Some Side Effects Can Be Serious The Following Symptoms Are Uncommon But If You Experience Any Of Them Call Your Doctor Immediately:
- lower leg pain, swelling, warmth, or redness
- shortness of breath
- weakness or numbness of an arm or leg
- chest pain
- erections that happen more than usual or that do not go away
- swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles
- difficulty urinating, weak urine flow, frequent urination, sudden need to urinate right away
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- difficulty breathing, especially at night
Testosterone patches may cause a decrease in the number of sperm produced, especially if it is used at high doses. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication if you are a man and would like to have children.
Testosterone may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication.
Testosterone may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .
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Treatment of low testosterone in hypogonadism is a fully accepted therapy. Treatment in older men is more controversial. Discuss your testosterone levels, symptoms, and side effects of treatment with your doctor to establish whether you should receive therapy and what form of therapy.
There are several ways that testosterone therapy can be administered:
- Transdermal : Usually applied once a day . Tends to be clean and easy to apply. There is an available mouth patch that sticks to the upper gums and is applied twice daily.
- Gels: Applied directly to the skin and then absorbed through the skin . Dosing is more difficult although these gels are available in single applications packages or premeasured pumps.
- Injections: Testosterone can be delivered by direct injection.
- Pellets: Pellets can be implanted into the soft tissue and release the testosterone.
Why no pills? Testosterone is available as a pill but some experts believe long-term oral delivery of testosterone can have negative effects on the liver. These other delivery methods bypass the liver and go directly into the blood stream.
Treatment Options For Adolescent & Young Adulthood Men With Low T
When designing a treatment plan for TRT in young adults, clinicians must understand that most exogenous T therapy will suppress spermatogenesis and decrease fertility potential . As such, identifying modifiable risk factors that may lead to hypogonadism should be an early step in patient evaluation as correction of many of the aforementioned conditions may mitigate the need for TRT. Patients with obesity, poorly controlled diabetes, or opioid usage should be counseled on weight loss, diet, exercise, and drug abuse before starting testosterone replacement therapy . Formal weight loss programs have not only shown that the percentage of weight loss correlated with increased T levels, but parameters related to fertility including sperm motility and morphology also improved . While there is evidence that T may reduce HbA1C, lower BMI, and reduce waist circumference other studies have not shown any change in HbA1C with testosterone compared to placebo .
T therapy is associated with adverse effects on the cardiovascular and hematologic systems and caution should be exercised when prescribing testosterone for clinical symptoms without truly confirmed biochemical abnormalities per guidelines . Although to date there is no knowledge on the specific use of testosterone preparations in the younger adult cohort, it is likely that this group may also be using the formulations for symptoms and signs suggestive, but not documented of androgen deficiency.
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To Use Testosterone Patches Follow These Steps:
Diseases And Conditions That Affect Testosterone
Men can experience a drop in testosterone due to conditions or diseases affecting the:
- Testes direct injury, castration, infection, radiation treatment, chemotherapy, tumors
- Pituitary and hypothalamus glands tumors, medications , HIV/AIDS, certain infections and autoimmune conditions
Genetic diseases, such as and hemochromatosis can also affect testosterone.
Women may have a testosterone deficiency due to diseases of the pituitary, hypothalamus or adrenal glands, in addition to removal of the ovaries. Estrogen therapy increases sex hormone binding globulin and, like aging men, this reduces the amount of free, active testosterone in the body.
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What Are The Normal Testosterone Levels For Men And Women
The so-called normal testosterone levels for men and women changes as you age. Also, depending on age, weight, overall fitness and lifestyle, what is considered a normal testosterone level for one man, could be low for another. However that having all been said, the normal range of testosterone levels for adult men is from about 270 to 1070 nanograms per deciliter .
The normal range for women of age 19 and up, is from 8 to 60 ng/dL.
The following graphic illustrates the decline in testosterone levels in men as they age.
Causes Of Low Testosterone:
It is expected that most men will have some decline in testosterone as they age. Usually these declines are insignificant and do not cause noticeable symptoms. There are various factors that could cause low testosterone levels. Some of these include:
- Organ Damage or Failure: If there is injury/damage to an organ responsible for producing or releasing testosterone, low testosterone can occur. Infections, prior surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, or certain medications may compromise organs involved in testosterone production and regulation.
- Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle choices can impact testosterone levels. Obesity is a major contributor to low testosterone. This is because fat cells convert testosterone to estrogen. Hypertension , kidney disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, COPD may also cause low testosterone.
- Smoking and Drugs: Smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse have been shown to decrease testosterone levels. It is estimated that 75/100 men who have been taking opioids long-term have low testosterone.
- Psychological Conditions: Certain psychiatric conditions may cause low testosterone. Depression and anxiety are among the most common that can cause low testosterone.
- Other: Other conditions may cause low testosterone. Concurrent illness, inflammatory conditions, certain genetic anomalies, and endocrine issues may affect testosterone levels.
Avoid Medications That Lower Testosterone
Many drugs and medications reduce testosterone. Some, like opioids and anabolic steroids, greatly reduce the bodys production of testosterone. Corticoid steroids and taking too many NSAIDs contribute to reduced testosterone levels. Some drugs, like caffeine, actually may increase serum testosterone in men, but they also contribute to stress and interfere with sleep. Several over the counter, testosterone boosters/supplements may actually decrease testosterone production and can result in infertility.
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Supplements : Vitamin D
Vitamin D3 supplements may boost testosterone levels, especially in the elderly and people who have low blood levels of vitamin D.
In one study, zinc and vitamin B supplements increased sperm quality by 74%. Zinc also boosts testosterone in athletes and those who are deficient in zinc .
Other studies also suggest vitamins A, C and E can play a role in your sex hormone and testosterone levels, although more research is needed .
Out of all the vitamins and minerals available, the research on testosterone shows vitamin D and zinc supplements may be best .
Vitamin D and zinc have the strongest evidence as testosterone boosters. Other micronutrients may also have benefits, but require further research.
It may also have major effects on your testosterone levels.
The ideal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but one study found that sleeping only 5 hours per night was linked to a 15% reduction in testosterone levels .
One long-term study observed that those who slept only four hours per night had borderline deficient levels .
Other long-term studies support this. One study calculated that for every additional hour of sleep you get, testosterone levels rise 15% higher, on average .
Although some people seem to do fine with less sleep, research suggests around 710 hours of sleep per night is best for long-term health and your testosterone.
Only a few natural testosterone boosters are supported by scientific studies.
When And How Should A Low Testosterone Be Treated
Testosterone replacement shouldn’t be used to treat a naturally occurring, age-related decline in this hormone or simply for a low T number, says Dr. Bhasin, but if a man has a testosterone deficiency or classical hypogonadism, the benefits of treating the condition with testosterone is favorable and outweighs any risks.
According to Dr. Bhasin, over the last two to three years there has been greater availability of high quality lab providing good results for testosterone levels, which until recently has been a problematic when trying to make a firm diagnosis.
To confirm the existence of low testosterone requiring treatment, the patient should have two separate blood tests on nonconsecutive days in the early morning that are analyzed by reliable laboratories certified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Bhasin told EndocrineWeb.
A normal range for testosterone levels is 300 ng/dL to 1,000 ng/dL, with the Endocrine Society considering low testosterone below 263 ng/dL, says Dr. Bhasin.
Your doctors should also determine if you shows signs or symptoms of a testosterone deficiency. One problem with the symptoms for testosterone deficiency is many are incredibly nonspecific Dr. Mulhall cautions, which is why getting accurate testosterone levels is vital.
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What Are The Benefits Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Potential benefits of testosterone replacement therapy may include:
- In boys, avoiding problems related to delayed puberty
- Loss of fat
- Skin irritation
Laboratory abnormalities that can occur with testosterone replacement include:
- Increase in prostate-specific antigen
- Increase in red blood cell count
If you are taking hormone replacement therapy, regular follow-up appointments with your physician are important.
Guidelines suggest discussing the potential risk vs. benefit of evaluating prostate cancer risk and prostate monitoring. The doctor and patient will decide together regarding prostate cancer monitoring. For patients who choose monitoring, clinicians should assess prostate cancer risk before starting testosterone treatment, and 3 to 12 months after starting testosterone:
- PSA levels should be checked at 3, 6, and 12 months within the first year, and then every year after that.
