacement Treatment
Not using the right dose: Men who start testosterone need to have their testosterone blood levels rechecked twoweeks or one month after they start therapy (depending on the testosterone formulation), right before they administer the corresponding dose for that day or week. This is critical since these results are essential to deciding if the dose is right for you. Total testosterone blood levels under 500ng/dL that are not improving your sexual desire and energy should be increased to 500to 1,000ng/dL by increasing the frequency of injection or the dose.Some doctors fail to retest after they get a patient started on testosterone since they assume most men respond to 200 mg bi-weekly injections or 5 grams per day of gels. The reality is that many men require higher doses to reach total testosterone levels above mid range of normal. Those men tend to stop testosterone early because they perceive no benefits at “average”doses. Incorrect frequency of injections is a common mistake and is actually worse than not getting treatment at all. See the next sections for more details on this.
Discontinuation of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Cycling on and off testosterone: Testosterone replacement is a life-long commitment in most cases. Once you start you should assume that you will stay on it unless you have an unmanageable side effect. Some patients think that “giving the body a break” once every few weeks is a good thing. What they do not know is that during the time that you are taking testosterone, your testicles stop producing it. When you stop replacement therapy you are left with no testosterone in your system for weeks while your HPG hormonal axis normalizes. Depression, weight loss, lack of motivation, and loss of sex drive can appear rapidly and with a vengeance. A few men never have their hormonal axis return to normal after stopping testosterone (especially if they were hypogonadal at baseline). Read more details on this in the section entitled “HPGA dysfunction.”
Side effect syndrome effect
Stopping testosterone abruptly due to an unrelated signal: Some of us may be taking medications for other conditions along with testosterone. Sometimes new medications can increase cholesterol and triglycerides and/or liver enzymes (I call these “signals”). Some doctors prematurely blame testosterone instead of the new medications that someone might have started. I have seen people suffer because of this poor judgment of their doctors. Weeks later, they learn that stopping testosterone did not improve any of these problems but by then they feel tired, depressed, and asexual.
Lack of awareness
Not knowing how to manage potential side effects: Luckily, this will not happen to you after you finish reading this book. I know men who stopped testosterone due to swelling in their nipple area, acne, moodiness, perceived lack of benefit, hair loss, or a prostatic specific antigen (PSA) increase that was due to a prostatic infection. Knowing how to manage these side effects is essential to long-term success. If you know what side effects may occur and how to deal with them, you are less likely to prematurely stop therapy. You may just need to readjust the dose, change the delivery method, or take a medication to counteract the potential problem. Only the best physicians, who do not overreact to a side effect, know how to do this.
Partying hard? Do n’t expect miracles in Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Having a life style that is not “testosterone friendly”: If you smoke, drink more than two drinks a day, smoke too much pot, are overweight, do not exercise, do not keep your blood sugar or lipids in control, and do not show up to doctor’s appointments, you do not have a testosterone-friendly lifestyle. Studies have shown that these factors may influence your sexual function and long-term health. Excessive alcohol can decrease testosterone. Exercise can increase it if done properly or decrease it if overdone. You can read more about this later in this book.
Group discussions help in Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Not reading or staying “networked” with other patients: Being in isolation about information makes you a less effective patient. There are online groups of men who discuss testosterone and other issues (see the Resource section). Sharing your experiences and learning from others are keys to being an empowered and proactive patient. It’s the only way to maximize the benefits of any therapy you are using. Many of the practical “tricks” that I have learned have been obtained via this method. The collective wisdom of other people with similar issues is more powerful than just relying on everything your doctor tells, or does not tell you. Besides, most doctors treat educated patients a lot better than those who are timid about sharing and asking questions.
Trust your Testosterone Replacement Therapist
Not switching doctors when you have to: Changing doctors can be difficult, especially if you are not a networked patient who reads a lot about your condition. Many people do not have options and have to see a certain doctor in a health management organization (HMO) setting. But most of us have the option of searching for educated doctors who are not condescending and who treat you as an equal. Your doctor should be your partner in your health and not just an unquestioned authority. Although they are saving lives and have spent hundreds of hours in school and practice to do so, they are human beings who are exposed to myths and misconceptions similar to ours I have heard the most irrational things from doctors about testosterone replacement that make me question how unfortunate their patients may be. Be sure to do your homework and find a doctor who supports you in your search for optimum health. See the Resource section for directories of physicians who are trained in testosterone replacement management.
Never miss schedule of treatment
Poor compliance: Forgetting when to inject or apply gels is a common complaint. Good time management and reminders are key. Find reminders that work for you. I use Google calendar which can be set up to send me text messages to my phone as reminders. Avoid the yo-yo effect that poor compliance causes! Testosterone replacement is a lifetime and life style commitment that should be explored with care.