Testosterone substitution treatment can sound similar to the fountain of youth. Replace lost levels of the hormone, go back in time to your youthful years? As folks age, their levels of testosterone will in tend to decline. What’s more, that is a major issue: Testosterone ties to proteins all through your body and brain called androgen receptors, which help control and manage an entire scope of various bodily functions, clarifies Ronald Tamler, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
On the off chance that there’s insufficient testosterone to go around, those androgen receptors everywhere on your body and brain remain quiet, prompting indications like low drive, weak erections and orgasms, failure to build muscle mass, low vitality, or simply feeling somewhat blue. A condition called hypogonadism — low testosterone—creates when your body can’t deliver enough of it.
That is where testosterone substitution treatment—a treatment that raises your low testosterone levels—comes in. Testosterone can be enhanced as an infusion, a gel, a suction cup on your gums, and even an antiperspirant. It boils down to individual inclination and what your insurance covers, says Dr. Tamler.
Presently, testosterone treatment is only for folks whose levels are in reality low, usually under 300 nanograms for each deciliter (ng/dl) on a blood test. In case you’re in the normal range, T-treatment isn’t on the table—and wouldn’t benefit you at any rate, he says.
In the event that you are endorsed testosterone treatment, you’ll likely begin to see a few changes, of all shapes and sizes, wonderful and not really charming. You may not see them all, and they may not all appear right away, but here are 9 advantages and downsides of testosterone treatment you should look for.
1. Your sex drive jumps
When you’re low on testosterone, you may see your sex drive start to plunge. Androgen receptors are situated in the parts of your brain that impact sexual desire, so on the off chance that you don’t have enough T to actuate them, you may see a drop in needing to get it on, says Abraham Morgentaler, M.D., the chief of Men’s Health Boston and creator of Why Men Fake It: The Truth About Men and Sex and Testosterone for Life.
When you replace your lost testosterone, that can enact those androgen receptors in the part of your brain that controls desire. Truth be told, regaining a healthy sex drive is one of the greatest advantages of testosterone substitution treatment, says Dr. Morgentaler.
In addition to increasing libido, T-treatment can make your erections all the more fulfilling, as well. “You need testosterone to take a shot at the receptors in the penis to enable it to trap blood to keep it [erect],” says Dr. Tamler. “Receptors help steer that procedure, and on the off chance that you don’t have enough T, the procedure is impeded.”
This isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, however—erections additionally depend on healthy nerves and blood stream. So it implies that testosterone treatment by itself isn’t a remedy for erectile dysfunction itself.
2. It’s easier to build muscles
“Muscles are amazingly receptive to testosterone—the most dependable things we see [when somebody begins testosterone substitution therapy] is an expansion in muscle mass,” says Dr. Morgentaler.
This is because androgen receptors are found in muscle tissue, so testosterone actuates them to stimulate growth. Obviously, to take advantage of this benefit, you should do your part by strength training as well.
In addition to an expansion in lean muscles, a few men report fat loss too. While testosterone doesn’t specifically prompt fat loss itself, some portion of it might be on account of the uptick of muscle mass—the more muscle you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate (or BMR) will be, which implies your body will burn more calories at rest. (Need to maximize the procedure considerably more? Attempt The 21-Day Metashred from Men’s Health, the at-home exercise plan that will enable you to build lean muscle and burn fat at the same time.)
Jed Kaminetsky, M.D., a clinical assistant educator in the department of urology at NYU Langone Medical Center also take note that this might be partially because testosterone enhances overall motivation to get up and sweat it out, so in case you’re motivated to put in the work once more, you’ll get results.
3. Your energy levels can soar
“It’s exceptionally regular for men to come in with low T and one of their primary symptoms is fatigue,” says Dr. Morgentaler. “What’s more, when we treat them, a great deal of men will say that their vitality has improved.” Many men also report an enhancement in the “brain fog” that can come along with low testosterone, includes Dr. Tamler.
While researchers aren’t actually certain how precisely testosterone plays a role in vitality yet, Dr. Morgentaler says one of the thoughts is that it affects your mitochondria, which create vitality inside cells. This case isn’t shut on this yet, however the hypothesis is that “testosterone turns them on so they’re more productive in terms of making the vitality that the cells require.”
Dr. Tamler additionally takes note of that it might be fixing back to androgen receptors too. “On the off chance that they don’t get adequate info, that can cause fatigue,” he says. So bringing testosterone levels back up can encourage turn around this.
4. Your mood can improve
Like its effects for vitality, specialists don’t have a definitive response to why testosterone impacts moo so profoundly—after all, “the brain is an entangled thing,” says Dr. Tamler—yet they do consider it to be a potential groundbreaking advantage.
