Are you dealing with a low sex drive? Perhaps you’re irritable and don’t know why. These issues indicate low testosterone.
Consider testosterone replacement therapy as a solution. The benefits of testosterone replacement therapy include increased energy, higher sex drive, and enhanced mood.
See your doctor if you suspect low testosterone levels. Your medical provider will confirm the problem with a blood test and may recommend a therapy plan.
With that, you should be aware of the long-term side effects, and testosterone therapy isn’t for all men.
This article will help you decide if replacement testosterone therapy is the best choice for you. Read further to know more.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
Overall, the most notable side effects include:
- Oily skin
- Large breasts
- Testicle shrinkage
- Increased risks of stroke and heart attack
- Low sperm count
- Sleep apnea
- Higher risk of blood clots
When it comes to blood clots, testosterone can produce excessive amounts of red blood cells. A clot could form and travel to your lungs, restricting bloodflow in the process.
Additionally, testosterone therapy could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. In other cases, it could invigorate the growth of benign cells within the prostate. Therefore, be wary if you have a history of prostate cancer.
If you have prostate issues, talk to your doctor before getting the treatment. Men who have received treatment for prostate cancer can still get the therapy, but doctors must monitor them closely.
Also, your doctor may reject the idea of testosterone therapy if:
- You have obstructive sleep apnea: This is a more serious form of sleep apnea that causes you to stop breathing repeatedly while sleeping.
- You have a history of congestive heart failure: Your doctor will reject the idea of replacement therapy if you have a severe case of heart disease.
- You have an abnormal blood cell count: Again, this is a sign of clotting, and the situation may grow worse with testosterone therapy.
- You have urinary tract complications: This may include the urge to urinate more than usual. You may also have an enlarged prostate.
Additionally, experts warn against testosterone therapy for aging men suffering from low testosterone.
The Best Candidates for Replacement Therapy
You should consider replacement therapy if your testosterone levels are abnormally low. Low testosterone can cause the following underlying symptoms:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Diminished muscle mass
- Lack of focus
- Facial and body hair loss
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to see if therapy is the best option.
Types of Replacement Therapies
Each type of therapy provides the same benefits, but they can differ in terms of side effects. For instance, gels, patches, and creams can offer fewer side effects than oral versions. Overall, consider the following options:
Mouth Patch Therapy
One type of mouth patch therapy is Striant. It’s a tablet that sticks to the upper gums and above the incisors.
The incisors are on the right and left sides of your two front teeth. The tablet will release testosterone through your gums and into your bloodstream. You will apply this tablet two times a day.
That said, experts believe oral testosterone treatment can impact the liver negatively. However, non-oral therapies won’t touch the liver and will inject the testosterone straight into your bloodstream.
Skin Patch Therapy
This type of therapy involves a skin patch that you place on your thigh, back, stomach, or upper arms. You only need to apply this one time a day. From there, you’ll leave the patch in place for 24 hours.
This is another form of therapy that absorbs into the skin. They usually come in the form of gel pockets. That said, you should be careful with the application, as the gel can get onto someone else’s skin. Therefore, take the following precautions:
- Use the gel before dressing yourself
- Ensure the application is dry before putting on clothing
- Clean the area where you applied the gel to avoid transferring it to others
- Wash your hands after each use
If it gets on another person’s skin, they wash thoroughly and seek medical attention.
A doctor will inject testosterone into the muscles. In other cases, a doctor will insert a pellet into the skin. Regardless, your body will slowly absorb the injection or implant.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Cost
The therapy costs depend on what type of treatment you’re getting. For injections, the cost can stretch from $40 to $100 a month. With that, the pellet method is pricier, costing around $500 per month. Moreover, the pellet prices depend on the dosage.
Conversely, the gel variety can set you back between $200 and $400 a month. The actual cost will depend on the treatment plan.
Your doctor may also choose a weekly plan instead of a monthly plan, which can affect the overall cost. Additionally, the monthly cost can fluctuate.
For mouth patches, the cost can run between $500 to $600 a month. For the prescriptions, the cost could vary between $130 and $240 per month.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy: What’s the Verdict?
Testosterone replacement therapy is the best option if you have unusually low levels of testosterone. It’s not for aging men who have lost testosterone naturally.
That said, the right candidates must be aware of the side effects, such as blood clot risks, heart disease risks, and sleep apnea risks.
You can also choose the best type of replacement plan that suits your comfort level and budget. However, make your decision under the guidance of a medical professional.
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