Low Testosterone Treatments
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
The most common treatment for low testosterone (also called male hypogonadism) is testosterone replacement therapy. This should address the symptoms associated with low testosterone, such as low sex drive and poor erections.
It should be noted that if you have another condition causing low testosterone (such as a pituitary tumor), then your doctor will treat that, too. Also, if fertility is a concern, you should talk to your doctor about your options. This article, however, focuses on treating just the low levels of testosterone.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Options
You have several options for replacing testosterone. Please talk to your doctor about all your options, and he or she will help you choose the method that works best for your lifestyle and budget.
To replace testosterone, you can use:
- injections: This is the least expensive option. Testosterone injections last 7 to 22 days (on average, men need them every 2 weeks); this is a deep muscle injection. It is possible to give yourself the injection (or to have a family member do it). If you’d prefer, you can, of course, go to a healthcare professional to have the injection administered.
- gels or patches: These treatments are applied to the skin, and they must be applied daily. The testosterone is absorbed through your skin and then released into your blood to do its job.
- tablets (that stick to the gums): Gum tablets are also called buccal medications. You place it between the gums and upper lip. It’s a putty-like substance that is broken down by saliva and then absorbed into your bloodstream. As a reassurance, you can kiss while using gum tablets.
Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t right for everyone: men who have had or who may have breast or prostate cancer should not use testosterone replacement therapy.
As with any medication, talk to your doctor about any concerns you have while you’re on testosterone replacement therapy. You should especially mention if you have trouble breathing (particularly when sleeping) or if you have frequent/persistent erections.
Long-term use brings risks, particularly of prostate cancer in African-American men, men older than 40 who have a family history of prostate cancer, and men older than 50. Men who fall into these categories should be carefully monitored for prostate cancer while on testosterone replacement therapy.
Low Testosterone Treatment Can Help
Replacing testosterone can help you feel better about your life—because low testosterone can make you feel discouraged, angry, or depressed. Testosterone replacement therapy can help revive your interest in sex. Since testosterone is so essential for muscle and bone health, getting your testosterone levels into a normal range can help you take better care of your body.
Low testosterone is an important medical issue, so if you suspect your testosterone levels are low, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss what’s going on.