You may know that testosterone is a hormone secreted by the testicles and is essential to male sexual development. As men age, the testosterone production may become inhibited, resulting in a loss of muscle mass, low red blood cell counts, and a deficiency in bone density. Additionally, the adult male can experience a poor sense of wellbeing and a loss of sexual appetite. When this happens, the individual may need HRT to boost his testosterone levels.
What Causes Low Testosterone?
Just as females may need estrogen hormones later in life, men may need a prescription for testosterone supplements as they age. A testosterone deficiency can also be created by events in life or medical procedures. For instance, an injury or illness can cause a hormone imbalance, or a medical condition that results in the loss of one or both testicles will likely affect the production of testosterone in the body.
Similarly, chemotherapy and radiation can also be responsible for lower than normal hormone levels. Cancer treatments very often affect the body’s ability to produce necessary hormones, such as testosterone.
Other illnesses that can affect testosterone production include Klinefelter’s Syndrome, which is a genetic disease that causes men to develop extra X chromosomes. An overproduction of iron in the body (Hemochromatosis) can also be responsible for a hormone imbalance. Additionally, liver cirrhosis, alcohol consumption, stress, obesity, and kidney failure are all causal factors in poor testosterone production.
The Side Effects of Tesosterone Replacement Therapy
One of the primary concerns for men facing this condition is over the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy. However, the treatment is generally safe and side effects are usually minimal. If any of the following side effects do occur to a severe or frequent degree, your doctor may simply need to adjust your dosage.
- Oily skin, sometimes resulting in an acne outbreak
- Some fluid retention
- Difficulty in urination, including an inhibited stream
- Higher risk of developing prostate problems
- Enlargement of the breasts
- Development of blood clots
- Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- Reduction in testicle size
- Mood changes, which can include frequent aggravation or frustration
- Risks of heart attack or strokes may be increased
Other changes in your body chemistry may also occur. This includes a rise in your red blood cell count, as well as changes in your lipid levels and cholesterol counts. A lower sperm count may also result from the treatments. In younger men especially, this may mean facing infertility issues.
While the side effects of an HRT regimen may pose problems, they can be managed through regular visits with your doctor. The important thing is to get your testosterone up to its normal level to help improve your sex drive, physical conditioning, and cognitive abilities. Through a careful administering of testosterone replacement therapy treatments, your body can return to normal functioning and your overall sense of wellbeing will be improved.