Low testosterone (known colloquially as “Low T”) in men has become quite an epidemic. Countless men across America - and the rest of the world - are being prescribed testosterone (either as an injection, gel, or skin patch) to restore their health and vitality. While the advantages and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) are promising, is TRT safe for men?
Read on as this article details the nature of low T, why more men are being prescribed TRT and the safety concerns of TRT you should know about. You can learn about Low T on our page here or sign up for a free consultation on our TRT San Diego page.
What Is Low T and What Causes It?
Testosterone is what makes a man, a man. It’s the primary androgenic steroid in humans, meaning it promotes the development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone also plays a myriad of other physiological roles due to its anabolic properties.
Without adequate testosterone, even seemingly simple daily activities can become quite a chore. No man likes the feeling of crawling out of bed and having no energy or motivation to be productive. Sure, an occasional “lazy day” can serve as a nice respite from the daily grind, but when that becomes routine, something is off.
Low T can arise due to a variety of reasons, many of which act in insidious manners. For example, not sleeping enough and being chronically stressed out are two common factors that decrease testosterone in males. By the same token, drinking excessive alcohol and being obese can also reduce testosterones.
As you can see, lifestyle factors play a role in your testosterone levels. This is not to say that low T can also come about due to factors that are out of your control, such as a pituitary malfunction or an accident that critically damages your testicles.
It’s important to note that determining whether or not TRT will be safe for a man is something a skilled physician and and labwork will help determine. If you’re experiencing low T due to lifestyle factors, like poor diet, lack of sleep, and sedentary lifestyle, you should be proactive about changing those before resorting to TRT.
However, if you experience chronic low T despite living an otherwise healthy lifestyle, then you might be a good candidate for TRT (and it will be much safer).
Indications of Low T (Testosterone)
In past decades, males were less educated about testosterone. Many were not aware that low T could be the underlying cause of their debilitating symptoms.
Due to recent advances in our understanding of low T and its prevalence, endocrinologists and pharmaceutical companies alike have been more proactive about direct-to-consumer marketing. Men are becoming more aware that they should have their testosterone levels checked if they are experiencing specific symptoms. Having testosterone levels checked is pertinent for men over 30, as research suggests that testosterone levels start to decline right around this age.
But what exactly are the symptoms and signs that you might have low T?
Here’s an abridged list of what a man may experience from low T:
- Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- Reduced libido/sex drive
- Reduced muscle bulk and strength
- Decreased energy (fatigue) despite adequate rest
- Depression and anxiety
- Poor concentration (brain fog) and recall
- Small or shrinking testes
- Loss of body and pubic hair
- Low red blood cell count (anemia)
- Brittle bones and general weakness
- Body fat increase
- Sleep apnea (or other sleep disorders)
- Development of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
While you may exhibit several (or all) of these symptoms, it’s essential to confirm that you have low T with the appropriate blood work. As this article will discuss later, TRT is safest if you have low T.
For example, depression is a symptom of some mental disorders. If you were to treat a mental disorder with TRT, the results won't be favorable.
If you’re experiencing low T symptoms, contact Gameday Men’s Health today. One of our licensed physicians can order the proper lab work for you. We will guide you through the process of restoring your testosterone to healthy levels if you have low T.
Is Low T on the Rise?
While modern medicine and scientific research have given us a much clearer grasp of how the human endocrine system functions, it remains to be elucidated what is causing the rise in low T diagnosis. Some research suggests that low T is more common nowadays due to the rather sedentary lifestyle that many men lead, along with neglect for healthy food choices.
It’s also postulated that exposure to man-made toxins, like xenoestrogens found in various personal care products and environmental contaminants, may disrupt the human endocrine system.
Of course, we can’t rule out the fact that men these days are just more proactive about their health, as well as being more knowledgeable about how important testosterone is for their well-being. This is primarily due to an increase in male health clinics across the country and the uprise of social media - allowing doctors and pharmaceutical companies to connect with consumers in a more personable manner than ever before.
The issue of low T has ostensibly been an epidemic for quite some time; we are now just more proactive about treating it.
What Are the Potential Risks of TRT?
