Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Hypogonadism, or Low Testosterone
Hypogonadism, also known as low testosterone or “low T,” can lead to symptoms of decreased energy and libido, difficulty building lean muscle mass, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, and even loss of bone density. Men who have some or all of these symptoms and demonstrate low testosterone on a blood draw are candidates for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
There are many options for TRT, each of which has its benefits and disadvantages. The decision about which one is right for you will depend on your personal preferences and a discussion with your doctor. In some cases, different insurance companies may cover one option and not another, which may also be taken into consideration. If the desired effects are not achieved with your initial choice, a different option can be tried to see if it is a better fit for you, your health, and your lifestyle.
Evaluation of Low Testosterone
Regardless of the type of testosterone replacement therapy chosen, you will need to first be evaluated by your doctor and then monitored at regular intervals (usually every 3-6 months) to confirm good control of your hypogonadal symptoms, check levels of testosterone and perform other related bloodwork, and to ensure that there are no potentially dangerous side effects.
The evaluation and follow-up regimen usually consists of the following:
- Physical examination every 6 months, including digital rectal exam assess for signs of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.
- Bloodwork every 3-6 months for testosterone levels and other hormones.
- Bloodwork every 6 months for lipids, hemoglobin and hematocrit, and PSA (prostate-specific antigen).