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Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Written by Author - Authors Medical experts of the National HRT Clinic - October 16, 2015

Testosterone replacement therapy is the safest and most effect way to treat men and women who have been diagnosed with low testosterone.

Testosterone is the most important male hormone, or “androgen.” In males testosterone production starts in the womb. In fact, we all start out as “females” and it is the release of testosterone in a developing fetus that starts its differentiation into a male baby. As boys age, it is testosterone that is responsible for all the changes that will make him grow into a man.

As vital as testosterone is to boys and men, women’s bodies make and need testosterone too. In women testosterone plays an important role in fitness and sexual health.

While testosterone is essential for the health and wellbeing of both men and women, unfortunately, testosterone levels drop as we age and low testosterone can be the result. Testosterone replacement therapy is used to treat men and women suffering from age-related testosterone decline.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy

What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

Testosterone replacement therapy is prescription medication that is used to treat men and women with low testosterone. In men low testosterone is sometimes referred to as andropause. Low testosterone is also known as hypogonadism.

A man’s testosterone level peaks at around the age of 20. After that it starts a steady decline. By the time a man is over 30 he can expect his testosterone level to drop at a rate of about 1% to 2% per year. That may not sound like much, but by the time a man is in his 60s, his testosterone level could be as much as half of what it was in his 20s. Most men between the ages of 45 and 65 will be feeling the effects of low testosterone to some degree or another.

In women, testosterone does not drop gradually over time as it does in men. Women experience a sudden drop in testosterone along with their “female” hormones when they enter the menopausal years.

In either case, testosterone replacement therapy is used to return testosterone to more normal levels to alleviate the many debilitating symptoms of low testosterone.

Pros and Cons of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Generally speaking, the pros, or benefits of testosterone therapy far outweigh the risks or cons.

When used as prescribed, testosterone replacement therapy is a remarkably safe and effective way to treat low testosterone. In addition to improving strength, energy and sex drive, there is evidence that testosterone therapy may reduce your risk of heart disease and even some cancers.

Most of the “cons” or negatives you may have heard about testosterone only happen when testosterone is abused or used illegally without a doctor’s prescription. Other cons of testosterone therapy is that it can be costly in some circumstances, but most patients discover that the many benefits are worth the monthly cost of testosterone. We work with patients to help make testosterone therapy as affordable as possible.

The Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

For men and women with low testosterone there are many benefits of testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone replacement:

  • Improves libido and sexual performance
  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Helps you to lose weight
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Improves cognitive function and memory
  • Improves heart health
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves mood
  • Increases hair, skin and bone health

Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

Testosterone replacement therapy is generally regarded as safe to treat low testosterone. However, as with any drug or medical procedure testosterone therapy can have some side effects. Reported side effects of testosterone therepy include:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low sperm count
  • Lowered HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Swelling in the hands or legs
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Sleep apnea
  • Acne or similar skin breakouts
  • Inflammation at injection site

Most of these side effects of testosterone therapy are rare, and should they occur, can be mitigated simply by adjusting your dosage or type of testosterone therapy. The vast majority of our testosterone replacement patients go through their program with little or no discomfort or issues.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Men

Testosterone is probably the most important hormone there is for men. In men testosterone is responsible for the development of the sex organs, and for all of the characteristics we associate with “maleness,” such as bigger muscles, body hair and a deeper voice. Testosterone also plays a role in strength, vitality, sexual wellness, emotional stability, and cognitive abilities. As testosterone levels drop as men age each of these areas are negatively impacted. Testosterone therapy for men improves sexual function, strength, vitality and more.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy for Women

Women experience a dramatic loss of testosterone as they enter their post child-bearing years. Doctors have now come to realize that the “sexual wellness” issues experienced by perimenopausal and menopausal women, are related more to testosterone loss, than loss of female hormones like estrogen. Therefore, when combined with traditional hormone replacement therapy for women, testosterone therapy has been shown to help alleviate menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and lack of libido.

Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Safe?

Testosterone therapy has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of low testosterone. The potential side effects of testosterone are rare. Testosterone therapy is generally regarded as a safe way to treat patients with Low T. However, like any drug or medical procedure, testosterone can have some side effects.

Potential testosterone side effects that could impact men or women include:

  • Breast swelling
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Increased facial or body hair growth, male-pattern baldness
  • Numbness or tingly feeling

Some side effects common specifically to women include:

  • Acne
  • Changes in menstrual periods
  • Male-pattern hair growth (such as on the chin or chest)
  • Hoarse or deepened voice
  • Enlarged clitoris.

How Much Does Testosterone Treatment Cost?

