Testosterone Therapy

1 What is a Testosterone Therapy to Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Read on to learn more about testosterone therapy to treat erectile dysfunction (ED).

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles. It is responsible for the proper development of male sexual characteristics and is also important for maintaining muscle bulk, adequate levels of red blood cells, bone growth, sense of well-being and sexual function.

The amount of testosterone in his body gradually declines as a man ages and it starts after age 30 and continues throughout life.

Testosterone level can be low due to:

  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Loss of the testicles, medications especially hormones used to treat prostate cancer
  • Corticosteroid drugs
  • Chronic illness
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Stress
  • Alcoholism
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
  • Hemochromatosis (too much iron in the body)
  • Dysfunction of the pituitary gland (a gland in the brain that produces many important hormones)
  • Genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter's Syndrome (extra X chromosome)
  • Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis (a condition that causes inflammation of the lungs)

The symptoms of testosterone deficiency are:

  • Lost sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decrease in muscle mass, with an increase in body fat
  • Changes in cholesterol levels
  • Decrease in hemoglobin and possibly mild anemia
  • Decrease in body hair and fragile bones (osteoporosis)

The level of testosterone can be measured by a blood test but because testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, several measurements will need to be taken to detect a deficiency; preferably early in the morning since this is when testosterone levels are at their highest.

Deficiency of testosterone can be treated with:

  • Intramuscular injections (generally every two or three weeks)
  • Testosterone patch is worn either on the body or on the scrotum (the sac that contains the testicles)
  • Testosterone gel
  • Oral tablets
  • Mucoadhesive material applied above the teeth twice a day

Men who have prostate cancer or breast cancer should not take testosterone replacement therapy so prior to this therapy; the patient must undergo a thorough prostate cancer screening with a rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

Side effects of hormone replacement therapy include:

  • Acne or oily skin
  • Mild fluid retention
  • Stimulation of prostate tissue
  • With perhaps some increased urination symptoms such as a decreased stream or frequency
  • Breast enlargement
  • Worsening of sleep apnea (a sleep disorder that results in frequent night time awakenings and daytime sleepiness)
  • Decreased testicular size

Laboratory abnormalities can occur and they include:

  • Increase in red blood cell count
  • Changes in cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Decrease in sperm count
  • Producing infertility (especially in younger men)
  • Increase in PSA
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