FAQs About Male Hormone Replacement Therapy
The popularity of male hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has soared over the past decade, due in part to studies refuting earlier research that suggested links between testosterone replacement therapy and cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. Harvard University researchers who examined the recent studies determined that HRT is a “viable option” for men with low testosterone levels combined with several associated symptoms.
Naples-based internal medicine specialist Dr. Diane Brzezinski, D.O., has witnessed this popularity firsthand, as the number of men asking her about the therapy has more than doubled over the past few years. Dr. B is pleased to offer hormone replacement therapy for men at her practice, having witnessed the significant benefits the treatment has provided her patients. If you’ve been wondering whether you might benefit from HRT, the following frequently asked questions might help further guide your thought process on the issue:
WHAT IS TESTOSTERONE/HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY FOR MEN?
HRT for men is designed to restore testosterone levels that naturally decline as we age or due to hypogonadism, a medical condition that disrupts normal testosterone production. By correcting testosterone levels, the therapy helps restore many symptoms associated with testosterone deficiency (TD) including, low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, muscle loss, depression, and others.
WHAT CAUSES TESTOSTERONE LEVELS TO DROP?
Testosterone levels in men vary for each individual. Every man is different as to what levels they need to drop to become symptomatic. Some are very symptomatic even with a minor decline in their testosterone levels.
Testosterone production naturally declines each year in men, this doesn’t affect most men’s healthy levels. However, more than two dozen medical conditions, assorted injuries, certain medications, alcohol abuse, and being overweight can increase your TD.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE LOW TESTOSTERONE?
The best way to check for TD is by performing blood tests on two separate days. TD can also present through several direct and indirect symptoms, including:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle strength and mass declines
- Mild anemia
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hair loss and decreased facial hair growth
- Increased body fat
- Breast development (gynecomastia)
WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT ENTAIL?
Dr. B treats her TD patients with male hormone replacement therapy, which relies on natural plant-based sources of testosterone contained in a pellet inserted just under the skin. The rice-sized pellet releases a consistent daily amount of testosterone into the bloodstream for two months. The consistency of the pellet delivery helps patients avoid side effects like energy level fluctuation and mood swings that oral and transdermal hormone delivery can cause. To enhance the therapy, Dr. B encourages her patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, exercising, managing weight, and avoiding excessive use of alcohol or drugs. Labs are important for checking initial dosing, but dosing will typically be adjusted based on how the patient feels. Optimizing testosterone also reduces the risk of short term memory loss and protects heart function.
WHAT ARE COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF MALE HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
Side effects common to some HRT patients include oily skin and acne, though side effects are typically patient-specific as everyone’s response to hormone level increases differs. Dr. B advises her patients to inform her about any suspected side effects so that she can determine the cause and best means of resolving the issue.
HOW DOES DR. B MONITOR PROGRESS?
Dr. B monitors her HRT patients’ progress by evaluating the treatment’s success in alleviating TD-related symptoms and by periodic blood work to ensure that testosterone levels are improving.
HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?—CONTACT DR. B TODAY!
If you have additional questions about HRT and want to learn more about how the treatment can alleviate your TD-related symptoms, Dr. B would be happy to meet with you for a personal consultation. To schedule your HRT appointment, contact her Naples-based Internal Medicine practice at (239) 261-9990.