Testosterone plays several important roles in the male body, which is why many are intrigued about the possible benefits of undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Aside from ensuring proper penile and testicular development, testosterone is partly responsible for keeping the bones healthy. Of course, this hormone also plays a direct role in controlling sperm production and libido.
Testosterone is crucial in keeping depression away as it acts on brain receptors that control mood. This is one reason why older men are at a higher risk of suffering from depressive symptoms, given their declining testosterone levels.
Energy, which is closely related to motivation, is also impaired whenever you don't have enough of this hormone. If you’re feeling tired even after you’ve slept through the whole night, you might be suffering from low testosterone.
As for muscle mass, well, testosterone is an anabolic hormone, meaning it promotes muscle growth. Many synthetic steroids are actually designed specifically to mimic the action of testosterone.
Surely, testosterone gels are the top pick among those afraid of needles. Despite being non-invasive, they work well enough and they’re quite safe to use (overdosing on gels is unlikely).
There are, of course, downsides to using gels for TRT. Aside from the issue of convenience (you'll have to keep your skin dry for a while after application), there’s the need to shower right before putting it on.
Injections, on the other hand, combine both potency and affordability. Injectables come in two general types, namely intramuscular and subcutaneous.
The two most common testosterone injection preparations include testosterone cypionate and testosterone enanthate. There's no significant difference between them, though.
As an alternative to conventional TRT, you can opt for natural testosterone boosters in the form of pills. These don’t require a prescription, but they will only help to increase your body’s natural production of testosterone.
While it offers several noteworthy benefits, TRT comes with its own set of potential downsides. The most common side effects of TRT include acne outbreaks and swelling, particularly in the chest area and ankles.
Some people also experience breathing issues during sleep, and these might impair their recovery. Men taking additional testosterone for bodybuilding purposes have an increased risk of this side effect.
As for long-term issues, TRT may increase the risk of developing heart disease and prostate cancer. While there aren’t enough studies to better understand the details of these risks, it’s still important to keep them in mind.
Significantly increasing your testosterone level comes with the risk of excessively boosting your production of red blood cells. Unnaturally high red blood cell levels lead to a higher risk of forming blood clots.
Note that optimal testosterone dosages have not been established, especially for cases when the hormone’s levels aren’t too low to begin with. Experts are still trying to learn more about the pros and cons of non-therapeutic TRT.