What are the Proper Dosages for Testosterone Replacement?
Testosterone is a naturally produced steroid secreted by the testes in the male body. It is a vital sex hormone, and it controls many developmental characteristics in men. These include growth of hair, development of muscles mass, and heart health. When hormone levels are depleted, it can lead to numerous health issues, so many men opt for testosterone replacement therapy to correct testosterone levels.
Common Causes of Testosterone Depletion
The most common cause of lowered testosterone levels is a defect at the time of testes formation, but it can also occur for many other reasons. Some of these reasons are increase in age, sickness, drug or alcohol abuse, stress, diseases, surgery, and trauma. Depending on the cause of each individual’s hormone depletion, doctors will decide the course of treatment for testosterone replacement.
Symptoms of testosterone deficiency that are most common are decrease in sex drive or libido, bone deterioration, and erectile dysfunction. Other equally important signs that usually go unnoticed are disturbances in the sleep cycle, lack of physical activity, lethargy, and depression. Some of the symptoms are very subtle and may go unnoticed or undiagnosed for a long time.
Courses of Treatment
There are many options when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy. Injections, creams, gels, and trans-dermal patches are the most common, though oral testosterone and testosterone pellet implants are also an alternative. The biggest debate that occurs is whether a man needs to undergo testosterone replacement therapy at all. The treatment is usually preferred for young men or those who are middle-aged and experiencing low testosterone levels.
What Level is Considered Normal?
There is no standard for what “normal” testosterone levels should be because it varies greatly with age, physiology, and many other factors, from individual to individual. Testosterone levels are the highest when a man is in his early 20’s, and it begins to drop after that. By his 50’s, his testosterone levels will have dropped to less than half of what it was in his 20’s.
Correct Dosage Levels
Dosages administered vary depending on the type of testosterone replacement therapy, age, and reaction of the patient’s body. Doctors usually start with a standard recommended dosage and then conduct tests to see if adjustments need to be made.
– When injecting testosterone, doctors administer 200-250 mg once every 2 weeks. A week after the injection is given, hormone levels in the man’s body should read normal. If injections are being weekly instead of fortnightly, 100-200mg every week is the advised dosage. Many athletes and bodybuilders have been known to go to extremes and take doses as high as 800 mg a week for muscle development and strength. However, this can have terrible long-term side effects.
– Using trans-dermal patches is popular with some men, although it has been known to cause skin irritation with many patients. One patch has about 5 mg of the hormone and can be worn all day. The patch can be placed anywhere on the skin of the body, though most prefer the abdomen or shoulder, for up to 24 hours.
– Taking testosterone in oral form (pill, troche or sublingual) is not very common because it tends to be more expensive and less effective than other forms of treatment. Oral forms of testosterone have also been shown to be toxic on the liver and may even cause stomach problems. It is usually preferred by patients who can’t use other methods for whatever reason. Doses start at 40 mg a day but usually increase to 160-250 mg a day taken in 3 or 4 small doses.
– Gels are easy to use and convenient. They are applied to the arm, shoulder, or abdomen. Usually 5 g of the gel, which contains about 50 mg of testosterone, is applied. This dosage may be increased if the doctor feels not enough is being absorbed.
– Creams generally have 5% testosterone. Some creams can even be compounded up to 20% strength! They are applied to the rib cage, shoulders, arms and any area that isn’t obstructed by too much body hair or body fat. A dose of cream is usually applied every day.