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Hormones are substances produced by our endocrine glands. These are carried to different tissues and organs through blood.

There are various types of hormones that act on various aspects of body functions and processes. Hormones help in:
  • Development and growth
  • Metabolism
  • Sexual function
  • Reproductive health and growth
  • Cognitive function
  • Mood
  • Maintenance of body temperature

Male Hormone Replacement Therapy

In the below paragraphs, we take a look at the need for hormone replacement therapy in men.

What is Testosterone?

In a man, testosterone is a very vital hormone. It has a major role in the development of male sex organs. It also produces male characteristics such as muscularity and facial hair.

Doctors recommend hormone replacement therapy for addressing symptoms of male hypogonadism. Male hypogonadism is a condition where the man is not able to produce adequate levels of testosterone.

Why is Hormone Replacement Recommended?

As stated above, a man is said to suffer for male hypogonadism when the testes fail to produce adequate levels of testosterone.

While some males are said to suffer from hypogonadism from their birth, others may develop it later in life. In adults, hypogonadism can result in lowered sex drive, impotence, infertility, loss of facial and body, and osteoporosis.

Once the doctor identifies a person with hypogonadism – usually by a blood test – he may be prescribed hormone replacement therapy to address the loss of testosterone.

Replacing testosterone can help in restoring muscle strength, prevent bone loss, and improved sexual functions.

Though reduction of testosterone is usual in males who cross 40, doctors do not recommend testosterone therapy for them, especially those who desire for increased sex drive and overall well-being.

Increased testosterone might result in infertility, sleep disorders, and increased risk of prostate disorders and stroke.

Hormone Therapy Options

Once your doctor has identified you with hypogonadism and suggested testosterone therapy, he or she will offer you different options. These include:

Intramuscular testosterone injections

Your doctor will inject the intramuscular injections into your gluteus muscles. This is offered either fortnightly or every three weeks.

Topical testosterone gel

This is applied topically to your shoulder, arms, or your abdomen.

Testosterone Patches

Apart from topical gels and injections, your doctor can also offer you testosterone patches. These patches release testosterone slowly into your body.

Patches help in addressing the rapid rise or fall of hormone levels. Testosterone fluctuation can cause variation in your mood, energy, and sexual desire.

Risks Associated With Testosterone Therapy

Male hormone replacement therapy is not free of any pitfalls. While some side effects are minor, other side effects can be more serious.

Potential Minor Side Effects

Some minor side effects of testosterone hormone therapy include:
  • Acne
  • Fluid retention
  • Increased urination

Potential Severe Side Effects

Some potential severe side effects include:
  • Development of male breast – gynecomastia
  • Decreased testicular size
  • Increased cholesterol level
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Infertility
  • Worsening of sleep apnea
  • Increased red blood cells - can result in hypertension, muscle pain, vision problems, blood clots, chest pain.

Talk With Doctor

Male hormone replacement therapy is very useful to those who suffer from hypogonadism. But, it does come with its associated risks.

Most often than not, these risks far outweigh the potential benefits that you might get if you opt for any replacement therapy.

Talk with the doctor and seek safer alternatives like resistance exercise. These exercises can help in building muscle mass. Going for a walk, run, or swim is also very beneficial in keeping you healthy.