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All You Need to Know About Testosterone Therapy

Updated on August 2, 2016

Testosterone is mainly thought of as a male sex hormone but women have a little too.

Here we’ll look at the types of treatment available to men and women diagnosed with low testosterone levels.

There are links to the symptoms of low testosterone and to women and testosterone for further information in these topics.

Testosterone treatment options for men.

Testosterone treatment aims to replace the missing hormone to its normal level and to improve low testosterone symptoms such as erectile function, mood, energy, body hair growth and muscle mass.

This can be done via:

  • Injections
  • Patches
  • Gel
  • Tablets.

One method doesn’t suit everyone and side effects will vary – that’s why there’s a variety.

Testosterone injections are given deep into the muscle once a fortnight and this can be done at the doctor’s office. An example is Sustanon or Viromone.

The patch is applied to the skin every day, rotating the sites it’s stuck to, but not stuck to the testicles/penis. Examples or brands of patches are Androderm and Testoderm.

Testosterone gel is applied daily, by the patient himself, with clean hands, to clean dry skin, and not over the testicles/penis. Allow it to dry before dressing. Examples of brands are Androgel, Testogel and Testim.

Testosterone tablets such as Restandol are taken daily and a different form of daily tablet dissolves slowly as it sticks to the gum. A brand example is Stiriant SR.

Some men’s doctors will be cautious about using testosterone therapy. African American men over 40 who have close relatives with a history of prostate cancer and all men over 50 should be monitored for prostate cancer during treatment.

And some men are not suitable for treatment with testosterone replacement. These include those who have had breast cancer or suspected prostate cancer, those with severe heart failure, severe untreated non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate (BPH) or people with excessive blood thickness (hyperviscosity).

Your doctor will take a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) and cholesterol test before and during the therapy.

Testosterone Therapy for Women.

Experts are still undecided about testosterone treatment for women. Some argue that there is no clear testosterone deficiency syndrome as such, and also that there is no defined level of what ‘normal’ testosterone levels are for a woman as she gets older.

Other experts argue that there is a syndrome (Female Sexual Dysfunction – FSD) and a lot of evidence from women who have had testosterone therapy that their symptoms have improved.

Currently, the only licensed testosterone therapy for women is Instrinsa, a patch worn on the skin and re-applied twice a week.

Women using this therapy must see their doctors regularly – within 3-6 months of starting treatment and then every 6 months. The doctor will check your weight and blood pressure and discuss any side effects you may be experiencing.

Testosterone therapy possible side effects.

  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Increased facial hair
  • Male pattern hair loss
  • Clitoral enlargement
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Skin irritation from the patches

Women with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease or kidney disease will be counselled to proceed with caution by their doctors.

Those with a history or suspected history of breast cancer, those who are pregnancy or breast feeding, menopausal women who have not had their ovaries removed, those taking some HRT, such as Premarin will be advised not to have testosterone therapy.

Non-pharmaceutical testosterone ‘boosters’.

Drugs or treatments bought over the counter or from a health food store should not be taken less seriously than those prescribed by a doctor. They can be just as dangerous for some individuals depending on your health history, other medication and the doses you take.

Remedies that claim to improve low libido for both sexes include:

  • Tribulus (Puncture Vine)
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Tongkat Ali

Here we’ve seen examples of treatments available to men and women for low testosterone levels. If you’re unsure if you have a low testosterone level, click here for a list of symptoms.

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