What is Androgen Replacement Therapy?
Androgen replacement therapy, otherwise known as ART, is a widely practiced hormone treatment. The therapy involves the replacement of the male hormone ‘testosterone’ and is also known as ‘testosterone replacement therapy’.
Testosterone, which is produced by the testicles, is responsible for the development of sexual characters in males. This testosterone replacement treatment is usually done to counteract the effects of the condition known as male Hypogonadism, or Low T.
When to seek the therapy
Doctors prescribe androgen replacement therapy when a testosterone deficiency is detected. Decreased sex drive, depression, erectile dysfunction, and decreased levels of concentration are the commonly observed symptoms of the low T.
A decrease in body mass, a decrease in body hair, and increased fragility of bones will also lead the doctors to suspect a deficiency in testosterone. The accurate levels of testosterone in the body can be determined with the help of a blood test tat checks for all types of hormone along with general health and wellness panels.
Modes of administration
Many modes of hormone administration are followed in the procedure of androgen replacement therapy. Testosterone when given as injections is found to have long-lasting effects. The injection is given every 1 week into the muscle. This mode of administration is effective, but at the same time may be expensive. Testosterone can also be administered in the oral mode as pills or troches. These pills, which usually contain about 25 mg of testosterone, are not very effective. Use of such pills is also found to cause liver abnormalities.
A testosterone patch, which is stuck on the skin, usually the rib cage, is another mode of administration. These patches are to be changed daily. The patches can also be placed in rotation between the areas of the arms, back, and buttocks. Testosterone is also available as a muco-adhesive material, which is applied twice a week, above the teeth.
The regular use of patches can lead to the development of skin irritations. Men facing this issue can follow another mode of testosterone administration, which involves the use of creams and gels. The creams and gels have to be applied on the shoulders, rib cage or inner wrist area. This is the most popular form of testosterone replacement therapy that is prescribed by most physicians.
The side effects
The side effects if androgen replacement therapy can vary from person to person. Some men may notice an increase in the oil content of the skin, and an outbreak of acne. The prostate tissue can also get stimulated which can lead to symptoms like increased urination. People suffering from sleep apnea may also notice that their condition has worsened after the treatment. Mild fluid retention in the body and a decrease in the size of the testicles are the other side effects that can accompany the treatment. It’s important that when seeking testosterone therapy you find a doctor or age management center that has been in practice a long time and work works with leading physicians.