01 Nov What You Should Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
Hormone replacement therapy for men is one of those medical topics most people have heard of, but do not know much about. The hormone levels of a man naturally decrease as he ages. Men need hormones for all different sorts of functions.
What Are Hormones, and What Do They Do?
Medical professionals refer to hormones as the chemical messengers of the human body. There are many different hormones in the human body – some specific to men and some specific to women – and they all serve a specific function or need. Testosterone is the first hormone that comes to mind when thinking about hormone replacement therapy for men, but it is far from the only hormone in the male body. Some of the other hormones in the male body include cortisol and epinephrine (stress hormones); Leptin, ghrelin, CCK, and insulin (weight hormones); and thyroxine (energy hormone).
Any type of low or unbalanced hormone level in a man can cause all sorts of health problems. For example, testosterone is what many consider the hormone that makes a man a man. It helps with functions such as reproduction and development. Hormone replacement therapy is an easy way to fix an imbalance in the body and relieve the individual of problems associated with the imbalance.
Why Get Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is perfect for men with unnaturally low testosterone levels. A man with hypogonadism, for example, would benefit from this type of therapy. Hypogonadism prevents a man’s body from producing a proper amount of testosterone. This can impair his ability to produce sperm, as well as a whole wealth of other problems.
Exploring Types of Hormone Therapy for Men
Men have several different choices to consider with hormone therapy. The first is intramuscular testosterone injections. These require an injection in your buttocks every two or three weeks. For someone who doesn’t like the idea of a needle in the bottom, testosterone patches are another choice. You wear the patch and absorb the testosterone slowly over time. The only thing you should worry about is not putting the patch in the same spot every time. A third and less invasive option is topical testosterone gel. If you decide to do patches or the injection, remember to keep the products out of reach of children.
Risks of Hormone Therapy for Men
While most of the risks associated with this type of therapy are minimal, you still need to know them. Some of the minor risks include:
- Increased need to urinate
- Retention of fluid
You and your doctor can decide if the benefits of the therapy outweigh the risks for you.
If this type of therapy sounds beneficial to you, talk to your doctor. You will undergo a blood test to determine whether you would benefit from the therapy. The blood test is a hormone panel, and most medical professionals will repeat the blood test two to six weeks after getting results from the first test. Depending on how the test results come back, your doctor may discuss the three different types of replacement therapy to see which one you want to do.