It’s no secret that as men get older, their testosterone levels decrease. A drop in testosterone leads men to become interested in different types of hormone replacement of therapy. For example, a significant reduction to unnaturally depleted levels in testosterone like the condition of hypogonadism makes testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) especially favorable. But, why?
The reason is that testosterone is essential for multiple facets of good health. For example, male sexual development, reproductive capabilities, increasing muscle mass, plus maintaining proper levels of red cells and bone density are all related to testosterone.
Thus, it’s essential to investigate what types of hormone replacement therapy may be beneficial for you. In this article, we’ll discuss a handful of different kinds and the inherent risks that may come with them.
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The Different Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
In terms of types of hormone replacement therapy, there are main types: intramuscular testosterone injections, testosterone patches, and topic testosterone gels. After those three, there is also a different kind known as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Let’s take a quick look at all four types.
1. Intramuscular Testosterone Injections
If your testosterone drops below normal levels, the most common solution is an intramuscular testosterone injection. If done by a doctor, they are typically injected into the buttock muscles. Yet, your doctor may allow you to do the injection yourself, and in those cases, the injection site should be in your thigh muscles.
2. Testosterone Patches
The next type of therapy is a testosterone patch. A double-blind placebo-controlled study involving 39 men over the age of 40 showed an increase in testosterone after wearing a testosterone patch for six months.
Although further research indicates that intramuscular injections can produce greater musculoskeletal benefits while keeping cardiovascular risk low, testosterone patches are a feasible option if you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting multiple doctor appointments to receive testosterone injections.
3. Topic Testosterone Gel
A third common type of hormone replacement therapy is using a topic testosterone gel. Research has shown that gels are just as effective as injections and patches. The benefit of gels compared to the other options is a decreased risk of an injection site reaction.
4. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
The final kind of therapy that is worth mentioning is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Similar to the other types, there are plenty of possible benefits in utilizing bioidentical hormones.
The key difference is that bioidentical hormones are explicitly tailored to what your body needs. One could say these types of “man-made” hormones are the closest somebody can get to an exact replacement. Research has shown that they are also effective in helping to restore testosterone levels for men with low T.
The Risks For All Different Types of Hormone Replacement Therapy
With any therapy, there are inherent risks that you should be aware of. The risks for different types of hormone replacement therapy can be placed into two categories: minor risks and major risks.
Minor risks include:
- Acne outbreaks
- Fluid retention
- Increased urination throughout the day
Major risks include:
- Breast enlargement
- Reduction in testicle size
- Reduction in sperm count
- Increased levels of cholesterol
- Increased levels of red blood cells
- Increased risk of infertility
- Worsening of sleep apnea (if you have experienced it already)
Regardless of what types of hormone replacement therapy you consider, it is always best to consult with your doctor before moving forward. Whether you want to try injection, patches, gels, or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, It’s important to determine for yourself whether the benefits outweigh the risks and go from there.
If you have questions about types of hormone replacement therapy or any of the conditions discussed here, connecting with a doctor in a discrete setting has never been easier.
Opt Health is a telehealth platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through scientific preventive medicine. From your own home, you can schedule with a physician, meet one-on-one via video conference, receive test results, and have medications delivered to your door.
For questions, inquiries, or appointments, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get personalized support and insight from top-tier physicians available 24/7.
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