Testosterone Replacement Therapy or TRT has many potential benefits, but undergoing the treatment also comes with a lot of responsibility.
You have to understand all the possible side effects before starting the treatment to ensure it works for you.
As such, you have to research the treatment and understand all the available information regarding it.
What is TRT?
As the name suggests, Testosterone Replacement Therapy is a treatment used to increase testosterone hormone levels.
It’s usually used as a remedial process for men who have reached menopause or have issues arising from low testosterone in the body. Bioidentical hormones are usually introduced into the body to suppress the symptoms.
The treatment can be through oral medication, injection, or application on the body.
In most cases, facilities offering this type of therapy diversify options for patients, with some offering additional medication to counter potential side effects.
Most clinics use HCG to combat potential fertility issues that could arise from testosterone and promote natural production from the body. Others also use different medicine to control increased oestrogen levels.
The treatment works differently for every person depending on the body’s resistance.
Managed medicine also differs with every person. It’s also essential to understand that TRT doesn’t replace natural hormone production. Your body will still release the hormone, which means the treatment only boosts those levels.
Importance of testosterone
Testosterone is usually available in both male and female bodies, but it is usually more pronounced in males than females.
One of its functions in the body is to increase sexual desire. Reduced levels of the hormone can, therefore, result in low libido, and in worst cases, contribute to erectile dysfunction.
The hormone also helps with body muscles. It affects tendon strength, protein synthesis, and neurological effects on production. All these contribute to general body health.
Your mood, mental and memory sharpness are also influenced by testosterone. If the hormone levels are low, you may suffer from short term memory loss and difficulty thinking clearly.
Without testosterone, you may also struggle with sexual performance and low bone density. Lack of enough testosterone in testicles can lead to low sperm count. The situation may also lead to reduced growth of hair and low heart rates.
Functions of testosterone in different parts of the body
Below are some parts of the body and the functionalities they get from testosterone.
Heart: Testosterone increases output and blood flow, grows the heart peripheral, lowers the chances of thrombosis, reduces reperfusion injury, and shortens the QTc intervals.
Brain: The hormone helps improve cognitive ability and memory mastery. It also increases how you develop feelings, which can increase your sex drive.
Kidneys: Helps with the production of red blood cells by increasing the production of erythropoietin.
Muscles: Increases muscle growth and firmness.
Sex organs: Aids in penis enlargement, production of sperm, penis stiffness, and prostate growth.
Skin: Promotes hair growth, collagen, and sebum for healthy skin.
Bones: Helps with the growth of bones, production of bone marrow, and bone density.
All these show that testosterone contributes significantly to your general welfare. However, the hormone often gets bad publicity because of its negative side effects like violence and aggression. When these are managed properly, they won’t result in any harm.
It shows that TRT can be used for the right reasons to benefit the body without risking the safety of the patients.
Possible reasons for getting TRT
Several reasons can result in low testosterone levels. Although scientific studies haven’t given explanations for some of the reasons, it has been proven that the levels of the hormones have reduced significantly than was two decades ago. Some of the factors believed to contribute to this reduction include:
- Environmental degradation due to human contribution. Some publications have shown that actions, like poor disposal of plastics and chemicals, eventually contaminate water and food that humans end up consuming.
- Ingestion of some drugs can also tamper with the regular production of testosterone.
- Males who take contraceptive pills that affect hormonal functionality or production are prone to suffering from low testosterone levels.
- Using anabolic steroids can also be a contributory factor. It prevents full recovery of HPTA, which hinders the production of the hormone naturally.
- Stress, genetic conditions, age, and exposure to harmful elements like pesticides, can also lead to a reduction of normal testosterone levels. Consumption of foods that have phytoestrogens and gaining weight are additional factors.
These factors can either suppress the testosterone in the body or limit its production. Either way, getting a blood test is necessary for determining the condition correctly.
Our facility has a friendly team that will make you feel relaxed as we determine the root cause of the problem.
TRT treatment options in the UK
Increasing testosterone levels naturally is very rare, but you can still try it because the methods usually lead to a better lifestyle.
You can try losing weight, weight lifting and cardio exercises, relieving stress, and eating the right foods.
However, there is no guarantee that these will increase your testosterone to the right levels, which means the therapy is still your best option.
Testing and gathering of medical history are important before the commencement of testosterone replacement therapy treatment.
You must also understand the benefits and potential dangers of the therapy before signing up for it. Once you agree, you will choose the best treatment option from the following choices.
Injection: Most clinics prefer injections because it is a fast-acting treatment option because the testosterone gets into your system directly. The injection can be administered every month, week, or four times a year. However, it is the most invasive method, especially for people who can’t stand needles.
Gels: Gels are less invasive, but they take very long to reach your system. You can apply them to your skin or nose, which will hinder quick absorption.
