Before you’re born, your body starts producing testosterone (as early as seven weeks after conception). During puberty, testosterone levels rise, then peak during your teenage years, and eventually begin to decline in adulthood. For some men, the change isn’t noticeable; for others, it can be life changing.
That’s where testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for men comes in.
At least 39% of men over 45 suffer from low testosterone, but with TRT, men don’t have to face the negative side effects of low T levels. At Amy Brenner, MD & Associates, we’ve found that testosterone replacement can help a man’s overall quality of life.
How is testosterone naturally produced?
Before we can go any further, let’s stop and go over the basics. Hormones are chemicals in charge of controlling and regulating various bodily functions. Testosterone is a hormone produced by cells in the testicles called Leydig cells.
Just like other hormones, testosterone depends on a complex system of messages for production and secretion through the body. The hypothalamus in your brain tells your pituitary gland how much testosterone your body needs. That message is then relayed to the testicles, though some testosterone is produced by the adrenal glands.
The importance of testosterone in men
Anytime there’s an imbalance in testosterone levels, it can affect other aspects of your health. Why? Simply speaking, testosterone does a lot more than you may realize.
Testosterone helps regulate functions such as red blood cell production, muscle and bone mass, fat distribution, and sperm production. It also helps to create small amounts of estrogen.
Starting in the womb, testosterone plays a crucial role in male development. The hormone leads to the development of the penis and testes to differentiate male fetuses from female fetuses.
During puberty, if an adolescent boy doesn’t have enough testosterone, it could hinder normal development, including facial and body hair and voice deepening.
“Could I have too much testosterone?”
There’s this fear that too much testosterone leads to dangerous and aggressive behavior, but unlike popular belief, it’s not a common occurrence. This is more of a side effect with anabolic steroids — not bio-identical hormones.
Testosterone levels will naturally rise and fall (sometimes even dramatically) over time, so it’s hard to say when levels are “too high.” Oftentimes when men feel over aggressive or think they have too much testosterone, it’s due to a different condition that’s not actually related to the hormone.
Most research involving high T is from athletes who use anabolic steroids to increase their performance, which the average man doesn’t do.
It’s much more common for men to suffer from low testosterone than high testosterone, which is exactly why testosterone replacement therapy for men has become so popular.
What causes low testosterone?
There’s no simple answer to what causes low testosterone. Two people could have very different reasons for experiencing the problem.
First off, there are certain medical conditions that could reduce testosterone production. These conditions usually affect the:
- Testes: Testicular problems include injury, castration, tumors, chemotherapy, and radiation
- Pituitary and/or hypothalamus: Glandular problems include tumors, medications (especially heavy tranquilizers and opioids), HIV/AIDS, autoimmune diseases, and infections
- Klinefelter Syndrome: Men who have genetic diseases such as Klinefelter syndrome (having an extra x-chromosome) and hemochromatosis (gene causing excess iron) may also suffer from low testosterone levels.
- Natural aging: The biggest factor that causes low testosterone is the natural aging process. Testosterone levels drop gradually, about 1% to 2% each year. This is different from women, who see a dramatic drop during menopause. The gradual decline is often the reason why men don’t notice they have low T right away.
Remember, testosterone production and distribution is part of a complex system of messages. So when your body starts aging, the pituitary gland sends out fewer signals to the testes. With less signals, means less testosterone.
Symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Low libido
- Loss of muscle mass
- Hot flashes
- Fat growth in chest
- Shrunken testicles
- Low sperm count
- Increased body fat
- Weak bones
- Loss of body hair
- Erectile dysfunction
- Infertility (in serious cases)
- Poor exercise recovery
- Sleep issues
Learn more about common symptoms of low testosterone in men →
History of testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t a new fad. Doctors have been practicing it for years to help men rebalance their testosterone levels.
As science goes, some forms of testing probably aren’t appealing to the general masses. With that in mind, let’s rewind to the late 19th century. French physician, Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard announced that he used injections of testicular extract from guinea pigs and dogs to rejuvenate himself. That probably doesn’t like something you’d want to do, but it was the first step to understanding the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.
His injections didn’t actually have testosterone in them, so it was probably a placebo effect. But his announcement did lead to more research on the effects of testosterone.
The first time testosterone was used for clinical use was as early as 1937, though researchers were still unsure how it worked.
Fast forward to modern day and now testosterone replacement therapy safely reverses the symptoms of low T to get men back to enjoying their lives.
How does testosterone replacement therapy work?
Testosterone replacement therapy works just as it sounds. The hormone is administered into the body to replace a deficiency or treat symptoms associated with low testosterone. Your body uses it just as it would use the testosterone you produce on your own. There are different ways to receive testosterone replacement therapy, including pellets, injections, and creams.
But what about oral options?
There are oral testosterone options available, but we don’t recommend them or prescribe them to our patients. Oral testosterone is known for increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke, pulmonary embolism, heart attack, and liver issues.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options out there. Amy Brenner, MD & Associates offers safe, testosterone replacement therapy treatments for men in Cincinnati.
Pellets are compounded testosterone that are about the size of a grain of rice. After applying a local anesthetic, a medical professional places testosterone pellets through a 5mm incision in the hip or buttocks. The procedure only takes about three minutes, and is virtually painless. Benefits last for about 4 to 6 months.
- Testosterone is delivered slow and steady, which reduces the risk of inconsistency
- Mimics the body’s natural physiology
- Long lasting results that only require treatments 2 to 4 times a year
- No risk of hormone transfer to other people
Testosterone injections are self-administered 2 to 3 times a week. You would want to make sure you’re consistent with your injections so that you maintain your balanced testosterone levels.
- No downtime like pellet therapy
- Little to no pain at the injection site
- Can do it yourself
- Mimics the body’s natural physiology
You apply a testosterone cream on a daily basis. Though you can do this in the comfort of your own home, be extra cautious about spreading it to other people. That means ensuring that no one comes in contact with the treated area for several hours. The last thing you want is for your children or loved ones to absorb unnecessary testosterone into their system.
- Completely painless and noninvasive
- Absorbs into the skin
- Easiest, at-home treatment
Benefits of testosterone replacement therapy for men
Healthy cardiovascular function
Testosterone has been shown to improve blood flow, dilate blood vessels and strengthen the heart muscle itself.
This isn’t to say that testosterone is going to give you abs. But it could help strengthen your muscles and decrease fat mass.
TRT can help with frail bones, especially in older men. For example, men who suffer from osteoporosis might notice increased bone strength and less injuries after testosterone replacement therapy.
Increased libido is one of the main reasons our patients come to us for testosterone replacement therapy. Men with higher levels of testosterone usually have increased sexual activity and better erections.
Alleviates other general symptoms
Testosterone replacement therapy can help alleviate symptoms that come with low T levels. In general, this can include:
- Bodily weakness
- Low energy
- Sexual dysfunction
- Cognitive problems
The best testosterone replacement therapy clinic in Cincinnati
For men in the Cincinnati area, Amy Brenner, MD & Associates have everything you need to rebalance your T levels. During a consultation, we work with you to create a personalized treatment plan, including what form of therapy would benefit you best.
Our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are dedicated to giving you the best care for the best results. With us, you’re sure to get high-quality testosterone replacement methods with little to no risks.
Unlike other clinics, we are experts in the field with years of professional medical training. Overtime, our patients benefit from:
- Increased libido
- More energy
- Positive outlook on life
- Increase in overall wellbeing