Posted by Revere Health

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Testosterone Replacement

January 6, 2020 Family Medicine

When prescribed by your family doctor or another qualified medical practitioner, testosterone replacement can safely and effectively address issues caused by low testosterone levels. For some people, however, hormone replacement therapy can pose health risks.

Who Needs Testosterone Replacement?

Testosterone levels naturally decline with age. Other causes of low testosterone include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Testicular cancer
  • Low thyroid levels
  • An injury to the testicles
  • Obesity
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • Some chronic diseases 

If you have any risk factors for low testosterone (like those mentioned above) or experience any of the following symptoms of low testosterone, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy (TRT): 

  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Low sex drive
  • Infertility
  • Depression
  • Loss of bone or muscle mass
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia 
  • Reduced energy
  • Testicular shrinkage

Potential Health Risks of TRT

Physicians may prescribe testosterone therapy using topical gels, patches or injections (shots). 

According to American Family Physician (AFP), medical research is inconclusive about the health risks of long-term testosterone replacement therapy. Some studies suggest a link between testosterone therapy and prostate or breast cancer. Taken in high doses or without the presence of medical supervision, TRT may cause swelling of the prostate gland, increased blood count and acne. 

Testosterone replacement therapy may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in some patients. The good news is that, overall, medical research indicates the risk of prostate and cardiovascular complications is insignificant when testosterone replacement is managed appropriately by a medical practitioner.

Testosterone Supplements vs. Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Some over-the-counter supplements claim that they contain testosterone. However, only your doctor can prescribe testosterone replacement therapy. Although testosterone supplements may help increase your testosterone levels, they may not address the underlying cause of low testosterone. That’s why it’s critical to talk to your doctor about the best approach for you.

To determine whether you are a good candidate for TRT, your physician will perform a physical exam and discuss your symptoms and conduct blood testing to assess your hormone levels. Your doctor may also want to rule out any serious underlying causes of low testosterone, such as a pituitary tumor. 

If you suspect that you may have low testosterone, schedule an appoint with your primary care doctor to discuss your options.

Revere Health Orem Family Medicine is devoted to comprehensive healthcare for patients of all ages and providing thorough and timely healthcare for the entire family throughout all stages of life.

 

Sources:

“Testosterone Therapy: What You Should Know.” American Family Physician (AFP).

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0501/p1603.html

“Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Long-Term Safety and Efficacy.” World Journal of Men’s Health (WJMH).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5583373/

“Ways to Increase Low Testosterone.” FamilyDoctor.org.

 

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.