“In some ways, the effect on mood is a standout amongst the benefits of T that we see,” says Dr. Morgentaler. “Not every person has that, but rather when we see it, it’s astounding. In my training, patients will say, ‘Gracious, my mood’s OK, perhaps I simply feel somewhat drained or blah.’ And they return and they state things like, ‘I get up toward the beginning of the day and I’m hopeful about my day. I haven’t felt that route in years.'”
Actually, a recent report distributed in The Aging Male found that following a year of testosterone treatment, the rates of folks with moderately severe to severe depression symptoms diminished from 17 percent to 2 percent.
What’s more, later research additionally backs that up: “The biggest randomized control preliminary for T was simply finished a year prior, called the T Trials, and it demonstrated that men who got T had a more improvement in mood than men who got fake treatment,” notes Dr. Morgentaler.
5. Your testicles may shrink
This is one of the most common symptoms of testosterone substitution hypothesis.
Typically, when your pituitary organ detects that there’s insufficient testosterone in the circulation system, it sends down a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) to flag your testicles to start producing more testosterone, and a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to flag sperm production.
When you take outside testosterone, the pituitary organ gets the notice that there’s sufficient T in your circulation system, so it quits sending these signs. This basically puts the testicles to rest (read: little or no sperm and testosterone production), says Dr. Kaminetsky.
“The greater part of the testicle is committed to making sperm, so when you’re making less sperm, the balls get smaller,” says Dr. Morgentaler. This also implies it can hamper fertility, acting like birth control, so in case you’re anticipating having children, testosterone substitution treatment isn’t a choice.
What’s more, creation doesn’t generally return to ordinary a while later, either says Dr. Kaminetsky. A recent report in Fertility and Sterility found that increasing age and longer length of T-treatment was connected to less odds of ordinary sperm recuperation.
6. Your feet and ankle may swell
A few people see a bit of swelling in their feet and lower legs since testosterone urges your body to hold onto excess fluid, says Dr. Morgentaler.
This is anything but a major ordeal for the vast majority, he says, and its progressively regular to see it in case you’re taking a non-every day treatment like an injection, where you’re getting a higher portion of T in one sitting. You may see a pound or two of difference on the scale, however it should dissolve away following a couple of days.
7. Your skin type may change
Going on testosterone substitution treatment may change your skin type—for better or for more terrible, says Dr. Morgentaler.
Like other hormones, testosterone can expand oil production, which isn’t really a terrible thing. It’s essential for healthy skin, so you may actually end up with a better complexion. On the other hand, an excessive amount of oil buildup can prompt breakouts.
Fortunately, this isn’t normal, says Dr. Morgentaler, and it’s normally found in men who have a past filled with skin break out. (In the event that you shudder at the remainder of your high school skin, this may be an almost certain side effect.)
Like the liquid retention, this is for the most part observed with medicines like injections, when you’re getting a higher portion at the same time.
8. In rare cases, your breasts may enlarge
In all men—regardless of whether you’re taking T or not—some testosterone is converted into the hormone estradiol, a type of estrogen. Also, in men who have more breast tissue by nature, the T they’re taking that is normally changed over into estradiol could animate this breast tissue to develop.
This is called gynecomastia, says Dr. Morgentaler, and it’s generally extraordinary—he says he doesn’t see one case a year.
On the off chance that this happens, however, your specialist will probably stop treatment for a month or two to permit your breast tissue to return to ordinary, and afterward start you back up with T alongside a medication that obstructs the change of testosterone to estradiol.
9. The link between testosterone and serious risks is still murky
Testosterone substitution treatment has customarily come along serious warning labels that your risk for heart attack, stroke, and prostate malignancy could rise, yet this is still exceptionally disputable—and ongoing proof has started to debunk a portion of these trepidation.
On account of heart attacks and strokes, the worry is that testosterone thickens blood since it ties to androgen receptors that stimulate bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. Thicker blood is connected to a more serious danger of heart attack and stroke.
In any case, there isn’t solid proof to associate these cardiovascular occasions to testosterone itself, and some later examinations really propose that typical testosterone levels may really secure against these dangers, says Dr. Morgentaler.
One mechanism at play here could be that decreased of body fat is connected to overall better well-being, and testosterone substitution treatment can encourage this, says Dr. Morgentaler. More research is required, he says, and to be safe your specialist will screen your red platelet to check all through your treatment.
To the extent prostate malignant growth goes, this is fuzzy, as well. Since there are androgen receptors in the prostate, testosterone can influence it to develop. So on the off chance that you already have an enlarged prostate that makes it hard to urinate, testosterone could worsen the issue, says Dr. Tamler.
On the off chance that you have existing prostate malignant growth, hypothetically, testosterone could influence it to develop similarly, says Dr. Kaminetsky. Nonetheless, there isn’t proof to recommend that T really causes prostate disease.