Pellets: These usually have long-lasting effects, which makes them great for a steady supply of the hormone for up to four months. They are placed under the skin, which makes the installation process a bit invasive.
Patches: These are mostly used by people with hypogonadism. You can wear them on your arms or any part of the upper body. If you don’t follow the directions for use correctly, you may become addicted to the patches.
Your doctor will explain the differences between these options and help you understand how each can affect your normal routines.
Feel free to ask all the questions you have and choose the one you’re most comfortable with.
TRT and muscle improvement
Testosterone has a direct effect on the growth and mass of muscles. It affects protein synthesis, which means that the more testosterone you have, the more your muscles will grow.
That is why men tend to grow bigger muscles as they grow up or venture into some professions like bodybuilding. The hormone also helps with muscle strength, which is why bodybuilders use it.
The relation between testosterone and muscle growth has been proven scientifically.
The study showed that men who used the hormone grew bigger than those who didn’t, even without exercising. The results of this study were connected to the susceptibility of men to injuries as they get older.
The older you become, the lower your testosterone levels become, which leaves you weaker and prone to muscle injury.
In cases where falls are more rampant, testosterone replacement therapy through injection is the better option.
Testosterone replacement therapy and ageing
The relation between testosterone replacement and ageing has been a topic of debate for a long time.
Although the relation isn’t direct, there is proof that men with more oestradiol could live longer than their counterparts with limited amounts.
Since testosterone produces oestradiol, TRT can increase telomeres, which prolong the lifespan.
The study also found that sex hormone-binding globulin reduces telomeres, but since testosterone reduces the SHBG, it promoted longer life.
The association between TRT and ageing comes from the anti-ageing supplements that are being released into the market.
Most companies dealing with such products use testosterone to slow down the ageing process or boost energy when used with the Human Growth Hormone.
Apart from these, most of our patients have also exhibited good results from TRT. Energy boost, reduced stress levels, and reduced anxiety are some of the positive effects we have seen from our patients.
All these contribute to a better mood and drive to make better lifestyle choices, which means TRT also indirectly contributes to a better lifespan.
Are there cancer types connected to TRT?
Although TRT can’t cause cancer, low levels of the testosterone hormone can increase the chances of having cancer. Even so, it’s not advisable to undertake testosterone replacement therapy if you already have cancer.
If you are over 45 years, you need to take safety precautions by being tested for prostate cancer. Don’t risk starting the therapy without being certain because increased testosterone levels could increase the growth of cancer.
It’s also essential that you maintain the right dosage after starting the TRT. In the beginning, there is a prostate-specific antigen that may increase, then reduce with time.
Having a high dosage of testosterone may keep that from happening and may also turn to Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, which is directly related to prostate cancer.
In some cases, it can cause you discomfort while urinating without growing into cancer.
Symptoms that you have low testosterone
Both men and women can show symptoms of low testosterone, but they are more prevalent in men.
Most men suffer from erectile dysfunction when they don’t have enough testosterone. Others experience a slight change in their sexual desire without losing out completely.
Both of these can affect your relationship adversely or make you lose confidence in your ability to satisfy your partner.
Losing clarity when you try to think can also signify low testosterone. If you start to struggle with decision-making or productivity because you can’t seem to put your thoughts in order, low testosterone may be the cause.
TRT can help you resume your normal mental capacity and enable you to thrive in your daily routines.
Tiredness is usually connected to a lack of productivity which is also a result of reduced thinking capacity. If you feel tired most of the time and you’re over 45 years, you may need to undergo testosterone testing.
Feeling sleepy earlier than you used to and not having the energy to do chores you used to handle efficiently are also signs that you need the therapy.
Reduced sports performance
The ability of testosterone to aid in muscle growth and strength is the reason it is used, sometimes illegally, to enhance performance in the sports industry.
The inability to keep up with the demanding nature of the sports industry is a warning sign that you don’t have enough production in your body. With TRT, you will have more energy and a better physique resulting from mass muscles.
Lack of motivation
Testosterone boosts your energy, which in turn motivates you to be more competitive. If you stop being competitive or lose the desire to win, TRT could bring back the lost motivation to help you start thriving again.
Other symptoms that women can also experience include reduced height, poor sleeping patterns, reduced concentration, and increased anxiety.
Some men may also experience frequent urination urges, pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, a weak or no erections, especially in the mornings.
Some people often mistake others sweating at night, reduced facial hair, growing breasts, reduced blood circulation, and resistance to insulin for symptoms of low testosterone, but they may not be.
The best way is to confirm by going for a testosterone blood test. If the levels are normal, you can consider other tests to determine whether the problem is more serious and start the appropriate treatment methods.
Low testosterone types
Also known as primary hypogonadism, this is a condition where the gonads don’t communicate properly with the pituitary gland in the brain.
