Many studies have found that testosterone levels in men are decreasing every year. Though there is no sure answer as to why there are a few societal and environmental elements that might be to blame.
Obesity and pollution are among the biggest factors, experts say. Obesity levels in America increased by almost 10% from 1999 to 2016, and higher body fat results in lower testosterone levels.
Pollution is a likely culprit too. Studies have shown that some chemicals found in pesticides, water, and even some common medications are linked to reduced levels of testosterone.
Testosterone injections are prescribed by doctors for men diagnosed with low testosterone levels. This is sometimes linked to a disease called hypogonadism.
In these cases especially, testosterone injections are not only effective for aesthetic reasons, but they’re necessary for the patient’s overall health.
Normal testosterone levels are essential for men’s overall health. For energy, sperm count, mood, sex drive, and erectile function.
Men with low testosterone levels can find reprieve with injections, as long as they are prescribed by a doctor and taken at the correct dose.
But it’s a bit more complicated than just going to the doctor and citing your symptoms. Keep reading for 7 factors to consider before you buy testosterone injections.
1. What Is Testosterone?
The first thing to understand before deciding to get testosterone injections is what exactly the hormone is. And what it’s meant to achieve.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone produced primarily in the testicles. It is an androgenic hormone that supplements normal growth and function of the male reproductive organs.
As well as male characteristics like facial hair and muscle mass. Normal testosterone levels vary. They can sit anywhere between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per decilitre of blood.
Normal levels of testosterone are vital to men’s overall health. Normal levels contribute to bone density, muscle strength, red blood cell levels, sperm production, sex drive, normal facial and body hair, muscle strength, and fat distribution.
In addition to the physical manifestation of normal testosterone levels, it also has a big effect on mood. Low levels can contribute to increased anxiety and depression.
After the age of 30, testosterone levels generally decrease by 1% per year.
Those who have been diagnosed with low testosterone (Low T) or hypogonadism might experience the decrease more rapidly, over a shorter period of time, or starting from a younger age.
2. What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?
Approximately 1% to 12% of the male population have lower than normal testosterone levels. In this case, doctors will suggest testosterone injections. The treatment is called testosterone replacement therapy.
The treatment works by injecting a synthetic testosterone hormone into the body. Which acts as a replacement for the lack of the naturally occurring hormone.
In most cases, the injection will be administered by a doctor by injection into the buttocks muscles. In some cases, a doctor will allow patients to self-inject the medication into the muscles of the thigh.
TRT is only prescribed for men diagnosed with Low T, hypogonadism, or medical conditions relating to the testicles and/or the pituitary gland or hypothalamus in the brain.
Medical names for the treatment include testosterone enanthate, testosterone undecanoate, and testosterone cypionate. But you’ll more likely hear it by its brand names.
What Is TRT? (Part 2)
Popular TRT brand names are Aveed, Depo-Testosterone, Testopel, and Xyosted. Depending on the type of medication, the injection is prescribed either as a liquid or a pellet.
Liquid injections are to be injected into a muscle. While pellets are to be injected under the skin by a licensed medical professional.
If approved to inject a liquid form of the treatment yourself, make sure to take a good look at the medication before administering it. It should be a clear, yellow substance.
If it is at all cloudy or contains any floating particles, or is past its expiry date, do not inject it.
Certain types of the treatment are used to stimulate puberty in men in the case of stunted or delayed onset puberty. In some cases, TRT is prescribed for women with cancer, specifically mammary cancer.
With regards to breast cancer, testosterone injections are administered with the intention of stopping or slowing the production of estrogen in the body.
Men who have Low T levels due to age (known as age-related hypogonadism), should not use TRT treatments as they can have dangerous side effects for older men.
The average cost of treatment ranges from $24 to $120 per month, depending on the dosage prescribed.
3. What Are the Benefits of TRT?
Severe and untreated Low T can lead to deregulated fat production. This can result in sudden weight gain, especially in the belly area. It can also prevent the ability to build muscle and strength.
Low T levels can also lead to lowered sperm count. This can cause serious problems in relationships, especially for men and their partners who want to have children.
In connection with the lower sperm count, Low T decreases sex drive and can result in erectile dysfunction. It can also cause a lack of energy and an increase in anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.
Low T is also linked to sleep apnea and sleep quality and a decreased ability to focus and concentrate. The symptoms themselves can lead to lower self-confidence, which is what can ultimately lead to depression.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can be an effective way to treat these symptoms in men with Low T levels. TRT can increase sex drive and energy levels, heighten sperm count and is linked to improved mood and confidence levels.
It is important however to note, that testosterone injections, especially when administered over a long period of time, can negatively impact erectile function.
So while sex drive might be increased, symptoms of erectile dysfunction might not improve. Thus impeding the patient’s ability to act on the increased levels of desire.
4. Do You Need Testosterone Injections?
In some cases, the answer will be yes. As mentioned earlier, up to 12% of the male population have Low T levels. However, it’s important that only people diagnosed with Low T or hypogonadism take TRT.
