We all fight getting old. There is no question about it. Let’s face it, no one wants to age gracefully. Our bodies don’t care about our vanity even though we will go to great lengths to keep up appearances. Think of all the tummy tucks, facelifts or even wrinkle creams out there to try to stay looking young. A lot of us feel younger than we actually look but the morning picture in the mirror provides us a daily reminder of the truth. This is especially true for women and the market is catered towards them. However, there is a change in how men accept age mostly because there is a new understanding on how hormones affect the body. That new change is called testosterone replacement therapy (TRT, #TRT).
What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
To provide a basic understanding, testosterone(#testosterone) is a hormone produced by the testicles and is responsible for a variety of functions. Testosterone helps maintain bone density, controls fat distribution, increases muscle mass/strength, responsible for all types of body hair, red blood cell counts, sex drive (libido) and sperm production. When men reach puberty, their hormones start to increase and reach their peak by the late 20s. Keep in mind that around that age, men are at their optimal peak shape and reproductive ability. As we age and pass our prime, our hormone levels gradually drop and along with it the functions that testosterone control. Most men can accept baldness, weight gain and loss of strength but the one thing that men have trouble with losing is the loss of sex drive.
A low testosterone level has been known to be a primary cause of erectile dysfunction. No guy wants to flop when the opportunity arises. Even later in life, we want to perform like in our youth. There are medications out there like Cialis, Viagra and Levitra for erectile dysfunction. These chemical enhancers are a nice option to have but if one could avoid taking a pill and just perform as god intended, then everything would be great in the world. So this is how testosterone replacement therapy was introduced. The intent is to increase your hormone levels in your blood to the levels established in a young average male. In theory, this should bring back muscle strength, get your sex drive up and give you energy to be productive throughout the day.
The treatment comes in a variety of options to fit your daily needs. You can perform your therapy using the traditional method of testosterone pills. Oral tablets are the least desirable option since they don’t last as long and require multiple doses throughout the day. The most common form of testosterone therapy is gel which can be absorbed by the skin quickly but the hormone is slowly released into your bloodstream. Unfortunately, testosterone replacement therapy costs associated with the gel are enormous.
There are other less costly alternatives such as injections but this method tends to create a roller coaster effect since testosterone is injected directly into your body. Then there is the patch which is taken daily and acts like your natural body cycle. Most of the absorption is performed in the morning and it reduces itself throughout the afternoon. One final type of treatment are the use of pellets which are implanted under the skin of the lower abdomen, upper thighs, deltoid, or gluteal muscles every few months. This technology has been around for a long time.
Testosterone Therapy Side Effects
The question everyone asks is how do men develop low testosterone levels. The obvious and easy answer is age since our body produces less over time but there are other conditions that can affect low hormone levels. Obesity is a big cause of low testosterone especially if there are fat deposits around your stomach. Being overweight will drastically reduce your hormone levels, especially if all you do is lay around. Added to that is a poor diet. Diets high in proteins will help reduce the chances of low hormone levels. Other factors include alcoholism, stress, an injury, infection, or loss of the testicles, chemotherapy, radiation, too much iron in the body (hemochromatosis), inflammation due to chronic illness, genetics, kidney failure, a defective pituitary gland or hypothalamus and even medications that act like hormones. A combination of any of the above factors can really wreck havoc on your system.
It is nice to believe that simply adding testosterone to your body can bring back the fountain of youth. The truth is that large amounts of testosterone in your body can be very harmful. It can cause sleep apnea in which your breathing stops and starts. For those who are self-conscious, it can cause acne, skin rashes, enlarge your breasts, limit sperm production, testicle shrinkage and increase the risk of a blood clot forming in a deep vein which can block blood flow into your lungs. The most dangerous of them all is an increase in prostate cancer. It has been proven that too much testosterone can stimulate the growth of cancer and non cancer cells in your prostate. In men, prostate cancer is a serious killer and difficult to treat.
Have you tried hormone replacement therapy?