As your body ages, hormone levels decrease. Replacing the natural hormones to achieve the balanced levels. One option to treat “male menopause” is hormone replacement therapy for men. As the testosterone levels decrease, they are replaced with oral or injectable therapies.
Symptoms of Male Hormone Imbalance
Male hypogonadism is also known as testosterone deficiency syndrome (TDS) or “low T.” This occurs from lack of androgen production by the testes. This syndrome is characterized by low androgen circulation, which causes many symptoms. The symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Thinning hair
- Mood swing
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased body fat
- Sexual disinterest
- Memory loss
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Reduced libido
- Irregular periods
- Loss of muscle mass
- Reduced cognitive functions
Benefits of Male Hormone Therapy
Men drop 10% of their testosterone production every decade, starting at age 25. By age 55, they have lost 30% total overall production of testosterone. Some of the benefits of hormone therapy for men include:
- Increased sexual function
- Decreased body fat
- Increased muscle mass
- Decreased cardiovascular risk
- Reduction of wrinkles
In several clinical studies, men treated with supplemental testosterone had improvement in insulin sensitivity. Studies also show that there is a link between cardiovascular disease and hypogonadism. The goal of hormone replacement therapy in men is to restore hormone levels to a normal range of young adult males. Restoration of normal levels will improve muscle mass, restore libido, maintain mental acuity, and prevent osteoporosis.
Forms of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Each method of testosterone replacement therapy has its own risks and benefits. The doctor will choose the one best for you. Selection of treatment modalities is a matter of patient preference, once they have been informed about them. Options are:
- Transdermal – This method is costly, but offers less gastrointestinal problems and can be given in a low dose.
- Injectable – This type of treatment can be given in low doses, but is the most cost-effective method.
- Topical – These agents have minimal risks and are safe. However, there is a chance of person-to-person transfer.
Studies that Support Testosterone Therapies
Male hormone replacement therapy is well-supported in the medical literature. In a study involving almost 800 men ages 65 years or older, with a testosterone level of less than 275 ng per deciliter, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of a testosterone gel over a year. The treatment raised testosterone concentrations in the blood from low to mid-normal for most trial subjects. There was no benefit in vitality or walking distance.
In a recent meta-analysis, testosterone replacement therapy was found to improve lean body mass, enhance the quality of life, lower cholesterol levels, and improve hypogonadism. Another study reviewing randomized controlled trials. The data revealed that testosterone levels improved significantly with short-term administration of patches.
Prostate growth relies on the presence of testosterone, and higher levels have been associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy and a risk for prostate cancer. Regarding safety, researchers reviewed data collected from 1,400 participants who received testosterone therapy. The majority did not have elevations in prostate stimulating antigen (PSA) after treatment.