- A digital rectal examination of the prostate should be done at 3-6 months and 1 year after beginning therapy, and then every year after that. This is recommended even for men who are not on testosterone replacement therapy, as an age-related prostate cancer screening. This usually begins at age 50.
- Hematocrit levels will be checked before testosterone therapy starts, and then on a regular basis to make sure red blood cell levels remain normal.
What Is Low Testosterone
Low testosterone is not a number. Low testosterone is a combination of lower than normal testosterone levels in the blood along with physical symptoms or changes that pointedly affect mens health, well-being, and lifestyle.
The normal range for total testosterone levels in men is 270 to 1070 nanograms per deciliter. Dipping below 270 ng/dL may be reasonably considered to be low testosterone, but it is not enough for a diagnosis. Depending on the healthcare provider, testosterone levels will be considered low if they are anywhere from 230 to 300 ng/dL. Measuring total testosterone levels is complex, deceptive, and unreliable, so a definitive diagnosis of low testosteroneor hypogonadismalways requires physical symptoms.
No one is certain how many men have low testosterone. Most men dont report it or seek treatment. In the United States, approximately 40% of men over the age of 45 and 50% of men in their 80s have low testosterone. However, low testosterone is not a condition confined to older men. Young men and even adolescents can have testosterone deficiency. In fact, low testosterone is becoming more common among young men due to higher rates of obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, and drug use.
Low testosterone can happen when either the testes do not produce enough testosterone, called primary hypogonadism, or the hypothalamus and pituitary gland do not produce the hormones to stimulate testicular production of testosterone, called secondary hypogonadism.
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Get Some Sun Or Take A Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D is quickly becoming one of the worlds most popular vitamins.
Research has shown that it has various health benefits, and may also work as a natural testosterone booster .
Despite its importance, nearly half of the US population is deficient in vitamin D, and an even higher percentage has sub-optimal levels .
A 12-month study found that supplementing with around 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day increased testosterone levels by around 25% .
In the elderly, vitamin D and calcium also optimized testosterone levels, which led to a reduced risk of falling .
To boost testosterone and reap the other benefits of vitamin D, try to get regular exposure to sunlight or take around 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement daily.
If youd like to try supplements, has a good selection available.
Reduced Sperm Count And Fertility
Testosterone plays a major role in spermatogenesis, the biological process through which your reproductive system creates sperm.
Although the precise relationship between testosterone and sperm count isnt known, research has found that low testosterone levels and reduced sperm production may be linked.
For example, studies have found that approximately 15 percent of subfertile men have clinically low testosterone levels.
Because testosterone also plays an important role in the production of semen, low testosterone levels may also result in lower ejaculatory volume.
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What Is Considered Low Testosterone
For a healthcare practitioner, low testosterone is not a number. It is a combination of lower than normal testosterone levels in the blood accompanied by significant physical symptoms such as reduced muscle strength, physical performance, energy levels, sexual desire, erectile function, and other symptoms.
Proven Ways To Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally
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Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, but females also have small amounts of it.
It is a steroid hormone, produced in mens testicles and womens ovaries .
The adrenal glands also produce small amounts.
During puberty in boys, testosterone is one of the main drivers of physical changes like increased muscle, deeper voice and hair growth.
However, having optimal levels is also important throughout adulthood and even during old age.
In adults, healthy levels are important for general health, disease risk, body composition, sexual function and just about everything else .
Additionally, increasing your testosterone levels can cause rapid gains in muscle mass and vitality in only a matter of weeks (
The research is pretty conclusive: both genders should ensure they have healthy levels of testosterone, especially as they age (
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How Is Low Testosterone Treated
Low testosterone is treated with testosterone replacement therapy, which can be given in several different ways:
- Intramuscular injections , usually every 10 to 14 days
- Testosterone patches, which are used every day and are applied to different parts of the body, including the buttocks, arms, back, and abdomen
- Testosterone gels that are applied every day to the clean dry skin of the upper back and arms
- Pellets that are implanted under the skin every two months
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Types Of Testosterone Products
Testosterone can be administered in skin patch, skin gel, pill or cream form or as an injection, a solution applied to the armpit or a patch or a buccal system applied to the upper gum or inner cheek.
While many testosterone products are available only with a prescription, some drug stores and health food stores sell them over the counter. A few of these products also claim to be all-natural.