Since testosterone replacement programs vary from clinic-to-clinic, and from patient-to-patient, costs will vary. A typical male patient should expect to pay anywhere from $500 –$1500 per month for testosterone therapy. Some of the costs of low testosterone treatment may be covered by insurance. Either way, we try to make your treatments as low cost as possible and offer a variety of payment options. A note about the cost of testosterone treatment: keep in mind, like in any purchase, you get what you pay for. You should not cut corners on your health and choose a testosterone clinic strictly because it may be the cheapest.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy Results

For patients who may be suffering from age-related testosterone loss, testosterone replacement therapy can provide a wealth of benefits. One of the first improvements our patients of testosterone therapy notice is an increase in sex drive and improvement in sexual performance. Besides improving your love life, some of the other benefits of testosterone therapy include:

  • An increased ability to build lean muscle and increased muscle mass – This is often also accompanied by fat loss, because testosterone not only improves your ability to burn fat, but, as you build more muscle mass, your metabolism heats up even further.
  • Increased energy levels – Testosterone therapy improves your cells ability to turn calories into energy.
  • Improved moods and cognition – Testosterone therapy also can help to return men and women to a more even emotional keel, and can also fight depression, anxiety and other mood swings. Testosterone therapy can also help to improve memory, focus, and your ability to complete complex cognitive tasks.

What Do Clinical Studies Say About Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

There have been countless clinical studies that have proven the many benefits of testosterone therapy.

In 2009 mega-study said, “[research] indicates that testosterone replacement therapy may produce a wide range of benefits for men with hypogonadism that include improvement in libido and sexual function, bone density, muscle mass, body composition, mood, erythropoiesis, cognition, quality of life and cardiovascular disease.”

Another study published that same year concluded, “The protective effect of testosterone on myocardial ischemia [heart disease] is maintained throughout treatment without decrement. Previously noted potentially beneficial effects of testosterone on body composition were confirmed and there were no adverse effects.”

A very recent study indicated that testosterone therapy could be quite effective in treating obesity. The head researcher on the study said, “Our study found long-term testosterone therapy in men with hypogonadism and obesity resulted in significant improvement in measures of body size and composition.”

In 2018 the results of a long-term study into the benefits of testosterone therapy known as the “Testosterone Trials” were published. The conclusions drawn by the Testosterone Trials included:

  • Testosterone treatment for older men with low testosterone improved all aspects of sexual function.
  • Testosterone treatment for older men with low testosterone improved stamina, as measured by walking distance.
  • Testosterone treatment for older men with low testosterone improved mood and depressive symptoms
  • Testosterone treatment for older men with low testosterone markedly increased the volumetric bone mineral density and estimated bone strength

These are just a small sample of the many clinical trials that have proven the safety, benefits and effectiveness of testosterone replacement therapy.


Are there different kinds of testosterone replacement therapy?

Testosterone replacement therapy is prescribed in several forms:

  • Creams and gels
  • Skin patches
  • Oral medications
  • Subdermal hormone pellets
  • Testosterone injections

Our doctors have found testosterone injections to be the safest and most effective form of testosterone therapy.

Is testosterone replacement therapy covered by insurance?

Depending on your medical insurance, some aspects of your testosterone therapy may be covered by insurance. Some health insurance companies will cover testosterone therapy for men with a legitimate diagnosis of low testosterone, others may only cover your visits and lab testing and not the cost of your actual testosterone monthly injections. Many of the pharmaceutical companies that make testosterone therapy drugs offer discount programs for men with prescriptions for testosterone therapy who are not insured or whose testosterone treatments are not covered by insurance.

How do I know if I need testosterone replacement therapy?

If you are between the ages of 45 and 65 and experiencing any or all of the following symptoms, you could be a candidate for testosterone replacement therapy.

  • Low sex drive
  • Difficulty with erection
  • Low sperm count
  • Unexplained loss of hair
  • Hot flashes
  • Low bone density
  • Diminished lean muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
  • Problems sleeping (insomnia)
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, depression

If you have any or all of these symptoms, there is a good chance you have low testosterone and could benefit from testosterone therapy. However, the only way to know for sure is to have you blood tested for your testosterone level.

Can I get testosterone replacement therapy Online?

No, absolutely not. You can only legally get testosterone therapy with a doctor’s prescription. Buying testosterone online is not only illegal, it can be hazardous to your health.

How long will I have to be on testosterone replacement therapy?

Testosterone therapy is usually prescribed for six months. After your first six months you will be revaluated to see if you need to stay on testosterone replacement for another six months.

What happens if I stop testosterone therapy?

You should not stop your testosterone therapy without your doctor’s permission. If you are experiencing any side-effects, contact your medical provider before deciding to stop your therapy on your own. Once your have completed your testosterone therapy and stop taking testosterone as directed by your physician, which would generally be about six months to a year, you will be evaluated to see if you need to continue. If you do not continue testosterone therapy, you will be given diet, exercise, and other lifestyle counseling, that will help you to keep your testosterone levels as high as possible and maintain the improvements you have made.

Now that you know a little bit more about testosterone replacement therepy, why not take a minute to contact us and learn more about how hormone replacement therapy can improve your quality of life?

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on September 26, 2022

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.