Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men. Testosterone levels can affect sex drive, erections, mood, bone density, and muscle mass. Testosterone is critical for sperm production.
For most men, testosterone levels peak in their adolescence and early adulthood. Testosterone levels gradually decrease in men during their 30s or 40s. Some men suffer from low testosterone, or low-T. This is also called hypogonadism. It is important to differentiate between hypogonadism and normal aging. Hypogonadism can include the following symptoms:
- Decreased sex drive
- Less frequent sexual activity
- Weaker erections or decreased potency
- Depressed mood
- Decreased energy
- Decreased strength or muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Decreased bone density
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is FDA-approved for the treatment of men with hypogonadism. This comes in different forms.
It is unclear if TRT is related to increased cardiovascular disease in men. Scientific research has shown conflicting evidence, and more studies are needed. The FDA is studying the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death in men on TRT. Risks of TRT include the following:
- Breast swelling/tenderness
- Elevated red blood cell count
- Small testicles
- Ankle or foot swelling
TRT should only be used for men with symptomatic hypogonadism. Men on TRT require regular checkups and blood tests. Ask your doctor if testosterone replacement is right for you.