Just because low testosterone has got you down, it doesn't mean that the down-in-the-dumps feeling and all the physical symptoms that come with it are something you have to put up with. Testosterone replacement therapy, which is available in a number of forms, has been shown to increase energy levels, muscle mass, bone density, and sex drive and to reduce other symptoms in men who suffer from low testosterone for a range of reasons.
Testosterone supplements come in a variety of forms, including gels, injections, patches, and pills. Men concerned about maintaining an active lifestyle may find it easiest to go with the patch because it is applied once daily to the back, abdomen, thigh, or upper arm and worn for 24 hours, and users can exercise, swim, bathe, and shower like normal. Most importantly, the patch is the only delivery method that mimics the natural daily rhythm of testosterone production in healthy young men.
While gels are also popular, they can be messy and restrictive. The gel is applied once daily to clean, dry and unbroken skin on the shoulders, upper arm, or abdomen, and users must wait several minutes for the gel to dry before dressing and a further 5 to 6 hours before showering, bathing, or swimming. Because the testosterone in the gel is so easily absorbed, men using this form need to take caution not to let anyone else come into direct contact with the medicated skin - this can lead to the other person developing masculine features such as a low voice and facial hair unless the affected area is washed thoroughly and as promptly as possible with soap and water.
Though they are available, pills are not commonly prescribed as a means of treating low testosterone because they can cause severe liver damage. And while some doctors may prescribe testosterone injections, the shots are injected directly into a muscle - which can be painful - and are generally administered at the doctor's office every 3 to 4 weeks, which may be inconvenient.
Side effects of testosterone replacement therapy can include acne, prostate growth, sleep problems, increased blood cell production, and other effects that are related to the specific dosage form. As well, men with prostrate cancer, breast cancer or allergies to testosterone or any ingredient in the dosage form should avoid testosterone replacement therapies.
Talk with your doctor to find out whether testosterone replacement therapy - and in which form - is right for you!
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