Are Men Ever Prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Firstly, the doctor must weigh in all the factors such as age, recent trauma, surgery, infection and others. In the case of TRT or testosterone replacement therapy, if testosterone levels are found to be too low then a doctor may prescribe testosterone injections or a topical cream or gel.
Causes of Low Testosterone in Men
There are many reasons why levels of testosterone are reduced in the male body. The most common of these is old age, but there are unnatural causes which would prompt a physician to suggest hormone replacement therapy for men using a testosterone medication.
Some causes of low T (testosterone) are:
- An excess of iron in the blood stream
- Genetic or congenital defects
- Substance abuse
- Inflammation or diseases that cause inflammation
- Chemotherapy treatment
- Trauma or infection to the testes
- Abnormalities of the pituitary gland
If any of the above leads to a noticeable loss of testosterone, and the body does not produce sufficient quantities to restore it, and if the person does not have any contraindications then hormone replacement may be recommended.
Effects of Testosterone Deficiency
Many times, a testosterone deficiency goes unnoticed because the symptoms are hard to identify as they gradually get worse over time. There are some serious consequences that arise from depletion of testosterone in the body.
Some of these are:
- Reduction of muscle mass, leading to an increase in fat tissue
- Reduction of hair growth on the body
- Poor mood
- Risk of anemia
- Brittle bones
- Drastic changes to levels of cholesterol
- Poor quality of life
Apart from these, men who experience a deficiency of testosterone also lose their sex drive or libido, have feelings of depression and inadequacy, have erectile dysfunction, feel lethargic and lose their concentration. Hormone replacement therapy for men has been shown to help reverse these effects.
Positive effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Many studies have been conducted to find that testosterone replacement can be very favorable for male patients. It is used to treat the above symptoms but it has been found to have other benefits as well.
Increases in energy, stronger bones, reduction of fat in the body, increase in libido, a sense of well-being and improved cognitive function are all reported benefits of this therapy. There are also indications that testosterone replacement can help with treatment of chronic heart failure, anemia, diabetes, and dementia.
Negative Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
There are also side-effects that come with this form of treatment. These include symptoms such as sleep apnea, increase in acne, breast growth, decrease in the size of the testicles and infertility.
Though such side-effects are reported and common, hormone replacement therapy is sometimes necessary and so prescribing doctors are willing to take the risk. If the side-effects worsen or the patient’s situation decreases, dosage is usually stopped. When the patient’s condition calls for the treatment, it is sometimes necessary to prescribe it despite the risks.
When Doctors May Prescribe Treatment
If a physician feels that a male patient can have an improved lifestyle during hormone replacement therapy, they will prescribe it. Many doctors still treat this therapy as an elective treatment, and many insurance companies will not cover it if it is elective.
However, when the situation is severe and the patient is in dire need of therapy for his health, or when there is a need to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases, it will be prescribed as necessary and covered by some insurance companies.
For the most part, insurance companies may only cover a light dose testosterone gel for only a short period of time. There are also important ancillary drugs that should also be used in combination with testosterone that insurance companies do not cover.