What To Know Before Starting Testosterone Replacement Therapy

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If you’ve been diagnosed with low testosterone, you may be relieved. Now you know what’s causing your low sex drive, constant fatigue and depressed mood. Unless an underlying condition is causing a decrease in testosterone, the next step is fixing those issues with testosterone replacement therapy.

So, what should you expect? According to urologist and reproductive medicine/sexual health expert Ali Dabaja, M.D., here’s what you need to know:

  • Understand the risks and side effects.
    There is no clear evidence that link testosterone replacement therapy to prostate cancer. However, you should talk to your doctor about the side effects of TRT which may include:
  • Doctors will keep an eye on your red blood cells and PSA.
    Your doctor should test your levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and red blood cells prior to the start of treatment. This is important because testosterone replacement therapy has the potential to increase red blood cells to unhealthy levels.
  • Testosterone treatment may make having children difficult.
    If you are hoping to have children in the near future, you may want to reconsider starting low T treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy can reduce sperm production and semen quality. This unfortunate side effect can linger for months or even years after discontinuing treatment, so make sure you talk to your doctor if this will be a problem.
  • Work with your doctor to select the best form of treatment.
    Will you forget to take a daily medication? Do you want to avoid injections? Consider questions like these and talk through the answers with your physician. Testosterone replacement therapy comes in a variety of forms, including patches, gels and injections – so make sure you select the best method for you.
  • You may see improvement within three to six months.
    Research varies in regards to the length of time it takes testosterone treatments to kick in. Remember that low testosterone treatment is an ongoing, long-term process, so your low T symptoms may not disappear right away. That doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t working.
  • Expect to follow-up with your doctor.
    When you start testosterone replacement therapy, you will have to see your doctor regularly to have your blood and testosterone levels checked. Most men visit their doctor every three months for the first year and then every six months if you’re healthy.

If you have questions about low testosterone or would like to schedule an appointment with a urologist, visit henryford.com or call us at 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Dr. Ali Dabaja is a urologist specializing in a reproductive medicine and sexual health with the Henry Ford Vattikuti Urology Institute.

Categories: FeelWell