Natural Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men
In an earlier post we discussed the role of natural estrogen therapy in women. But let’s not forget about men and the famed ‘male menopause’. Natural testosterone replacement certainly can be a safer and more effective form of male hormone therapy than synthetic approaches. But, is male hormone therapy appropriate for all men with low testosterone? While perfectly suitable for some, the decision to go ahead with therapy may not be as clear-cut as you’d first think.
Male Menopause (Also known as Andropause)
The jury is still out on whether male menopause truly exists. The reason is that men typically don’t go through a clearly defined period of hormonal change as women do. Not so say that changes don’t occur. The natural decline of testosterone with age is well documented – and typically occurs at around 1% per year after age 30. Interestingly, this decline doesn’t always produce symptoms that would prompt treatment. The term ‘male menopause’ however, was coined to refer to the period when symptoms do arise. What kind of symptoms are associated with male menopause?
Typical Male Menopause Symptoms:
- Brain fog and focus
- Decrease in motivation
- Decreased sex-drive
- Sleep problems
- Low energy
- Hair loss (head and body)
- More fat (especially abdominal fat) and less muscle
- Erectile problems
To muddy the waters, a number of conditions can cause the above symptoms without low testosterone; thyroid issues, depression and medication side effects are just a few. On the other hand, conditions like sleep apnea can actually lead to low testosterone. In cases such as this, treating the underlying problem of male menopause may return testosterone levels to normal. If your doctor is able to eliminate these potential causes for your symptoms, you may be a candidate for natural testosterone replacement therapy.
Male Hormone Treatment
A number of hormone treatment options are available to men, with the right choice often coming down to personal preference. Ingesting testosterone can be toxic to the liver. While men can opt for natural testosterone replacement therapy through injections (one to two times per week), topical gels and patches are more common. These may be absorbed well through the skin and can provide a reasonably stable release of hormones throughout the day. Injections can increase the risk of blood clots, making the remaining options more suitable for some.
In recent times, Implants have also been an accessible option to provide hormone replacement therapy for men. Implants are inserted into fatty tissue just below the skin. The release of testosterone is slow and sustained, with pellets lasting 4-6 months before needing replacement. Natural bio-identical options have the added benefits of being prescribed in personalized doses and are easily metabolized by the body.
Benefits of Natural Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men
The benefits of natural testosterone replacement therapy will vary from man to man. It almost goes without saying that increased sex-drive and improved erections are among the most notable benefits. In an interesting twist of fate however, testosterone can also decrease the sperm count in some men. Some will find that they become leaner as body fat melts away. Muscle mass and strength will also improve in most men. Energy levels, bone density and sleep quality may also return to their former glory.
It’s worth noting that natural testosterone therapy for men may also come with a few side effects. Minor side effects may include fluid retention and breast enlargement. Testosterone will decrease your sperm production and may also reduce your fertility. Testosterone may also increase your estrogen level which is not healthy, but if monitored properly this can easily be prevented.
You may be discouraged, thinking that the potential benefits might be wrought with drawbacks, however, if you think low testosterone may be an issue for you, it’s certainly worth discussing natural testosterone replacement therapy with your physician.