Male Hormone Replacement
Testosterone Replacement Therapy, Male Sexual Health and Fertility
Hormone replacement therapy, also called testosterone replacement therapy, is used for restoring normal testosterone levels in men. Testosterone levels can decline due to health conditions that affect the testicles, such as injury, cancer or infection. But testosterone levels also naturally decline as men age — typically once men reach their 30s. Although this reduction in testosterone levels is considered normal, some men can suffer abnormally low testosterone levels, or hypogonadism, which occurs when the testes produces only very low amounts of testosterone.
Functions of Testosterone
Testosterone has many important functions in the body. Thus, lowered testosterone levels are associated with several symptoms including fatigue, depression, reduced sexual desire, infertility, osteoporosis, and decreased muscle mass and strength.
Risks of Male Hormone Replacement Therapy
A growing number of men are using male hormone replacement therapy to reverse the natural decline of testosterone. However, many doctors do not recommend testosterone therapy for healthy, aging men, who are not diagnosed with hypogonadism. Although the decline in testosterone is associated with many bothersome symptoms, testosterone levels that are too high can lead to serious side effects, including infertility, increased risk of stroke, enlarged breasts and enlarged prostate.
Male Hormone Replacement Options
If your doctor recommends hormone replacement therapy, testosterone can be administered as gels, patches, or intramuscular injections. Testosterone also comes in an oral formula, however, oral testosterone is generally considered to be toxic for the liver. Once the therapy is started, it is essential to monitor testosterone levels to ensure they are not getting too high.