How is low testosterone treated?

Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
If a careful evaluation by your doctor suggests that low testosterone is a problem, it can be treated by giving testosterone either topically, in the form of a gel that you rub into the skin or a patch, or by injection once weekly or once every couple of weeks. Men on testosterone treatment have to have regular follow-ups to make sure there are no problems with prostate enlargement or an increase in the red blood cell count.
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If a blood test reveals low testosterone levels, you may want to examine what aspects of your life may be lowering your testosterone. Chronic stress, dull routine, feeling unappreciated and purposeless at work, lack of physical activity and exercise, even some cholesterol lowering medications can all cause a significant drop in testosterone production.

Lifestyle changes always encourage the body to produce more testosterone in a balanced way. If you have optimized all of these factors, but still have low testosterone, you may want to consider asking your doctor for a prescription for supplemental testosterone. The hormone is available as a skin patch, gel, and injection. Because testosterone therapy can have a number of side effects, including decreased sperm production and an enlarged prostate, men should never use it without a doctor's supervision.

Before any treatment with testosterone, your doctor will do blood test to determine if you are a candidate for TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). If and when your doctors recommends TRT as a treatment, your doctor will go through the various ways you can do this treatment. There are several options you will have: a topical gel that is applied to you skin. And please wash your hands after you apply the gel. Injections, intramuscluar. And now they offer a pellet that is implanted under your skin. It has a slow release and last for about 6 months. And there is a patch. Same idea as the pellet. Several weeks after a consistant protocol of treatment, your doctor will monitor your levels of testorone with more blood test.

Low testosterone affects up to 10% of middle-aged men. The signs and symptoms include a low sexual drive or decreased libido, fatigue, decreased energy and depression. For men with these symptoms who also have a blood test confirming low testosterone levels there are several ways to replace the hormone including injections, patches and gels.

The injection form has the advantage of raising your testosterone level in your blood fairly rapidly. It gets you back to normal levels after the first shot. Transdermal systems (gels and patches) have the advantage of keeping a pretty steady-state testosterone level in the blood, so there's not that waxing and waning that can go on.

It's important for men to talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement and make sure it's appropriate for their specific situation. Most men do feel better after treatment; they feel stronger, have more energy and feel more alive.

Low testosterone in men is first treated by addressing poor diet, exercise and sleep habits; medication is only prescribed if lifestyle changes don't work. Watch urologist Harry Fisch, MD, explain why sleep is key, and the foods men should avoid.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.