Testosterone is a vital hormone that helps the body function. Low levels of testosterone, also called Low T, can be caused by aging, illness, or other reasons. Low testosterone can result in a wide range of symptoms, affecting sexual health, energy levels, mood and more.
For many men with low T and women going through menopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy can help alleviate these symptoms. As with any medical treatment, there are a wide range of possible results and your results will change over time. Read on for an overview of some of the most likely things you can expect in your first weeks and months on testosterone.
How Do Different Delivery Systems Work?
Testosterone can be administered in a variety of ways, including injections, transdermal gel, a patch or pellets inserted under the skin. The most common treatments for low T are injections or pellets, though your doctor may suggest a different option based on your needs.
A major benefit of transdermal application is that the side effects tend to be minimal and limited to the area of application; in many cases, varying the application location can minimize side effects even further.
Some physical and psychological changes can begin right away for many users. Some physical effects can include a thickening of the skin (which can also affect the way things feel when you touch them), increased oil & sweat production, and in some cases, acne. Remember—a sudden increase in your testosterone level from what your body is accustomed to can be similar to puberty.
In addition, increases in energy, libido, sexual attraction, and frequency of erections can begin quickly. For some people, these can jump noticeably and quickly, and for others, it may be more gradual. Note that if energy levels or sexual function are an important part of why you’re pursuing HRT, you may need to be patient as your body adjusts, and even desireable change can be overwhelming when it’s sudden!
Down The Road A Bit
After a few weeks, you may also begin to notice changes in muscle mass and weight distribution. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your physical health as well as your fitness level, as an increase in energy and changing body mass can also lead to overuse injuries at the gym.
Overall changes to mood tend to be gradual, over time. If you notice severe changes in mood or mood swings, make sure to check in with your doctor.
Testosterone Therapy for Menopause
For women in menopause or perimenopause, testosterone therapy (with or without estrogen/progesterone therapy) can help with emotional and psychological affects. Because dosages are usually lower in these cases, it may take 8–12 weeks for you to begin noticing results. Common results in menopausal women include increased sexual drive, reduced mood swings, and improved depression.
As with all medical treatments there are potential side effects of HRT. Regular follow up visits with your clinician are important to ensure proper dosage and no underlying health issues. Especially if you are seeking treatment for emotional or psychological symptoms, you may wish to keep written notes to track changes over time.
Considering treatment options for low T? Viking Medical Group can help! Contact us to learn more about our services!