Testosterone plays an essential role in your physical and mental health. This powerful male sex hormone affects everything from your hair to your sex drive. Healthy testosterone levels can help you build muscle and recover from intense workouts.
It’s natural for your testosterone levels to decline over time, especially after your thirties. As your body produces less testosterone, you may develop symptoms like decreased muscle mass and erectile dysfunction. Many men turn to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to solve these issues.
But is TRT safe? Read on to learn about the potential side effects of TRT.
What Is TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy is a popular treatment that uses prescription medications to restore testosterone to normal levels. TRT comes in several forms, including:
- Nasal gel
- Oral capsule or tablet
- Self-administered intramuscular injection
- Topical gel
- Transdermal patch
A healthcare provider may prescribe TRT if you have low testosterone levels. Many conditions can cause testosterone deficiencies, such as:
- Pituitary disorders
- Testicular cancer
Your doctor can use a blood test to determine if you have low testosterone levels.
What Are TRT Side Effects?
Millions of men use TRT to boost their testosterone levels and improve their fitness. If you’re considering TRT, you may be worried about potential risks.
Like any prescription medication, TRT can cause adverse reactions in some people. Erythema, or injection site irritation, is the most common side effect for patients who receive testosterone injections, impacting 26% of people.
Other possible side effects of TRT include:
- Difficulty passing urine
- Enlarged or tender breasts
- Increased urination
- Liver dysfunction
- Raised red blood cell levels
- Reduced sperm production
- Sleep apnea
- Swelling of the ankles, feet, and other body parts
- Weak urine stream
Research has also linked TRT to potentially fatal health conditions, such as:
- Blood clots in the lung or leg
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Prostate cancer
In 2018, the Federal Drug Administration warned that TRT could raise patients’ risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. However, researchers have not conclusively determined if TRT can cause these health conditions. More studies are needed to fully understand the risks and side effects of TRT.
Who Is Most at Risk for TRT Side Effects?
Some populations are more likely to develop TRT side effects than others. These groups include:
- Anabolic steroid abusers: If you misuse TRT, you can experience many side effects, such as convulsions, hypomania, infertility, shrunken testicles, and transient ischemic attacks. Women who abuse testosterone can develop symptoms like breast atrophy, male-pattern baldness, and voice deepening. Only use TRT as directed by your prescriber to avoid these adverse reactions.
- Children: Young people who take TRT may have bone growth issues. TRT can cause children to stop growing prematurely, affecting their adult height.
- Diabetic people: TRT may affect your blood glucose levels, requiring you to adjust your insulin dosage.
- Older men: Geriatric people who receive TRT may be more likely to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
- People on corticosteroids: TRT can cause you to retain more fluid when used alongside anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Pregnant women: Taking TRT during pregnancy can harm the developing fetus.
If you belong to one of these categories, you should consult with your doctor before starting TRT.
Signs You Could Benefit from TRT
With so many possible side effects, you may wonder if taking TRT is worth the risk. This therapy offers many benefits for people with low testosterone levels, such as:
- Better cognitive performance
- Increased sexual function
- More lean body mass
- Stronger bone density
Wondering if TRT is right for you? Speak to one of our expert representatives at PeakPerforMAX today to explore TRT options and develop a safe and effective treatment plan.