Low testosterone levels in men can have various deleterious effects such as loss of muscle tone and strength, depression, and lowering of libido.
Testosterone levels normally drop gradually over time as men approach middle and old age. However, if levels drop precipitously, negative physical and psychological effects can result. This can occur if normal levels in an individual are naturally low, or if an accident or illness causes a decrease in production.
Testosterone replacement treatment services can restore testosterone to a patient's normal level, which can vary greatly among individuals. However, treatment is not without risk.
How are Testosterone Levels Tested?
Blood tests are used to determine testosterone levels. Blood is drawn as early as possible in the morning when testosterone levels are highest. If a single test shows a lower level, an additional test is performed for verification.
Normal testosterone levels can vary between around 300 and 1100 nanogram per deciliter, with an average level in the mid 600's.
If a patient's testosterone level is within normal range without symptoms, treatment is not usually recommended. However, if levels drop below the 300 range and/or symptoms of low testosterone are present, testosterone replacement treatment may be initiated.
How are Testosterone Replacement Treatments Administered?
Testosterone can be administered through scheduled injections, application of a topical cream, or through gradual release from pellets placed under the skin in a minor surgical procedure.
Blood tests are then performed on a regular basis to measure testosterone levels in the blood, with treatments adjusted as needed to maintain desired levels.
What are the Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Treatment Services?
Muscle tone is improved along with waning hand and leg strength. Vigor and libido are also enhanced from levels muted by the effects of low testosterone. Mood is often elevated because of the psychological effects produced by testosterone (or the lack of it).
Testerone won't turn patients into mini-Hulks with bulging muscles but will allow muscle growth and strength to increase at a normal pace when a patient engages in physical training.
What are the Risks Associated With Testosterone Replacement Treatment?
The primary risk involves patients with prostate cancer or a family history of prostate cancer. Testosterone replacement can speed the progression of prostate cancer at any stage because prostate tumors feed on testosterone.
Anyone considering testosterone replacement treatments must first undergo a PSA (Protein Specific Antigen) test, which is used to detect the presence of prostate cancer, as well as provide as much family history as possible concerning prostate cancer.
Administration of testosterone can also be problematic for some individuals. Injections tend to produce levels that drop gradually between appointments. Topical creams must be fully absorbed before contact with women and children, who can experience detrimental effects from absorbing testosterone through skin contact.
Sub-dermal gradual release capsules are the optimal administration method, but also the most expensive. Testosterone replacement treatments are covered by insurance, but only if approved by your insurance company.
The only definitive approval criteria for most insurance companies is when levels test below the minimum range after multiple blood tests. Individuals who test above the standard minimum must get approval on a case-by-case basis, or pay for treatments themselves.
Of course, it's hard to put a price on getting your life back. Testosterone replacement treatments won't turn back the hands of time or make an individual young again; it just allows a man to be his normal self. The rest is up to him. Contact testosterone replacement services near you for more information and assistance.