Older men whose testosterone levels have naturally decreased over time, but who are otherwise healthy, are unlikely to achieve benefits from TRT. And in fact, the treatment can be dangerous to men’s health when they’re over a certain age.
Taking testosterone injections when you don’t need them can lead to testosterone levels that are too high. This can produce the opposite of the desired effects.
Having too much testosterone has similar effects to having too little of the hormone. It can lead to infertility, weight gain, and mood changes, just like it does on the other side of the spectrum.
Testosterone functions best when it’s at normal levels. Too much or too little of it can have negative effects on overall health. As with most things, balance and moderation are key.
TRT is prescribed in two cases: Low T levels and a disease called hypogonadism. Hypogonadism is a condition that prevents the body from producing the normal amount of testosterone.
This usually happens because of a dysfunction of the testicles. Or damage to the pituitary gland in the brain that controls the release of hormones from the testicles.
Extensive research has shown that TRT can help to treat the symptoms and reverse the effects of hypogonadism. However, in older men who are otherwise healthy, there is no scientific proof that TRT will have any real benefit.
5. Is It Legal to Buy Testosterone Injections?
Testosterone injections are a Class C drug. Meaning they are only legal with a doctor’s prescription.
The first step is to see a doctor and outline your symptoms. One or two symptoms on their own might not be enough to warrant a testosterone prescription. In most cases, the doctor will send you for blood tests to assess your testosterone levels.
If your testosterone levels are normal, but you still feel you would benefit from TRT, it’s advised to think carefully before obtaining it from an illegal source. It’s not only illegal to sell, but it’s also illegal to possess and use without a prescription.
The penalty for being caught with illegally-obtained testosterone or other anabolic steroids is a minimum of $1000 fine and up to one year in prison for first offenders. The sentencing increases in severity for distribution and repeat offenders.
It’s also against the law to share your prescription with others. Or to take the treatment in any way other than was prescribed by a licensed physician.
6. Are There Side Effects?
It is possible for patients to have an allergic reaction to the treatment. In most cases, physicians will keep the patient in the clinic for up to 30 minutes after the injection. This is to make sure there are no signs of an allergic reaction.
It’s extremely important to tell your doctor about any known allergies before receiving the treatment. You should also be transparent with your doctor about any other drugs you are taking, prescription or otherwise.
Some short-term side effects of TRT can include acne, headache, mood swings, deepening of the voice, bruising or redness at the injection site, weight gain and tiredness.
These side effects should be moderate and should not last long. If any of the above-mentioned side effects are intense or long-lasting, speak to your doctor.
More serious short-term side effects include nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, blood in the urine, depression, sharp stomach pain and suicidal thoughts.
If you’ve undergone TRT and are experiencing any of these serious symptoms, especially if they persist, cease use and speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
More research is required into the long-term side effects of testosterone injections, but there are some known dangers to taking the treatment for long periods of time.
Long term effects of testosterone injections can produce some of the side effects that were the original reason for having the treatment in the first place.
For example, sperm counts tend to be lower in men diagnosed with Low T. In those cases, testosterone injections can be a supplement treatment to increase sperm count, sexual desire and erectile dysfunction.
But long term use of the treatment can actually decrease sperm count and increase the chances of erectile dysfunction. So, while TRT has numerous benefits for young men with Low T, it’s important to moderate the treatment over time.
7. Are There Other Alternatives?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of Low T but your testosterone levels are testing as normal, you should analyze your lifestyle and make some adjustments.
Especially in young, healthy men, testosterone levels can be increased by natural means. A healthy diet, regular exercise, reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking can make testosterone levels increase on their own.
Due to the unknown and potentially dangerous long-term side effects of testosterone injections, experts recommend that men adjust their lifestyle before turning to testosterone injections or any other type of anabolic steroid therapy.
Fatigue and lack of energy are two of the main reasons men go to the doctor hoping for a TRT prescription. There are many natural ways to boost energy.
Regular exercise, even just taking a walk or stretching throughout your workday can have a huge impact on your energy levels. Eating healthy and snacking on fruit, nuts, and protein throughout the day can also help a lot.
Don’t overexert yourself. Take things one step and a time, and take breaks to rest if you’re feeling overworked. Even just doing some yoga and light stretching goes a long way toward restoring energy levels.
The Bottom Line
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is an effective way to restore testosterone levels to normal. Specifically in those who have been diagnosed with Low T or hypogonadism.
Normal testosterone levels in men are essential for good health, high energy, sex drive, body fat moderation and the ability to grow facial hair and put on muscle mass.
Like most things in life, moderation is key. In many cases, low testosterone levels can be corrected by having a healthy lifestyle. And most doctors will suggest analyzing your lifestyle before recommending you buy testosterone injections.
Too much or too little of the hormone can be dangerous. And TRT is an effective and generally safe way to regulate testosterone levels for optimal health. Visit our TRT blog for more information and resources to stay informed.