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Testosterone Replacement Therapy Benefits, Side Effects & Cost

Testosterone Replacement Therapy Benefits, Side Effects & Cost
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

When it comes to male health, testosterone plays a crucial role. As the male hormone, testosterone is responsible for a plethora of things. It determines a man’s appearance, hormones, sexual function, and ultimately endurance. But what about testosterone replacement therapy? What is it exactly?

Testosterone replacement therapy or TRT is a treatment for men with low testosterone levels and helps men with hypogonadism improve. Men who get testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) report a number of benefits. In fact, most men report an improved sex drive, higher energy levels, and a better mood.

Having low testosterone by itself does not necessitate the use of TRT, because some men aren’t bothered by low levels of testosterone. But for men who are, TRT is a viable treatment option. Testosterone levels naturally change as men age, typically by an average of one to two percent per year. While testosterone levels begin a gradual decline at the age of 30, testosterone levels tend to decline more quickly in men aged 40 and above.

Men with low testosterone are eligible for TRT if they notice any symptoms of the condition. According to WebMD, symptoms of low T include the following:

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Low energy levels and fatigue

  • Diminished sex drive or libido

  • Facial and body hair loss

  • Depression

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Poor well-being

  • Irritability

Men who show symptoms of and test positive to low T may be eligible for treatment. Hormone replacement therapy comes in a number of forms. It can come as a transdermal patch, gel, mouth patch, or an injection/implant. But what is the difference between these, and what are the overall benefits of TRT? 

According to experts, a transdermal patch is a skin patch that you wear on the upper arm or upper part of the body. It should be placed on the skin one time per day. According to Medline Plus, the transdermal patch should be placed on the skin at 8:00 pm each night and should remain there for 24 hours. You should follow the prescription’s label and contact your doctor with questions about it. 

The gel is applied to your skin, but you should be careful not to touch the area where you applied the gel after you have applied it to your skin. 

The testosterone injection is a bit different. The injection must be injected by a doctor or medical professional in a clinical setting. That way, any adverse reactions or side effects can be treated there. You will be required to sit in the healthcare setting for 30 minutes after receiving the injection. 

These are all effective methods. However, one question remains: What are the benefits of TRT? 

Produced in the testicles, testosterone is a hormone responsible for a number of things. TRT is intended for men with hypogonadism. Your doctor will likely check your testosterone levels two times before suggesting TRT, but the benefits are clear. While it may be tempting to treat the normal aging process using TRT, experts caution against it. If you want to slow down the normal process of aging, your doctor can recommend natural methods to boost testosterone.

These may include doing resistance training and losing weight. One of the biggest benefits of TRT is that it increases bone density, maintains muscle mass, and maintains the production of red blood cells. Additionally, TRT produces an increased sex drive and a boost in sperm production. 

According to The Balance Hormone Center in Oklahoma, testosterone is essential to concentration, memory, and other factors. Because of this, it is important to make sure you take care of your hormones by keeping them balanced. TRT reduces your risk of developing conditions like diabetes and heart attack.

Surprisingly, TRT can improve your math skills. It has been found that testosterone can improve your problem-solving skills, which are needed for critical thinking. If you have TRT, you may find that you have an improved mood. Low levels of testosterone are linked to fatigue, depression, and a low quality of life.

Many who have TRT find that they are better able to manage their weight and fitness. In fact, TRT helps you lose weight by decreasing your body’s fat mass and replacing it with muscle mass. These changes can be facilitated by exercising more and eating a healthy diet. The increased muscle mass may also motivate you to eat healthy and exercise more.

One study found that testosterone injections are a good alternative to weight loss surgery. Injections typically carry fewer risks than weight loss surgery. This study also found that men who took injections lost an average of 20 percent of their overall body weight. Those who did not get the injections gained an average of 13 pounds. 

According to the Low T Center, low T levels can lead to weight gain, and men with Low T often struggle to lose weight. When you have low testosterone levels, your body tends to store more fat, which contributes to additional weight gain.  

Studies have found that TRT can relieve your symptoms, so you feel more motivated and able to live a healthy lifestyle. Symptoms of Low T can hold men back from doing things that keep them healthy, like exercising and eating a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Many people simply lack the energy and motivation to have a healthy lifestyle when testosterone levels are low. 

In many cases, your body craves sugary and unhealthy foods to gain the energy it needs to perform at peak capacity. Because TRT boosts energy levels, men typically find that they are better able to make healthy food choices. Men with low T often find it difficult to find energy to go to the gym for a workout. This in itself can lead to weight gain. 

But what are the side effects of TRT? TRT does not immediately produce side effects, but a small percentage of men report breast swelling and tenderness, disturbed breathing during sleep, acne, and swollen ankles. There is also a potential for high red blood cell counts, which raises your risk of developing blood clots. 

However, research studies have identified some potential risks of TRT. According to PubMed, TRT has the potential to worsen prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Those who get TRT are also at an increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). TRT also has a significant effect on the prostate. As the world population grows and gets older, the prevalence of hypogonadism is expected to grow. 

If you are considering TRT, you should consider the potential for sleep apnea, and discuss this with your doctor. Experts also say that you should not get TRT if you have breast or prostate cancer. TRT produces a number of other side effects, which can include oily skin, a decreased sperm count, and larger breasts. Additionally, it puts you at an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. 

However, some studies suggest that TRT may actually benefit men who have been treated successfully for prostate cancer, according to WebMD. However, they must be monitored closely for this disease. If you are considering TRT, it is important to consider your risk of prostate cancer. 

Men with lower urinary tract issues, such as bladder urgency or frequency should not get TRT, as these could be exacerbated by TRT. You should not get TRT if you have an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

What about the cost? In terms of cost, TRT can be quite expensive. A 200 mg/mL vial of TRT can cost anywhere from $40 to $100 each month. Testosterone cream can cost up to $500 per month without insurance.  According to Hone Health, the cost of TRT depends on a number of other factors, including where you live, your dosage, and treatment.  

With insurance, the price of TRT is significantly decreased. According to experts, there are currently only two testosterone injections on the market. One is administered once every two to four weeks, while the other is administered five times per year. Depo-Testosterone, the first option, costs $38 per month with insurance. The generic version of this medication costs $35 per month. 

Another TRT treatment is called Aveed. Aveed costs $1,560 per month and is not available as a generic. While these are quite pricey, many men find a tremendous benefit in TRT and are not afraid to spend extra cash to get it. Many men want the benefits TRT provides and consider it when they have obvious signs of hypogonadism and sexual function is compromised.

 If you are considering TRT, your doctor should first document the fact that you have low morning testosterone on more than two occasions. This may be difficult, especially when you have a lot to do during the day. However, your doctor may be able to help you with this. 

TRT overall has many benefits and some risks. However, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits before you start treatment. Also, be aware that men with erectile dysfunction should not get TRT. 



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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.