A decrease in testosterone in the body is normal for men to experience as they age, but this decline in hormone levels can cause side effects. In some men, the decrease of testosterone happens rapidly. When low-T begins to cause negative symptoms that interfere with overall health and quality of life, testosterone replacement therapy may be able to help.
Low-T is a term that is used to describe low levels of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a hormone that regulates sex drive, bone density, muscle mass, body hair growth, production of red blood cells, sperm production, mood, the ability to achieve erections and the distribution of fat throughout the body.
While it is normal for men to experience some decrease in testosterone levels in the body, low-T exists when these levels dip low enough to cause health problems. Up to 40 percent of men over the age of 45 experience low-T.
Symptoms of Low-T
Understanding the symptoms of low-T can help men to identify whether they may be suffering from the condition. These symptoms include:
- A marked decrease in libido. When a man has low-T, his sex drive may disappear completely. A lack of libido is especially difficult to manage whena close relationship is being affected by this symptom.
- Erectile dysfunction. Even if a man with low-T still maintains a moderate sex drive, the condition is likely to lead to erectile dysfunction. Testosterone acts as a trigger for the chain of events that need to happen in the body in order for an erection to occur.
- Trouble ejaculating or low fluid during ejaculation. Testosterone helps to regulate function in the sex organs, and a decline in the hormone will lead to reduced sperm production and less fluid in the ejaculate that is produced.
- Numbness in the genitals. Numbness associated with low-T may be an actual lack of feeling in the genitals, but it may also be experienced as an absence of physical response to being touched in the genital region.
- Fatigue. There are many health conditions that lead to fatigue, and low-T is one of them. Feeling tired after working all day is one thing, but men who experience fatigue will be tired from start of their day.
- Mood problems. Low-T may lead to depression. Even if a man who suffersfrom low-T does not have a clinical case of depression, he may feel sad or down more often than usual. Low levels of testosterone can also cause mood problems including anger and outbursts.
- Change in physical appearance. Because testosterone helps to regulate muscle mass and fat distribution, men with low-T may experience a decreasein muscle mass and an increase in body fat.
- Hair loss. Men who experience hair loss may think that it is happening because they are aging, but low-T leads to hair loss all over the body.
- Bone loss. Men who have untreated low-T may have a decrease in bone density. If the condition continues to go untreated, low-T increases a man’s risk of fracture.
How Testosterone Replacement Therapy Helps
After a low-T diagnosis, doctors often prescribe a change in diet and lifestyle to determine whether healthy eating, more exercise and giving up bad habits like smoking can help to improve testosterone production. While lifestyle changes help some men, many men who suffer from low-T will need additional help in the form of testosterone replacement therapy.
Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment that works to replace the testosterone that has been lost in the body in order to regulate a healthy level of the hormone. Men who receive this treatment typically find that it helps to improve sex drive and mood. The treatment can increase energy levels and helps the body to better regulate muscle mass and bone density. Men who receive low-T treatments report that they experience more consistent moods, a higher sex drive, improved muscle mass, better memory, a greater ability to focus and concentrate and an overall improvement in quality of life.
Treatment through testosterone replacement therapy can be administered in a variety of methods. Topical gels may be applied to the armpit or inner thigh. Patches can be applied to the back, thigh or stomach. Testosterone injections are also effective. These injections are administered about once every week to two weeks. There are also implantable pellets that last about 6 months.
Testosterone replacement therapy is an effective treatment option, but it is important for men to understand that it is also a long-term commitment. There are many benefits to be enjoyed when the treatment option is properly utilized to improve hormone balance. It typically takes three months for symptoms of low-T to subside once treatment is started, and men must take a proactive approach to treatment to ensure that symptoms do not return.
Testosterone is an important hormone that helps men to regulate sex drive, achieve an erection and manage their moods. The hormone is also responsible for regulating muscle mass and the distribution of body fat. Menwho suffer from low levels of testosterone have the opportunity to eliminate negative symptoms by scheduling an appointment to talk to a medical professional about low-T.
The first step to combating the symptoms of low-T is to talk to a medical professional. It can be difficult to talk to a doctor about the symptoms of low-T, but calling to schedule an appointment is essential to the long-term treatment of the condition. Scheduling an appointment is often the first step to regaining quality of life.