Benefits of hormone therapy therapy varies, in part, on whether you take systemic hormone therapy or low-dose preparations.
Many aging men with low testosterone report improved energy levels, sex drive, and mood after hormone replacement therapy. If testosterone is low, why not replace it?
Subtle Symptoms of Low Testosterone
- Low sex drive (libido)
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Low energy level
- Loss of muscle mass
- Hair loss
- Difficulty concentrating
If a man has symptoms these symptoms, and tests show he has a low testosterone level, a doctor may suggest Hormone Replacement Therapy. For millions of men who have low testosterone levels but no symptoms, no treatment is currently recommended.
Men hit their peak testosterone levels at about age 17. Levels plateau for a while, then slowly start to slide in their 30s and 40s. By the time a man reaches 80, his testosterone level will be about half of what it was when he was a strapping young lad.
For many years, doctors have used synthetic testosterone to treat a small number of men whose hormone level is low. A growing number of men in the United States are taking testosterone to reverse the gradual, age-related decline of the hormone, or so-called andropause. By some estimates, the number of testosterone prescriptions in the United States has tripled in recent years, and total sales now come to about $500 million a year. That’s not much compared with the $12.5 billion spent on cholesterol-lowering statins, but the upward trend is still impressive.
Testosterone plays an important role in sexual interest and motivation. Some research hints at a use-it-or-lose-it feedback loop — testosterone levels increase with sexual stimulation and activity, and decline after long periods of celibacy. But even men with low levels of the hormone can have erections.
Testosterone therapy hasn’t been effective as a treatment for male sexual health. In younger men it shrinks the testes and in all men, drops the sperm count. Yet doctors who prescribe testosterone say their patients often report that it improves the quality of their erections.
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