When Men Need Testosterone Replacement

Happy Older Couple

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Hormone Replacement

Hormone replacement for men, specifically testosterone, is becoming much more common. I am not taking about hormones, such as anabolic steroids or deer antler, but the actual testosterone that is being prescribed by physicians for those men who have a low testosterone level.

For a period of time doctors were prescribing testosterone, but more recently new test have made this questionable. New studies are underway, so at this point there is no solid evidence that injecting testosterone even for those that have a low blood level is the best course of action.

What is a Hormone?

A hormone is actually a chemical substance produced by the body to regulate or stimulate specific cells. They are formed in an organ of the body and carried by the blood to another organ. Testosterone in men starts to decline at about age 40. Testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles and its purpose is to maintain bone density, fat distribution, red blood cell production, muscle strength and mass, sex drive and sperm production. Hormone levels can be checked with a simple blood test ordered by your family physician.

Why the Sudden Interest in Testosterone?

As baby boomers age they want to retain all the energy and vitality they had when they were younger. Baby boomers are living longer with a life expectancy of 78, up from 69 a half century ago. If they were active in sports, you probably do not want to lose that edge. They also want to remain sexually active. There are some specific symptoms of low testosterone levels (Low T), although some of these symptoms are part of normal aging.

What is Low T?

The symptoms of low T are:

  • More fatigue, especially in the evenings or sometimes insomnia
  • A decreased libido
  • Reduced muscle strength and bulk
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Hair loss
  • Bladder problems
  • Decreased bone density
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes (and you thought they were only for women)
  • Emotional changes may occur, causing sadness or depression

There is also a disease called hypogonadism, which causes the body to be unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone. Doctors will prescribe injections, pellets, patches or gels for this disorder. Patients with diabetes have a greater risk of having Low T.

Testosterone Possible Side Effects

Testosterone is well tolerated unless you have a complete allergic reaction and like any drug that might involve hives, breathing problems, which require immediate medical attention. This is rare. Other possible side effects include acne, bitter or strange taste in your mouth, hair loss, headache, gum or mouth irritation or a change in your sex drive. Again, these side effects are rare.

A doctor will monitor your blood levels when you are taking testosterone, so adjustments will be made to keep you in that healthy range. Most people tolerate testosterone very well when ordered by a physician. I know of someone who is receiving the injections and their level blood level went too high but they had no ill effects. The dosage was just changed to get them into that healthy range.

What is the Low T?

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, it is time to see your doctor. A simple blood test will reveal your exact testosterone level. A normal testosterone level is 300 ng/dl to 1000 ng/dl. Prescriptions for testosterone have increased almost 90 percent over the past 5 years, which means global sales have reached $1.9 billion annually. Basically, people want to live longer and remain active. If you do have low testosterone there are several course of treatment available.

There is a big marketing push by several drug companies for men to use their products. Abbott Laboratories has a webpage that advertises Androgel. They have prescription patches, gels and injections. Some physicians state that testosterone therapy can reverse aging but that has not been proven in any clinical trials.

Eli Lilly is another pharmaceutical company that has increased their advertising more than 170 percent over the last three years. Testosterone has become “big business” as the Baby Boomers age.

Testosterone Injection Video

Summary

As more baby boomers age, the demand for testosterone will probably increase. If you have a low testosterone level, let your doctor prescribe the right dosage for you. Stay away from some of the other products you can purchase on the web as a testosterone level that is too high has its own set of side effects.

© 2012 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 42 comments

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Pamela,

Very well written and detailed. Hoping that more awareness is raised through informative articles such as this.

Voted UP and UI. Hugs, Maria


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Very informative and well written article about the use of testosterone.

I have heard that using testosterone injections leads to increased highs and lows in serum levels compared to the gel or patches. Do you know if that's true?

Also, what are the possible side effects of using testosterone?


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Hi Pamela, great hub. It is so great that men are starting to confide in healthcare pros about their health and well-being. Many man have been reluctant to take care of themselves, the "John Wayne" syndrome is finally breaking apart and men are contributing to their own health. Great hub and very interesting. Voted up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Mar, I Yes, I hope to raise awareness, which is why I write these article.s Thanks for your comments. Hugs.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Gail, I did add a paragraph about the side effects but they are very rare. The injections are much cheaper and safer if you have children as the gels can easily rub off onto another person. The gels and patches absorb more slowly, however, if the doctor is monitoring the blood levels for the injections, they should easily find he proper dosage for an individual.I know of one person this has worked quite well for, but I could not find any specific study that recommended one method over the other. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

ehealer, I agree that men are finally starting to seek physicians more often and participate in their own healthcare, which is certainly a positive. Thank you so much for your comments.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

Great information, Pamela--there are also some other things that men can do, such as eating more of certain foods and changing their lifestyle to increase their testosterone. I did a hub on andropause not too long ago and it's amazing how they're just now discovering how men go through the change of life just like women do---and we think we are so advanced~~~ It makes total sense since men start to lose their testosterone at about 1-2% per YEAR after age 30! Welcome to the club, guys~~~~ I have spare testosterone myself but I could use a little more estrogen~~~~


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Thanks for answering my question so thoroughly.

