What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
Alex has noticed that he has been feeling differently in the past few months. He has had trouble falling asleep and been losing his hair. Though he works out regularly, he has noticed that his muscle mass is shrinking. Additionally, he has experienced bothersome mood swings and felt tired throughout the day. Most distressing of all, his sex life has fizzled out, and he rarely finds himself in the mood. His wife finally tells him that he needs to talk to his doctor about these problems. She has also noticed that Alex has been behaving more erratically and acting exhausted. After running some tests, Alex’s doctor tells him that he has low testosterone. Together, they discuss Alex’s options for treatment as well as the positive adjustments he can make to his diet.
Testosterone is vital for many healthy functions throughout the body. That is why people with low testosterone may experience fatigue, hair loss, reduced muscle mass, depression, and even reduced bone mass. Difficulty sleeping and mood changes are also common. Men with low testosterone may experience changes in the size of their genitalia, lowered sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. Each person experiences these symptoms in unique ways. Because of these factors, low testosterone can have devastating effects on someone’s physical health and emotional well-being. Thankfully, there are numerous treatments that can help those experiencing low testosterone. Perhaps the most important treatment available is testosterone replacement therapy.
How Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy Help?
Testosterone replacement therapy may help those who have been diagnosed with symptomatic hypogonadism (often just called low testosterone). There are multiple options for patients to choose in consultation with their doctor. Each method is unique in its application. However, all attempt to accomplish the goal of increasing testosterone levels and alleviating symptoms. Testosterone replacement therapies exist as transdermal skin patches, mouth patches, topical and nasal gels, injections, implants, and pills. Therefore, doctors can help determine which treatment best suits individual needs.
On the other hand, testosterone replacement therapy can have some side effects. These include itching and irritation or rashes where the testosterone is applied. There is also some evidence of a possible increase in the risk of stroke and heart attack. It might also exacerbate some conditions, such as prostate cancer, sleep apnea, and blood clots. Medical experts often highlight that, despite its preliminary benefits and risks, testosterone replacement therapy needs further study in larger clinical trials.
Every person undergoing testosterone replacement therapy is different, so no two experiences are the same. However, many men have increased energy levels, reduced erectile dysfunction, and improved sex drive after treatment. For many, it also helps to improve bone density, muscle mass, mood, and insulin receptivity. Not all patients experience these improvements at the same rate. For some, post-treatment life is substantially improved, while for others it has made little difference. For the majority of patients, though, there are noticeable benefits to testosterone replacement therapy.
For men who have erectile dysfunction (ED), there are also other treatment options to help improve sexual function. Testosterone-replacement treatment can help with mild ED but not with moderate to severe ED. Men with erectile dysfunction can take medication, undergo surgery, or use a noninvasive penis pump to achieve or maintain an erection and enhance sexual function.