How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Work?

TRT for low testosterone: Options, cost, and side effects

Hormones impact almost every function in the body. When important hormones like testosterone or estrogen are out of balance, they can significantly impact everything from sexual function and appearance to metabolism, bone density and strength. Women have used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help combat the symptoms of menopause from low estrogen for decades. Now men who experience symptoms from a similar “andropause” or low testosterone can find relief with testosterone replacement therapy.

Testosterone is one of the male sex hormones or androgens that both men and women produce. It is considered the most influential of the male sex hormones and it is also the hormone most likely to drop in production. When testosterone levels are below the normal range, it can impact health, libido, fertility, appearance (hair, muscle and fat) and energy levels. Many individuals can benefit from testosterone replacement therapy if they are experiencing lower-than-normal levels.

What Is Andropause?

Menopause is well-known as a normal phase of a female’s reproductive stages. The sudden drop in estrogen can cause many symptoms and eventually ends the monthly menstrual cycles. While not as dramatic, men do go through a similar change in their hormone levels. Testosterone does drop in production and can result in hormonal changes in men, a phase that is called andropause.

Males hit their testosterone peak in early adulthood, and it can last until their thirties. At some point, most men begin producing a smaller amount of testosterone each year, usually in their early thirties. This is the beginning of andropause but unlike menopause, hormone production slowly dissipates at about 1% per year. It is a gradual reduction over the next two or more decades instead of a quick drop in 2-5 years like menopause.

For men experiencing andropause, there may be a few noticeable changes. Testosterone is responsible for the easier accumulation of muscle mass and strength, which may wane as levels become lower. Metabolism and energy levels can be lowered – many men in their late thirties, forties and fifties find it harder to maintain a healthy weight. However, these changes are slow and often can be controlled by amending lifestyle choices. For men with a quick or significant drop in testosterone, testosterone replacement therapy may be a more effective treatment option.

Low T Versus Andropause

Although andropause does cause lower levels of testosterone, this is normal. Aging affects hormone production and not all men experience any significant symptoms from their slightly lower levels of testosterone. Low T is a different scenario that can create a big disruption in normal hormone balance. The quick decline in testosterone is often felt differently than in andropause. Some of the possible causes of low T beyond normal aging-related andropause include:

  • Injuries to the testes, liver/adrenal glands – where testosterone is produced
  • High-stress levels
  • Diseases that impact the sex organs, brain, pituitary gland or adrenal glands
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Weight gain – excessive fat stores impact testosterone levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Genetic diseases
  • Medications, steroids and certain therapies

When there is a medical condition causing low T, treatment for the condition or changes to medications may be the best option. Many men can reverse their low T with lifestyle changes – beginning weight training to build muscle and lose fat can be beneficial. However, when production is very low or other changes are not effective, testosterone replacement therapy may be the best way to improve low T symptoms.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Low T

For men that are experiencing symptoms of low T such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, weight gain, energy loss, insomnia or hair loss, the first step is hormone balance evaluation. Testosterone replacement therapy should not be considered until low T is diagnosed. and a personalized treatment plan is determined. At Arcadia Wellness Center, we begin all hormone replacement therapy (HRT) consultations with a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms, medical history and personal health. If low T is indicated, we recommend blood testing to check testosterone levels.

If a patient has symptoms and evidence of low testosterone, HRT may be advised. Our medical director, Sarah Quinn, has earned her reputation as a hormone replacement specialist. She can recommend a customized testosterone replacement therapy based on the patient’s weight, age, symptoms, health and blood tests. Our medical center uses testosterone injections that can restore normal hormone balance and improve health, mental clarity, sexual performance, weight and many other factors.

What to Expect During Testosterone Replacement Therapy

It is important that men with low T have realistic expectations with HRT to restore testosterone levels. It is not an overnight fix – it is a program that can take 3-6 months to obtain the desired results. While many men do notice a difference quickly in their energy levels, sleep quality and even strength, it does take time to achieve optimum levels of testosterone. Most men will notice small changes in the first week or two, but the bigger improvements will occur over the first few months of treatment.

How often you will need testosterone injections will depend on your treatment plan. At Arcadia Wellness Center, we individualize all our HRT plans to the patient. Injections are usually placed into the thigh or buttock muscles – these are usually the easiest spots for treatment. The dosage and frequency are dependent on the patient. Some patients will need more frequent injections during the first 2-3 months, then fewer as testosterone levels stabilize. Our patients can perform most of their treatments at home and only need to visit our medical center every few months to monitor their progress.

Every patient is different, but for most men on testosterone replacement therapy, noticeable changes can be experienced over several months. Some of the possible impacts of male HRT include:

What Is TRT? Understanding Male Hormone Replacement Therapy - ReNue Rx

  • Improved sex drive and possible reversal of ED
  • Improved cognitive clarity
  • Increased energy
  • Increased muscle mass
  • Easier and faster fat loss
  • Stabilized mood – fewer episodes of anxiety or depression
  • Greater stamina and endurance

For many men on testosterone replacement therapy, the changes in their mental, emotional and physical well-being within the first six months are incredible. However, these changes occur in increments – it is vital to have realistic expectations and continue the therapy long enough to enjoy the results.

Is HRT Right for You?

Low T can affect men of all ages, but it is more common for men over 40. When noticeable changes occur that point to low T, it is worth exploring whether testosterone replacement therapy may be right for you. Not only does low T affect your muscles, sex life, energy and weight, but it can negatively impact your health. With testosterone replacement therapy, many men are able to improve their cholesterol levels and bone density, as well as many other health improvements.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy in Phoenix, AZ

If you have noticed symptoms that may be linked to aggressive andropause or low T, you may want to take the next step to explore testosterone replacement therapy. If you live in the Phoenix area, contact our team at Arcadia Wellness Center. We can schedule your initial appointment for a hormone balance evaluation. If needed, we can perform lab testing to check your testosterone levels and advise whether you are a good candidate for male HRT. Call our office today to book your appointment or contact us online