I appreciate that and your point about injections possibly being safer if the user is in close contact with their kids or grandkids as it eliminates chance of it rubbing off on the children.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Audry, In the Mayo Clinic studies they seemed to indicate that men would begin to recognize the symptoms of low testosterone about age 40 if indeed it was low. I don't doubt they start losing it slowly much earlier, just like we lose estrogen. I will have to check out your hub. I'm not sure I am getting emails for your hubs actually, and I will check that out also as some people I've always followed are suddenly not turning up in my emails. I don't know why.

I found it interesting how the pharmaceutical companies are pushing this drug, but not surprising. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Gail, I thought you made a good point and it should be included in the hub, so thank you.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

The articles I have read on the subject said "and why are so many men on Cialis and Viagra?" I think that explains a lot right there---I did like researching it though and learning about foods and lifestyle changes that can help--rather than always jumping right to drugs. Isn't that the American way though---better living through pharmaceuticals? Hope you find the hub but if not, tag me---the first comment on it the kind fellow shared with me how he went through it twice---he meant with his wife I guess and missed (I think) the whole point of the article~ Ah well...you can lead a man to water but you can't make him drink!


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Pamela. The male menopause isn´t just a fantasy then. I see from your list of problems caused by low testosterone, it mirrors the female " "Change". Great hub, and I´m sure when word get´s out it will not only help men, but also their partners. Voted up , useful and interesting.


Mellonyy profile image

Mellonyy 4 years ago

What a useful and interesting hub! Congratulations! Shared!


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

Not there yet! Good info for the future I reckon.

The Frog


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

bac2basics, I hope your are right and I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Melloyy, I'm glad you found the hub interesting. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Frog Prince, It is always good to be informed. Low testosterone is not a problem for every man, but it is good to know treatments are available when it does happen. Thanks for the comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Audry, I did find you article and it was very interesting. I agree it is always preferable to do as much as you can to maintain your youth using practical methods; eating healthy, getting enough rest, exercise, etc. Getting a blood test if you have symptoms is important to see if you need treatment. I know not all men who get prescriptions for Viagra are going through andropause unfortunately. Aging does slow things down and that is quite natural. I encourage men to be sure they are dealing with a reputable company if they are ordering supplements online, as there are numerous websites making fantastic claims.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

I agree and I also can't believe the number of men getting Viagra prescriptions---I understand about the fountain of youth and all that but really~~~ I think we all have to age eventually and understanding it is the key. Crazy how some people just can't seem to deal with it--both male and female!


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I am sure many men will read this and be happy that you shared this important info. Great/useful Hub..Voted UP..


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Very insightful hub. My husband's was low, and so he started the injections, but then it caused in him an adverse reaction where his red blood cell count would go too high, and he would have to go to the cancer center to have a flebotamy and drain some blood out. I could always tell when something was wrong as his face would turn blood red, and so it was time to have another flebotomy. Well done! In His Love, Faith Reaper


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

I agree with Maria and happyboomerNurse, You have given more alternatives for guys with low-T. Amazing how science is catching up with our own hot flashes as well. Voted up and useful!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Audry, I feel the same way and yet it is a fact of life. We do age. The best thing is to live healthy and you will probably age a bit more gracefully. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Ruby, I thought that this might be useful information to share with men and really women to. Knowledge is power. Thanks for your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Faith Reaper, One thing for sure is anyone can have an unusual reaction to any medication. It is a shame he had that reaction and I didn't see that one listed in my research. Thanks for sharing your experience.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Lord, All the new discoveries in science are quite fascinating really. For some men this is the perfect treatment for their uncomfortable symptoms. I appreciate your comments.


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Pamela, a very useful and informative hub. Well done. I am sure a number of men will find this very helpful. Voted up and more.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Terrye, I am glad you found the hub to be informative and I hope it does help some people. I appreciate your comments.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I found your article really interesting and it taught me something new. Well done and researched. Voted way up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Diana, I'm glad you found the hub useful and I appreciate your comments.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

You have provided tons of important information in this hub.....I am bookmarking it for future reference...it seems the older I get ...the more information I pick up about leaving a healthier life...I wish I would have paid more attention when I was younger....but you know the saying....youth is wasting on young people....lol. Voted up and awesome and interesting.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Cogerson, That is so true, just like hindsight is 20-20. I think we all wish we had taken care of ourselves just a little bit better. I appreciate your comments.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Pamela great well written hub with all good information within this hub to help any men with this type of problem . Well done !

Vote up and more !!! SHARING !


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Pamela,

Thanks for raising awareness about this subject which affects many men. As you said, women have long been treated with hormones. It is about time the men in our lives got similar treatment. I had to laugh when hair loss was mentioned as a possible symptom and hair loss was also a possible side effect. My poor hubby doesn't stand a chance! Haha! Seriously...good article. Up votes and sharing.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

kashmir, I think many men don't realize that this is a problem for them, so I hope writing this hub will be helpful. I appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, My husband also has that problem, so now he keeps his hair almost completely cut off! I appreciate your comments.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

So interesting Pamela and also useful to many.

Enjoy your day.

Eddy.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Eddy, That was what I hoped/ I appreciate your comments.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It's easy to underestimate just how important testosterone is to a man's health and well being... good post !!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States Author

Carolina. It really is important. Thanks so much for your comments.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Such a useful hub! Really well done!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States Author

Audry, Thank you so much for your comments.

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