Bioidentical Male Hormone Replacement Therapy
Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles in men and by the ovaries in women. For more information on how bioidentical hormones help women, click here. For men, testosterone is responsible for the proper development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone is also important for maintaining muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone density, sense of well-being, and sexual and reproductive function.
As a man ages, the amount of testosterone his body produces gradually declines. This natural decline starts after age 30 and continues throughout life.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency include the following:
Changes that occur with testosterone deficiency include:
The only accurate way to detect the condition is to have your testosterone tested.
The options available for testosterone replacement are:
Each of these options provides adequate levels of hormone replacement. Each has side effects and advantages and disadvantages.
Intramuscular injections produce wider swings in hormone concentration, with higher levels shortly after the injection and lower levels just before the next injection is due. They may also produce increases in blood cell count that are higher than normal. The gels require care in making sure that the hormone is not accidentally transferred to another person or partner.
There are currently no pills available in the United States that provide adequate levels of hormone replacement. In addition, oral medications may produce liver abnormalities and are to be avoided.
The choice of hormone replacement therapy is best made with a thorough discussion between a patient and his physician.
Testosterone replacement therapy may stimulate growth of the prostate if there is estrogen conversion. If early prostate cancer is present, this may stimulate the cancer’s growth. Therefore, men who have prostate cancer should not take testosterone replacement therapy. It is important for all men considering testosterone replacement therapy to undergo prostate screening before starting this therapy. Although it is a rare condition, men who have breast cancer should not take testosterone replacement therapy.
In general, hormone replacement therapy is safe. It is associated with some side effects, including:
If you are taking hormone replacement therapy, regular follow-up appointments with your physician are important.
Many of these side effects are not common.