The world of medical research has been under the spotlight of late with the quite amazing creation of vaccines for the covid-19 virus coming to the market in a very short time. This is just one example of how medicine and science can rise to the occasion with success. That we were able to develop a vaccine so quickly has its roots in ongoing research, as is the case in many other areas of medicine and treatment.
Take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for example. Research into synthetic hormones to enable women in the throes of menopause had been ongoing for a long time before HRT became a commonplace treatment. It is now further advanced with the use of bioidentical replacement hormones which are created in a laboratory to be as close as possible in biological terms to the natural hormones that exist in the body.
What has this to with testosterone therapy in West Palm Beach? Well, testosterone is a hormone that is sometimes the subject of HRT treatment for men. Let’s have a close look at what testosterone is, what it does in the body, and why it can become deficient. Then we will talk about testosterone replacement therapy and how it works.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is one of the major dominant hormones in the male body. Contrary to popular belief, it is also produced by the ovaries in women but in much smaller quantities. Testosterone is created and secreted by the testes. Think of testosterone and we think of sex and big muscly bodies. These are just two areas in which this important hormone plays a part in the development and growth of a man.
But what actually are hormones? It’s a good question so let’s see if we can answer it. Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that take instructions to and from the brain and nervous system to the various organs of the body. They are produced in quantities that allow them to perform this function. Before we move on to talk about the process of testosterone replacement therapy let’s go into more detail about what testosterone is specifically responsible for.
What Does Testosterone Do?
Testosterone is responsible for regulating the following in men:
- Sexual appetite and performance
- Keeping bone density at acceptable levels
- Muscle mass development and overall strength
- Distribution of fat around the body
- Production of red blood cells
- Production of sperm
As we can see, the role of testosterone is quite a varied one, and we can also see why testosterone is associated with stereotypical masculinity. Bodybuilders, for example, often take testosterone supplements and boosters to artificially enhance both bone density and muscle growth. In the average male the production of testosterone can slow down at a certain age – usually around 50 years – but it is not only age that can affect testosterone production, so let’s move on and look at the various factors that influence testosterone deficiency.
What Causes Testosterone Deficiency?
As we have already mentioned men over the age of 50 are most likely to suffer testosterone deficiency. This is often referred to as andropause or male menopause, yet while menopause affects all women except in exceptional circumstances, andropause is experienced by some men and not all.
However, the reduction in the production of testosterone can be caused by a variety of conditions – diabetes, for one, and some heart conditions, plus depression and anxiety – and also by various lifestyle choices that we make.
When you attend a consultation to assess your suitability for testosterone replacement therapy you will be asked if you smoke heavily, drink excess alcohol, take recreational drugs, or have a poor diet and little exercise. Each of these can lead to testosterone deficiency and your consultant will expect you to change these habits to enable the treatment to be successful. What are the signs of low testosterone?
What are the Signs of Low Testosterone Levels?
A man who is suffering from testosterone deficiency may experience any or all of the following symptoms:
- Lack of sex drive and loss of libido
- Inability to get an erection or erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Depression and feeling low for no reason
- Fatigue and unusual tiredness
- Low self esteem
This is not a comprehensive list but does cover the main symptoms. It’s easy to see why – in younger men especially – the loss of sex drive and ED can lead to problems with relationships and low self-worth, and it is for these reasons that most men seek treatment for testosterone deficiency. Now we need to move on and look at how the hormone replacement therapy is administered.
How Is Testosterone Therapy Performed?
There are many methods of delivering HRT for men and your consultant will discuss the most appropriate with you before going ahead. What you need to be aware of is that this is not some instant cure. You will feel changes quite soon, but you do need to be patient if you are looking for as near to full recovery as possible. Here are the main methods of administering testosterone therapy:
- By oral pill taken on a daily basis
- By patches and creams that are applied to the skin
- By regular injection into the skin
- By platelet-rich plasma or PRP, a method that will be described by the consultant.
These are the four main methods and as research is ongoing there are likely to be developments in the future. Is testosterone therapy the way forward for you? Let’s close with a few words on why you might want to consult an expert.
Should I have Testosterone Therapy?
The symptoms we mentioned earlier are not exclusive to testosterone deficiency and in some cases can be indicators of more serious and dangerous problems. For this reason alone, it is sensible to seek a medical diagnosis if you begin to experience any of them. Contact a local West Palm Beach clinic and arrange a consultation right now.