Testosterone replacement therapy may help reverse the effects of hypogonadism. But what can it really do and which of its benefits are mere rumors?
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone is responsible for many bodily processes and is produced by the testes in males. The pituitary gland regulates its production and levels so that it can take care of its numerous functions. Most males begin to have a steady increase in testosterone levels once they hit puberty. Testosterone plays a major role in several essential functions, such as:
- Development of bones and muscles
- Production of red blood cells
- Growth of body and facial hair
- Facilitates in sperm and semen production
- Increases libido or sexual desire
By the time males reach age 30–35, the levels of testosterone slowly but steadily decrease. While science claims that it is a normal part of aging, some individuals experience lower levels than the usual. Upon diagnosis, professionals refer to this as hypogonadism. As mentioned earlier, testosterone is responsible for many bodily processes, and its deficiency may pose health problems.
Individuals who are suffering from this deficiency may naturally want to get back some of the lost functions and activities caused by low T (low testosterone) levels. This is where testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) comes in. Its primary objective is to reverse the effects of hypogonadism and restore some of the functions commonly associated with the testosterone hormone.
However, there are many misconceptions about TRT, and here you’ll find out which of those are true, and which are not.
Truth: It Can Facilitate Muscle and Bone Development
Testosterone supports a myriad of bodily functions, including bone and muscle development. Older males who still want to look fit and healthy will definitely benefit from TRT, combined with proper diet and physical activity. Additionally, an increase in testosterone levels will reduce the risks of bone conditions such as osteoporosis.
Lie: It Treats Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Difficulty in sporting and maintaining an erection is a common problem among older males. However, having low testosterone is only one of the many causes of ED. Some other reasons include stress and anxiety, high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Getting TRT just because of ED is not advisable because other factors should be considered, as well.
Truth: It Increases Energy Levels and Libido
Undergoing TRT can also raise your energy levels back to normal. Testosterone promotes red blood cell production, which is important if you’re planning on taking on a new hobby or jogging around the neighborhood daily. It will also increase your sexual drive or libido, which is one of the most popular reasons males are taking TRTs in the first place.
Lie: There Are No Qualifications to Get TRT
Another misconception about TRT is that everyone can go through it. While TRT is widely accepted today, there are necessary lab tests and examinations that you should undergo before getting the therapy. Here are some of these preliminary measures:
- Undergo testosterone levels examinations
- Check underlying health conditions and medical history
- Low T should not be caused solely by aging
Truth: TRT May Cause Infertility
Artificial means to increase T levels may cause atrophy on testicles. When this happens, the testicles would not be able to produce sperm and semen, causing damage to fertility. This is one reason TRT is mainly given to males older than 60 years old who are not worried about becoming infertile anymore.
Lie: There Is No Limit for High Testosterone Levels
In the case of testosterone levels, ‘very high’ does not always mean good. Too much testosterone in your body could lead to prostate enlargement and a higher risk of diabetes.
Seek Professional Advice
Just like any medical procedure, getting TRT requires the approval of a specialist. You can’t decide for yourself whether you need the therapy or not—it depends on your lab test results and symptoms. In case you do have low T levels, your physician may even suggest more natural and safer ways to replenish your testosterone levels.