Testosterone (T) is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic drug. Its functions as a hormone are not only related to the reproductive system. It enhances oxygen susceptibility, modulates the nervous system functioning, and manages blood glucose rates. If a testosterone deficiency is found, the doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to a patient. In addition to medicinal products, exogenous T can be obtained from healthy drinks and food.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy — the List of Basic Treatment Options
There are five testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) treatment options. Each method of treatment has its pros and cons.
Oral drugs. Tablets are weak. They are only recommended for gentlemen who have slight testosterone deficiency. Such HRT has prophylactic properties and targeted at preventing the development of conditions induced by androgenous deficiency. It is worth noting oral medications, which are not intended for swallowing but rather mouth resorption (the so-called “buccal” tabs like Striant). Their advantages include the gradual release of exogenous T and a slight effect on the mucosa of the GI tract. Disadvantages of buccal tablets include cases of gingival damage in the elderly.
Solutions for shots. A positive aspect of TRT by injection is the direct ingestion of the active agent without irritating mucous membranes of the alimentary canal. For intramuscular injections, doctors use oily solutions that are slowly absorbed in the body, maintaining the same T levels in the bloodstream. Subcutaneous shots are often chosen by men who require lifelong TRT because they give a wide berth to numerous muscle punctures that cause painful sensations (especially in older age). However, athletes often choose intramuscular injections (for example, Winstrol & Sustanon), since they are the most effective.
Skin gel. Exogenous testosterone can enter the body by applying a special gel to the skin (Androgel, Axiron, Fortesta, Testim brand names). This type of TRT is popular among men due to the ease of use and flexibility of dosing. Thus, according to Kishore M Lakshman and Shehzad Basaria (Clinical Interventions in Aging, 2009), superb tolerability and dosage flexibility make Androgel highly desirable over other HRT modalities. You should observe some instructions when using gels. Apply the remedy to clean skin. Stay away from sweat-inducing activities for 30 minutes. Other people, especially children, pregnant women, and the elderly should not touch this place within 60 min after administration. You shouldn’t rub or otherwise disturb the area of influence of the remedy.
Testosterone transdermal patch. Another latter-day technique of testosterone replacement for men is testosterone transdermal patch (Androderm). The first generation of patches was intended for gluing into the scrotal area because, through it, the body can soak up high quantities of the pharmaceutical substance. Innovative patches can be applied to the back, thighs, arms, and abdominal area. The skin should be washed, dried, and devoid of hair. This product quickly treats testosterone deficiency and ensure its stable levels. Despite the seemingly harmless qualities of testosterone transdermal patches, the uncontrolled use of such HRT can be hazardous for the body. In addition, incidences of transfer of gels to kids with consequent undesirable events, such as precocious puberty, have been reported (Jonathan Hadgraft, Majella E. Lane, EJ of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 2015).
Testosterone implants (pellets). This type of HRT is popular with many men with testosterone deficiency. The pellet (like Testopel) stitched under the skin around the navel gradually releases a certain dosage of testosterone into the body. Due to the continual action of the implant, androgen levels remain stable for 6 months after the procedure. The incision is very small, so the scar is invisible even in summer. The disadvantages of such TRT include potential displacement of the capsule and the risk of bruising in the implantation area.
Although all the above-mentioned products (as well as oral steroids, such as Oxandrolone for sale and an ancillary drug Clomiphene) can be bought in many cyberpharmacies, self-prescribed HRT is a taboo. Excess T is as unfavorable as its deficiency. Remember that with age, its natural level decreases, so all patients need to be tested twice a year to control TRT results.
Cost of Testosterone Therapy — How Much Money Should You Spend?
Cost of testosterone therapy in clinics depends on the treatment option you choose. Most health insurance is accepted, in which case you are responsible for any applicable deductibles or co-pays according to your health insurance policy. For people choosing a self-pay option, the substitution therapy costs around 400 dollars a month.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Risks and Contraindications
The treatment is not suitable for all people. There are some testosterone replacement therapy risks and complications.
HRT is totally contraindicated for patients with oncological disease because it is capable of activating tumor growth. Intensive HRT is forbidden to men over 45 years who suffer from nocturnal apnea and epilepsy. In addition, therapy may be counter-indicated for patients with:
- bronchial asthma (according to NHS, HRT has been linked to asthma risk);
- severe kidney disorders;
- pelvic inflammation;
- heart failure.
Before starting TRT, the patient needs to undergo special diagnostic tests. The specialist will prescribe a suitable treatment regimen to maintain the level of the hormone within normal limits. After therapy, you also need to take tests. Before and after the diagnostic tests are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy.
Testosterone Therapy for Women — Can Females Be Treated with Testosterone?
Testosterone isn’t a primary hormone in the female body but it performs some important functions. However, testosterone therapy for women isn’t common.
Steroid drugs are dangerous for women. In addition, sometimes, women on steroids look terrible.
Natural Testosterone Replacement — How to Increase T Levels Naturally?
People who don’t want to use medicines often resort to natural testosterone replacement methods. These methods include:
- Physical activity and workouts.
- Avoiding bad habits.
- Proper nutrition.
- Eating testosterone-boosting food products, such as oysters.
- Natural replacement therapy can be helpful but in severe cases it is ineffective.
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