There are so many benefits to testosterone therapy and hormone balancing and the growing belief by Physicians is that living with a depleted endocrine system causes so many other issues to your body. Hormone and Testosterone therapy is not just about vanity but making sure that your system is balanced and working effectively and growing studies are now showing that supplementing low testosterone back to normal testosterone levels reduced the rate of prostate cancer, heart attack, stroke and death in over 83,000 US veterans. Now, let’s discuss some of the potential testosterone side effects.
One long myth about testosterone side effects is that it causes prostate issues, breast growth and moodiness. These are myths and not accurate. Actually, it is excessive estrogen production that can cause prostate issues, breast growth and moodiness. Side effects are rare when testosterone is prescribed and used properly and estrogen levels are monitored and maintained. There was actually a study in the 1940’s that was interpreted to show that testosterone therapy increased the risk of prostate cancer and this was taught in medical schools for the next 60 years. Schools and the physicians no longer believe this after Dr. Abraham Morgentaler went back and relooked at the study and concluded their was an error in their analysis. Today, we know that men supplemented back to normal testosterone levels from low levels have lower incidence of prostate cancer.
Increases in estrogen, or excessive production of it, can be treated and managed. Estrogen is typically converted to testosterone in small amounts but as we age, we produce less testosterone and more estrogen. Increased irritability in aging men is usually from increased estrogen while testosterone decreases.
Erection problems are often caused from increased estrogen levels or increased estrogen/testosterone ratios. This ratio imbalance can cause penis size to decline and is worse in men with diabetes who tend convert more testosterone to estrogen than non-diabetic males.
Hormone Therapeutics will measure and monitor a patient’s estrogen levels prior to treatment. By prescribing appropriate levels of anti-estrogen medications and managing your testosterone and estrogen levels side effects should not occur, however, this maintenance will allow understanding and treatment of any symptoms related to estrogen. Inexperienced physicians might discontinue testosterone therapy rather than monitoring and subtly altering your therapy prescriptions.
Breast enlargement, or Gynecomastia, is unusual and in the past was treated with surgery, radiation, or stopping TRT programs. Today, this symptom can be treated by adding the aromatase inhibitor anastrozole to your treatment plan.
Testicular shrinkage is another issue some see while taking testosterone. This typically happens with weight lifters or performance athletes taking unusually large amounts of hormones which we do not recommend. The hypothalamus tells your testicles that you are producing enough testosterone and tells it to produce less, which causes the testicles to get smaller. This is the same process that can cause a reduction in sperm production. If a patient experiences this, his physician may prescribe HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) or clomid which can stimulate natural production. These therapy options or HMG (human menopausal gonadotropin) can be used for patients seeking to have a child.
Inform your physician if you experience any alarming side effects, including: mental/mood changes (examples include anxiety, depression or increased anger), liver disease signs (examples includes abdominal pain/nausea, unusual tiredness, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine), increased sleep issues, or increased snoring. A slight increase in aggressiveness and libido is normal. These side effects were more likely to be caused by testosterone abuse or oral prescriptions (liver problems leading to changes in skin color) which Hormone Therapeutics does not support.
Testosterone therapy can reduce sperm production, while on the program, lowering fertility. This issue is typically rectified by stopping treatment but not always. Talk to your physician if you are interested in conceiving a baby while undergoing treatment. HCG treatment, overseen by your physician, may help you maintain sperm production.
Injecting testosterone can cause edema where the body retains water. Switching to topical testosterone gels or creams will typically fix this. Excessive water retention can increase heart failure risks. Inform your physician immediately if you experience any of the following unlikely but important signs of heart failure or water retention: unusual tiredness, diminished exercise ability, swelling of the extremities or difficulty breathing when prone.
Growth hormone can increase ventricular wall mass, decrease wall stress, increase cardiac contractility, and reduce peripheral vascular resistance. This will typically improve cardiac function. Similarly, testosterone improves hemodynamic parameters by reducing peripheral vascular resistance and increased coronary blood flow improving function.
Testosterone Therapy should not be undertaken if you have prostate or breast cancer.
Before undergoing a diagnosis and therapy, share your medical history, especially for: cancers, heart disease (heart failure, chest pain, and heart attack), kidney issues, liver issues, enlarged prostate, cholesterol issues, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or diabetes. This is important to share with your physician prior to developing the safest and most appropriate plan for optimal balanced hormones.
Patients considering HRT with diabetes should know that testosterone therapy may decrease blood sugar levels. This should be considered a benefit, however, measuring and maintenance of blood sugar levels to ensure it does not dip low is important. Inform your physician immediately if low blood sugar symptoms occur including increased hunger, dizziness, or unusual sweating. Your physician will need to monitor and may reduce your diabetes medication.
If you use blood thinners, testosterone may increase its effectiveness. Monitor your protime and INR regularly and inform your cardiologist while discussing a lower dosage of your blood thinner following testosterone therapy monitoring. Inform your physician immediately if you experience increased bruising.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your physician immediately.
Most of the side effects people typically experience are positive and the reason that physicians are recommending treatment.
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