Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is the administration of a synthetic hormone to increase the levels of testosterone in men. The use of synthetic hormones is increasingly used as increasing numbers of men with age-related problems like male pattern baldness and hypogonadism, are opting for TRT to augment their male hormonal production. Testosterone replacement therapy is known by other names like male pattern hypogonadism, male patternmaking defects or micropenis. The term hypogonadism refers to the absence of a pituitary gland, which causes infertility in men. Most common symptoms of hypogonadism include decreased libido, decreased energy levels, mood disturbances, and hot flashes. For men who have Testosterone deficiency due to reasons such as prostate surgery or prostate cancer treatment, TRT helps improve their testosterone production.
There are several drawbacks associated with TRT and these can vary from adverse sexual side effects, to the increase in the risk of cancer. Long term use of synthetic testosterone can lead to the decrease in libido and sexual function, to the development of gynecomastia (an increase in the male breast), and testicular shrinkage. It also increases the possibility of developing prostate cancer. Testosterone replacement therapy for men with known hereditary levels of low testosterone may increase the risk of developing some common conditions such as breast cancer, testicular cancer and cataract. Moreover, TRT use can also result in some commonly occurring conditions like hair loss, facial hair growth, loss of energy and muscle mass.
The most important fact about testosterone replacement therapy is that the level of testosterone in your body declines slowly over time. Therefore, if you go in for a long term course of TRT it may be difficult to determine the exact effect of TRT on your body over the long term. If you are planning to undergo TRT, it is essential to ensure that you understand all the pros and cons of this treatment and also have a thorough discussion with your doctor regarding any other medical issues. There have been cases when some men, who were on TRT therapy for an extended period, developed depression and other psychological problems. Therefore, if you go in for testosterone therapy for any purpose, make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.