When to pursue testosterone replacement therapy

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Low testosterone can be the source of plenty of annoyances for men. The most obvious one? Just turn on a football game and wait for the commercials for little blue pills.

But those little blue pills only address one aspect of what could be the cause of many more problems that can have just as much of an impact on a man’s quality of life.

Feelings of fatigue, moodiness, weight gain, and altered masculine features like reduced muscle mass, bone density and body hair can all point to a problem with hypogonadism, the medical term for low testosterone. Testosterone production gradually, naturally decreases as men age. But for younger men, it’s not normal, it’s often a sign that something is wrong, and it could even lead to death caused by cardiovascular events, said Dr. Noah Allen, a urologist with St. Elizabeth Physicians.

“Men should not ignore these symptoms,” Allen said. “Other underlying diseases can lead to those symptoms “” not just erectile dysfunction.”

Thankfully, many men that have low testosterone production can get those symptoms reversed with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

“Men can bring it up with their primary care doctor or discuss it with their urologist,” Allen said. “Both of those would be a good place to start.”

Testing for hypogonadism requires a simple blood draw. And if the test is positive, TRT could be an option to reverse many of the symptoms of low testosterone, many in as little as a month. TRTs can take many forms, including topical gels, skin patches, injections and even implants underneath the skin.

TRT is not for everyone. Some types of hypogonadism require a different treatment approach. And men who do qualify for TRT can expect regular doctor’s visits, as TRT requires close monitoring.

Low testosterone could point to a more serious problem. Pituitary disorders, inflammatory diseases, cancer of the pituitary gland and even HIV/AIDS could all be the culprits behind hypogonadism. If left untreated, low testosterone can cause much more serious, life-altering consequences.

Thyroid problems, depression, medication side effects and alcohol abuse could also be the source of symptoms similar to those caused by hypogonadism. Long story short: If you suspect you’re suffering from low testosterone, don’t ignore it.