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Testosterone Therapy, Is It Right For Me?

Dr. Anthony Close
July 1, 2021
Health Hub

Wondering if testosterone therapy is right for you?  It's a good question and you aren't alone in wondering.

Testosterone is famously known as being the male sex hormone, however it plays a wide range of other roles in both men and women too, such as helping to regulate and improve muscle mass, red blood cell count, libido, and even mood. In men in particular, testosterone plays a crucial role in sperm production, regulating other hormones in the body, and also in improving heart health along with much more.

When men’s testosterone levels are lower than what is considered a healthy level (between 300 and 1,000ng/dl), it then takes a toll on the body and how it functions as a whole. Testosterone therapy is therefore the treatment to get those testosterone levels back up to a healthy level so that everything can continue to work as it should. This may be through the use of creams, patches, pills, and even injections to deliver the hormone to the body.

Before asking “is testosterone therapy right for me?” it first pays to learn about the symptoms that indicate someone has low testosterone levels.

Women Testosterone Therapy - At-Home Blood Tests - Lab Me Analytics

Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men & How Testosterone Therapy Can Help

Generally speaking, when men enter their 30s, 40s, and beyond, their testosterone levels begin to drop, although drastic decreases in testosterone can also be attributed to trauma to the testes through injury or infection, chemotherapy treatment, and metabolic disorders. This means that low testosterone can be a somewhat common problem for men as they continue to grow older, with approximately 2% of men in the USA being affected.

The signs that someone is suffering from low testosterone levels include:

  • Erectile dysfunction and low libido
  • Low sperm count
  • Changes in mood including depression and anxiety
  • Increases in weight
  • Hot flashes in body temperature
  • Loss of body hair, including decreased beard growth
  • Loss of lean muscle mass
  • Feeling fatigued all of the time
  • Changes to the size of the testicles and scrotum

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and feel that you need to check and monitor your testosterone levels, our team at Lab Me have designed an easy to use home test kit which only takes a few days for results to be delivered to you. With this information, you along with your healthcare provider can work together to decide whether or not you require testosterone therapy, and whether other tests may be necessary.

Low testosterone can also be a sign of something else in the body, such as a pituitary gland deficiency that can lead to decreased hormone production, and some autoimmune diseases. Because of this, it can be extremely useful to monitor your testosterone levels so that the diagnosis of a related health issue can be obtained. It may be possible to restore your testosterone levels back to normal without the need for therapy, but it all starts with getting the right tests and sharing those test results with your healthcare professional.

Because low levels of testosterone can also affect cardiovascular health, particularly the heart, it can also be a good idea to ensure that your heart health, along with that of your prostate, liver, kidneys, and more are all monitored for a much more robust dataset regarding your health. For this reason, Lab Me have also designed the complete Male Executive Wellness Test that tests each of these areas in the body.

Is Testosterone Therapy Right For Me

The Benefits of Testosterone Therapy

Diagnosing low testosterone along with its causes is the first step, and after undergoing testosterone therapy or related treatments, patients can expect to see improvements with things such as erectile dysfunction, sperm count, weight management and increases in lean muscle mass, improvements in mood, and more from the above list of low testosterone symptoms.

Another important consideration when asking “is testosterone therapy right for me?” is to understand some of the side effects of testosterone therapy.

Reasons Why You Shoul Not Try Testosterone Therapy

While testosterone therapy does come with a wide range of benefits for those who do require it as a result of low levels of testosterone, there are some important considerations to make since therapy may have some other side effects. Because of this, it is extremely important to disclose your full medical history to your healthcare professional when considering this as an option.

Some of the most common risks and side effects of testosterone therapy include:

  • Worsened sleep apnea, a disorder that restricts breathing while sleeping
  • Acne and other skin problems in reaction to the therapy
  • Increases in the size of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia), along with increases in the growth of existing prostate cancer
  • Shrinkage of the testicles, which may actually lead to limited sperm production
  • Overproduction of red blood cells, which can increase the chances of a blood clot
  • Liver issues
  • Increased risk of heart problems

Because there is the potential for a wide range of negative side effects, it is important to understand that testosterone therapy may not be the best option for some people. By having an honest and open conversation with your healthcare professional, they will be able to assess whether this is an appropriate option for you based on physical examinations and by looking at your previous medical history.

It is also worth noting that it is common for many men, as they age, to self-diagnose themselves as having low testosterone in reaction to experiencing the natural effects of aging. Lower levels of testosterone is a natural part of the aging process, and if it is not causing any unwanted symptoms, then testosterone therapy might not be necessary at all. The best way to find out is through regular testing and monitoring your levels over time, and regularly discussing this with your doctor if you feel like therapy is something that you could benefit from.

Because of the above risks and side effects, it is not advisable to begin taking testosterone medications without the advice and guidance of a trained professional who is familiar with your health and medical history.

Regardless of the possible risks associated with testosterone therapy, the signs and symptoms of low testosterone may actually indicate other related health issues, such as problems with the pituitary gland, trauma to the testes, and more. This is what makes testosterone testing so important. When these related health issues are effectively treated, patients may find that things go back to normal, or will be provided with a more concise approach to testosterone therapy that they will benefit from if it is appropriate.

Lab Me offers customers the choice of between 3 different tests in total that cover testosterone measurements and more. As we mentioned before, the standard testosterone test is just that, while the Male Wellness Test monitors testosterone, vitamin D, and PSA. The Male Executive Wellness Test is the most comprehensive option and also the most recommended for a full spectrum of tests, and we always recommend discussing these options with your healthcare provider to get a more informed opinion about which option will suit your needs and symptoms the best.

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