Men with low T often have reservations about taking testosterone. Is TRT safe in the long run? What are the potential health risks of TRT? Let's take a more in-depth look at these pressing concerns.
A relatively small number of males who start TRT will experience some initial side effects of testosterone use, such as oily skin, acne, breast swelling or inflammation, and night sweats. These tend to subside as TRT progresses.
For older men who are on long-lasting TRT, there appears to be at a slightly greater risk of metabolic issues, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Routine blood testing and medication adjustments can help avoid these issues.. GameDay specialists require periodic lab work with TRT patients to ensure metabolic and cardiovascular biomarkers are in-check, thereby reducing any potential health risks.
Ironically, the health risks of neglecting to treat low T are arguably more life-threatening than TRT itself. Longitudinal data suggests that males with lower testosterone generally have a shorter lifespan (i.e., are at a higher risk of all-cause mortality) than those with testosterone levels in the healthy range.
Due to advances in hormone replacement therapy and medications - like the bioidentical hormones prescribed by physicians at Gameday Men’s Health - many men find that the advantages of TRT far outweigh the potential drawbacks.
Ultimately, TRT should be a mutual decision made with your physician. Be wary of doctors and specialists who are quick to prescribe you TRT without first confirming the diagnosis through proper blood testing (and possibly medical imaging, if necessary).
At GameDay Men’s Health, each patient undergoes testing for Low T before being given a comprehensive consultation with a medical provider.
Additionally, GameDay always measure PSA levels and hematocrit before prescribing TRT. If your PSA is below 4.0, you can safely begin TRT. If your hematocrit is above 50, you will need to donate blood first before beginning TRT (this is to ensure safety and long-term success).
We are not just out to make a quick buck by taking advantage of males who don’t feel well. TRT is a significant life decision. GameDay physicians treat it as such by making it as safe and effective as possible.
Is TRT Safe For You?
All in all, TRT will be much safer for you if you have accurate assessments for low T performed and are under the care of a knowledgeable licensed physician, such as the specialists at Gameday Men’s Health.
For example, feeling tired, depressed, and/or having a low sex drive doesn't necessarily mean you have low T, nor is that adequate information to diagnosis low T. Blood testing is imperative to get to the root cause of your symptoms.
Furthermore, if your blood tests come back normal/healthy, chances are TRT isn’t going to treat the symptoms you're experiencing. Taking testosterone in a case where you already have adequate endogenous testosterone production can be unsafe and exacerbate other health issues. Remember, always confirm the suspicion that you have low T with proper blood tests.
Getting Accurate Assessments for Low T
Misinterpreted or inaccurate blood test results can lead to a false diagnosis of low T or potentially cause someone who has low T to go undiagnosed.
Testosterone levels naturally peak in the morning hours, between 7 AM and 10 AM. Therefore, you should try to have your levels checked during that time frame for proper accuracy.
You will likely need to confirm your initial blood work results with a follow-up blood test. The specialists at GameDay will help interpret your results and answer any questions you have. If you are diagnosed with low T, you should consider TRT - especially if the symptoms are reducing your quality of life.
Ask Your Doctor about Your Concerns
Before starting (and during) TRT, having a completely open line of communication between you and your physician is the most practical and straightforward way to ensure your safety. This is precisely why one of the core values at Gameday Men’s Health is direct, simple, and ongoing communication with our patients.
If you’re dealing with a physician who is giving you the runaround and not answering your questions about the safety of TRT, they might not have your best interest in mind.
Here are some questions and concerns Gameday Men’s Health physicians often hear from prospective TRT patients:
- Will TRT increase the risk of prostate cancer?
- Is it ok to use testosterone despite having a history of cardiovascular complications?
- Will I have to stay on TRT forever?
- Which form of testosterone is best?
Contact us today and set up an initial consultation. We will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about TRT.
Have Realistic Expectations About TRT
TRT at GameDay Men’s Health is designed to return you to high-functioning levels, both physically and mentally. Men with low T may experience a range of benefits as part of TRT, including an increase in libido, better erectile function, enhanced vitality and energy, improved muscle growth, and more precise mental focus. For the vast majority of men, TRT helps them feel healthy, happy and motivated again.