Updated April 2023
Testosterone replacement therapy is a common treatment for men with low testosterone levels. In this article, we will delve into the causes of low testosterone, the various options for testosterone replacement therapy, how testosterone injections work, and the time it takes for them to start working.
Table of Contents
Changing Testosterone Levels with Age
Testosterone, a hormone produced in the male testicles, is responsible for developing male characteristics such as a deep voice, facial hair, and muscle mass. As men age, it is natural for their bodies to experience lower testosterone levels. Contrary to popular belief, there is no sudden drop in testosterone levels during what is sometimes referred to as “male menopause” or andropause. Instead, testosterone levels naturally decrease by around 1% annually after the age of 30. However, it is also possible to suffer from low testosterone at a younger age, a condition known as hypogonadism.
Causes of Low Testosterone
Hypogonadism, or low testosterone, can be classified into three categories: primary, secondary, and mixed.
Primary hypogonadism is caused by a problem with the testes. Common causes include Klinefelter syndrome, mumps, cancer treatment, or testicular injury.
Secondary hypogonadism occurs when the pituitary gland and hypothalamus malfunction. Common causes include Kallman syndrome, pituitary tumors, HIV/AIDS, opiate pain medication, obesity, and age-related hormonal changes.
Mixed hypogonadism is a combination of primary and secondary hypogonadism and is often related to age and overall health.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone in Men
Low testosterone can manifest in various symptoms, such as:
- Loss of body hair
- Reduced muscle mass and weight gain
- Gynecomastia (breast glandular growth)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low or nonexistent sex drive
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Hot flushes
- Disturbed sleep
- Poor concentration and “brain fog”
- Mood swings and depression
Natural Ways to Improve Testosterone
There are several natural methods to boost testosterone levels:
- Weight lifting and exercise: Research has shown that resistance training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can naturally increase testosterone levels.
- Creatine supplements: Studies have indicated that creatine supplementation can lead to increased testosterone levels.
- Fish oil supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can help reduce cortisol levels, which in turn supports testosterone production.
- Vitamin D: Spending time in the sun or taking vitamin D supplements can potentially boost testosterone levels.
- Zinc: Taking zinc supplements has been shown to increase sperm count.
- Sleep: Getting adequate sleep is important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Before starting testosterone replacement therapy, comprehensive screenings and testosterone tests are essential. These tests check testosterone levels and ensure proper pituitary gland function. Typically, the FSH and LH tests (follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone) are used together for accurate results. While some tests can be done through a GP, others may require a visit to a private clinic.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) in the UK
Testosterone replacement therapy aims to balance hormone levels by boosting testosterone. In the UK, various forms of TRT are available by prescription, including gels, injections, tablets, patches, gum, nasal sprays, and implantable pellets. TRT can be obtained through the NHS or privately.
Popular types and brands of TRT include gels (AndroGel, Testim, Vogelxo, Fortesta), underarm sprays (Axiron), tablets (Jatenzo), injections (Depo-Testosterone, Delatestryl, Aveed, Nebido), patches (Androderm), gum (Striant), nasal gel (Natesto), and implantable pellets (Testopel).
Hormone Therapy for Men
At Harley Street Medical, we understand that hormone therapy is not a one-size-fits-all treatment. We conduct comprehensive screenings and take the time to understand your concerns and goals before suggesting a personalized treatment plan. Our physical examinations cover various systems and blood tests check for potential underlying conditions.
Testosterone Injections for Men
Nebido testosterone injections are one of the options available at Harley Street Medical. Nebido provides a slow release of testosterone into the bloodstream, ensuring a steady supply. Typically, injections are administered every ten to fourteen weeks, depending on individual testosterone levels. Patients may experience improvements in mood, energy levels, muscle mass, and sexual function.
Side Effects and Safety of Testosterone Injections
Nebido testosterone injections are generally well-tolerated, with minimal side effects. Some possible side effects include mood swings, irritability, acne, weight gain, headaches, anxiety, and occasionally prolonged erections. At Harley Street Medical, we prioritize patient safety and are available to address any concerns during TRT treatment.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) vs. Anabolic Steroids
It is crucial to distinguish between testosterone replacement therapy and illegal anabolic steroids. TRT, when properly administered and monitored by a healthcare professional, has been shown to have various health benefits for men. Anabolic steroids purchased illegally often contain harmful substances and have much higher doses than those prescribed for TRT, leading to potentially dangerous effects on the body.
How Do Testosterone Injections Work?
Testosterone injections are slowly released into the bloodstream after administration. The testosterone then binds to androgen receptors in different body tissues, promoting muscle mass, bone density, physical performance, energy levels, mood, and cognitive function. The effects of testosterone injections can vary from person to person, with some men reporting improvements within a few weeks to a couple of months.
It is important to note that testosterone injections should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Dosage and frequency will depend on individual factors and regular monitoring is necessary to maintain safe testosterone levels.
Don’t let low testosterone hold you back from living your best life. With testosterone replacement therapy, you can start feeling more like yourself again. Schedule an appointment with us at 5 WS for testosterone replacement therapy in London, led by our dedicated men’s health team.