Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
The very concept of “replacement” involves replenishment in the body of a deficiency of a substance. With a lack of own testosterone, its compensation with drugs is necessary.
When is male hormone replacement therapy prescribed?
A number of conditions are needed to prescribe testosterone preparations. First of all, the doctor will establish indications for such treatment:
- the presence of symptoms of testosterone deficiency (decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, decreased physical strength, decreased performance, irritability, drowsiness, depression, hot flashes, and others);
- laboratory-confirmed reduced testosterone levels;
- lack of contraindications to HRT.
What are contraindications for HRT?
There are a number of absolute contraindications for prescribing testosterone preparations:
- prostate cancer in the present or past;
- present or past breast cancer;
- present or past liver tumors;
- elevated blood calcium levels associated with malignant tumors.
Underestimation of the existing contraindications can lead to sad consequences.
Relative contraindications include:
- sleep disturbance in the form of the so-called “night apnea” (respiratory arrest in a dream), which often happens in obese men who snore in a dream;
- intolerance to the drug or hypersensitivity to it.
How to determine if I have contraindications for HRT?
Before conducting hormone replacement therapy, the doctor will prescribe you a series of examinations, namely:
- ultrasound examination of the prostate gland, as well as an ultrasound of the liver, kidneys;
- determination of the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) – a specific marker, the level of which increases with prostate cancer.
These studies will help rule out prostate cancer.
In addition, other studies are needed:
- general blood analysis;
- biochemical blood test (to assess the condition of the liver and renal function, cholesterol level).
What effect should I expect from therapy?
In the absence of contraindications and proper monitoring of treatment, hormone replacement therapy brings to life only positive aspects. Indicators of the effectiveness of testosterone therapy and at the same time the goals of the treatment are:
- increased sex drive (libido) and overall sexual satisfaction;
- decreased severity or disappearance of vegetovascular and mental disorders;
- with prolonged treatment (more than 1 year) – an increase in bone density and a decrease in the frequency of fractures;
- reduction in obesity;
- muscle growth;
- laboratory parameters: increased hemoglobin or red blood cell count; lower cholesterol.
What are the adverse effects of HRT?
In some cases, men reported the following side effects after undergoing therapy:
- pain at the injection site when using injection forms (in about 10% of cases), which, as a rule, is short-lived;
- pain in the legs, breasts, testicles;
- joint pain;
- dizziness, headache;
- skin manifestations: acne, itching, subcutaneous hematoma at the injection site;
- in rare cases – fluid retention, swelling.
How will the doctor supervise hormone replacement therapy?
At the first examination, as well as during the entire time of treatment, your doctor will conduct an examination, including examination of the prostate gland, will take special tests to determine the level of testosterone, the number of red blood cells in the blood, as well as tests that reflect the state of liver and prostate function. PSA levels should be monitored every 3 months in the first year of treatment, then every six months.
Category: Health and Wellness
Tags: hormonal disbalance, hormones, Men’s Health