Testosterone replacement therapy is among the most preferred methods for treating low testosterone symptoms. This therapy is also called Androgen Replacement Therapy (ART) since testosterone is the primary male sexual hormone or androgen. ART is more likely to be prescribed for treating low testosterone in men in the middle-age or above age-group. Androgen replacement therapy is commonly not recommended for younger patients like boys undergoing passive puberty due to lack of testosterone. Though signs of low testosterone in women are also present, testosterone replacement is seldom recommended for them, i.e. unless the symptoms are severe. Among women, hormonal supplements are usually used to reduce the amount of estrogen that is the primary female hormone and a common cause for the low testosterone levels.
Understand Administration Method of Testosterone Replacement Aids
Testosterone replacement is essentially a form of testosterone supplementation. Here, a controlled amount of testosterone is delivered through a preferred mode to ensure that the hormone levels are regulated over an extended period. When signs of low testosterone in men become chronic, this form of hormone supplementation is needed for extended periods, sometimes throughout the patient’s life. The most common modes of testosterone supplementation include:
- Injections that are administered every few days/week
- Pills that are orally administered on a daily basis
- Pellets are placed within a skin fold through a micro-surgical procedure
- Patches that are placed over the shoulder, back or upper arm area
- Creams/gels that are applied topically or externally
It should be noted that the primary objective of all these modes of testosterone replacement is a slower rate of delivery of the hormone to ensure slower absorption in the body. This is vital since testosterone has a direct impact on many metabolic functions and a sudden surge in testosterone levels can cause rapid heartbeats or raised blood pressure along with affecting the liver. Among older patients this can precariously raise the chances of a heart attack.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy or TRT in the form of creams and gels is generally recommended for men wherein minimal hormone replacement is needed or as a secondary form of testosterone supplementation, i.e. used along with a regimen in which injections are the primary mode of testosterone delivery.
Among most pharma majors, testosterone meant for human supplementation is procured from cholesterol. Patients using testosterone replacement products need to understand that different brands of pharmaceuticals offer different formulations of the hormone affecting its potency and absorption rate. Thus, the brand recommended by the medical practitioner should not be replaced by a cheaper or more easily-available option without professional medical advice.
Forms of Low Testosterone Treatments
People suffering from low testosterone can be treated in various ways depending upon the severity of their symptoms. Please note that most forms of low testosterone treatment are referred to as ‘Testosterone Replacement Therapy’. However, this niche represents many options, each using a different medium of delivering testosterone.
These are also called hormone supplementation skin patches and are quite easy-to-use. These patches can be applied in certain areas of the body, including the abdomen, scrotum, upper arms, thigh and back region. However, the presence of a patch placed on the skin might be irritating for some patients. Secondly, these testosterone patches can be quite costly. The biggest issue is with the delivery mode of the hormone wherein it is found that testosterone is not properly absorbed through the skin of some people.
These tablets ensure a steady, day-long release of trace amounts of the hormone. This is often referred to as testosterone delivery buccal system or the sublingual testosterone delivery system. The tablet containing trace amounts of free testosterone are held along the upper gum area. The tablet tends to dissolve very slowly, ensuring that a controlled amount of testosterone is released. Usually, one tablet lasts for about 12 hours. Such tablets should not be swallowed or chewed and are hence, not recommended for younger patients.
This is among the oldest forms of low testosterone treatment wherein testosterone is delivered within the bloodstream of the patient. However, the injections need to be repeated according to a prescribed regimen. Also called testosterone shots, these are also among the most abused forms of testosterone treatment as bodybuilders looking for faster gains in their gym schedule often use such testosterone injections to raise their overall performance.
This form of testosterone treatment is more likely to be used among women and that too to a very limited degree. Here, testosterone pellets are inserted into the skin of the patient, i.e. along the lower abdomen by making minute incisions. These pellets are effective for about 100 days or so, ensuring that testosterone is slowly released.
Like most testosterone gels, these products are aimed at the topical delivery of testosterone, i.e. the hormone is absorbed through the skin. However, products like these need a regular (usually daily) application. They are usually recommended when minimal testosterone supplementation is required.