As a result, the luteinizing hormone (LH) and the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) don’t increase to a level that stimulates the testicles to produce testosterone. Causes of this condition include:
- Trauma that directly affects the testicles
- Radiation or chemotherapy treatment of testicular cancer
- Other treatment methods such as castration or removal of a part of the testicles
- Genetic conditions, like Klinefelter syndrome
This is also called secondary hypogonadism, and it involves functional testicles with enough LH and FSH. However, the brain doesn’t coordinate with testes to promote the production of the required amount of testosterone. Common causes are:
- Infections or diseases affecting the pituitary gland
- Trauma on the testicles
- Chronic diseases, including cancer and possible chemotherapy treatment
- Rapid weight gain
- Poor nutrition
It’s possible to tell the type of testosterone you have based on the cause. Only a qualified doctor will help you make the right diagnosis, and our clinic has the best ones.
Necessary tests before TRT
One test is never enough when it comes to TRT treatment. You will be tested for testosterone twice.
Testing for Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a protein attached to testosterone and reduces its effectiveness. If the SHBG levels increase, you will experience symptoms of low testosterone despite having the regular levels.
Oestrogen usually contains oestradiol, which can cause symptoms usually associated with low testosterone, such as gynecomastia or sagging breasts in males, reduced sexual desire, and changes in emotions. An increase in oestradiol can be mistaken for the reduction of testosterone, which is why it has to be tested before the treatment.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
FSH directly stimulates the production of testosterone and sperms in the testes. Therefore, it’s levels will determine whether the treatment is a good option or not.
The level of LH also affects the availability of the male sex hormone directly. In most cases, it is tested together with FSH.
An increased amount of prolactin in the body can reduce sex drive and can be associated with low testosterone. In most cases, prolactin also indicates the presence of prolactinoma, which is a tumour that grows in the pituitary gland.
The level of prolactin will determine whether you get the treatment immediately or undergo further check-up to rule out the tumour.
PSA usually reflects the health status of the prostate. If the doctor finds high levels of the antigen in your system, you may be asked to undergo further examination. PSA may not have links to cancer, but it can make you more susceptible to other infections like UTI. It can also increase the growth of prostate cancer if you have it. Patients over 45 years are the ones usually asked to go for this test.
Blood count tests
One of the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy is an increase in red blood cells.
If you end up having too much blood, the chances of clotting will increase. Some doctors recommend taking some of the blood to ensure you maintain a healthy level, and that is why this test is mandatory.
If you’re on any medication, especially those that are likely to increase your cholesterol levels, the level of lipids in your body must be tested.
You may not know the effects of the drugs you’re taking, which is why you should disclose that information to the doctor before the treatment.
You should also discuss any medical condition you have to allow the doctors to determine the kind of medication you will be using during the treatment.
Hormone tests before TRT
Cortisol: This hormone will show the doctor the condition of your pituitary gland. Given the vital functions of the gland, there have to be enough cortisol levels for optimal functionality of the body.
Thyroid: Low thyroid symptoms usually resemble low testosterone signs. It’s imperative that the doctor checks the thyroid hormone levels to ensure you need testosterone before starting the treatment.
Some of the medication used during TRT can worsen liver conditions or kidney problems. These have to be protected to ascertain their condition and protect your general health. Your iron levels are also checked because they can indicate whether you have hidden conditions like haemochromatosis.
You must insist on all these tests and not just one. They will give a more comprehensive state of your health to ensure the treatment doesn’t have any adverse effects on you.
Is it possible to buy testosterone independently?
It’s possible to get testosterone from a doctor, but you can’t buy it off the counter without a prescription. However, getting the prescription isn’t always easy because most general practitioners require testosterone levels to be too low before agreeing to give the drug. Even if they confirm that your levels are very low, they may not treat some of the conditions indirectly associated with the lack of testosterone. Additionally, you may only get specific testosterone medicine, which may not be very effective.
Getting testosterone replacement therapy from a qualified clinic is the best option. You will get personalized and comprehensive treatment to get you back in top shape quickly.
Is there a connection between TRT and infertility or atrophy?
Testosterone can reduce sperm production, which can reduce your fertility. As such, you could only take the hormone if you weren’t interested in having children or if the effects of low testosterone became unbearable. With TRT, you can have alternative medication to combat the negative side effects like infertility.
Our doctors know how to modify the dosage to ensure you resume normal functionality in your testes and the ability to reproduce.
How long should TRT last?
Some people take testosterone for as long as they live, while others only do it for a specific duration. However, if you develop a medical condition that reacts with the hormone or your natural production increases, you will be able to stop. Even so, you should be careful to avoid irregular cycles.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, call TRT experts today for a check-up. You will get a suitable treatment plan, depending on what the problem is. We are also available if you need a second opinion.