Low testosterone (also known as hypogonadism or andropause) can be
caused by a problem with the testicles, pituitary, or hypothalamus. If
you are suffering from low testosterone, the treatment options available
to you will depend on the underlying cause for the deficiency.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
replacement therapy (TRT) is an FDA-approved treatment for men with low
testosterone. TRT comes in the form of gels, patches, injections and
Gel therapy: Testosterone
gel is the most common form of TRT. In this therapy, gel or creme is
rubbed into the skin directly. If you are using topical testosterone,
care must be taken that the gel is dry before your skin comes in contact
with another person.
can be injected into the muscle every two weeks. Injections are most
beneficial for men experiencing fertility issues.
Patches: TRT can also be administered by using a patch, applied nightly to the upper arm, thigh, abdomen or back.
Oral inserts: Testosterone
undecanoate is a naturally occurring form of testosterone which can be
absorbed when taken by mouth. This method tends to be more expensive and
less effective than other forms of delivery, but it is a good option
for men who cannot tolerate other forms of testosterone.
Long acting pellets: Testosterone pellets are small cylinders of testosterone which are surgically implanted into
the fat of the buttocks where testosterone is absorbed into body over
the course of several months. This delivery method is not safe for older
men at risk for prostate cancer.
If your low testosterone is
caused by problems with your pituitary gland, your doctor can give you
pituitary hormones. If problems with your pituitary stem from a tumor,
surgery, medication or radiation treatment, your doctor may administer
testosterone replacement therapy.
factors which may contribute to your low testosterone are drug and
alcohol use, obesity, or a diet high in animal products.
for chronic illness such as diabetes or hypertension may also depress
your hormone levels. Beta blockers interfere with nerve impulses and may
compromise your hormone levels. Alternative treatment to beta blockers
include antihypertensives (such as calcium beta blockers) which don't
interfere with sexual function. H2-receptor antagonists (Tagament and
Zantac) can also interfere testosterone levels.Your doctor can work with you to implement lifestyle changes in your diet and sleep habits.
Finding the Right Treatment
you begin treatment for low testosterone, your urologist will conduct a
detailed medical assessment. Your doctor may also consider where
hormone production is being disrupted by running diagnostic tests such
as semen analysis, pituitary imaging, or testicular biopsy.
age, their testosterone levels decrease naturally. TRT is not
recommended for the normal aging process because there are a number of
risks involved with treatment.
Talk to your doctor about the pros
and cons of testosterone replacement therapy, and what the best
treatment options are for you.