The Truth About Over-The-Counter Testosterone Supplements
What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If you’re a guy and have been feeling sluggish lately, moody, or just not yourself, low testosterone could be to blame.
Testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT, may be just what the doctor ordered to get your mojo back.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for distinguishing guys from gals, so to speak. It’s what gives men their masculine qualities like muscle mass, body hair, deep voice, and sex drive.
As men age, testosterone levels naturally start dropping, which can lead to undesirable side effects like low energy, weight gain, and reduced interest in hanky panky.
TRT boosts testosterone levels using gels, patches, injections or other medication. The goal is to restore testosterone to normal levels so you can feel like your usual self again.
When used properly under medical guidance, TRT can be very effective at easing symptoms related to low testosterone like fatigue, moodiness, weakening muscles and lagging sex drive.
However, it does come with potential risks like acne, prostate changes, worsening sleep apnea, and fertility issues. But don’t worry, your doctor can help minimize risks by closely monitoring your treatment and hormone levels. TRT may just be the lifeline you need to rediscover your vitality and zeal for life.
Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
If your doctor determines TRT is right for you, there are several treatment options to choose from:
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Options
You may have seen supplements and gels advertised as “testosterone boosters” available over-the-counter.
OTC testosterone replacement therapy is available without a prescription. However, it is important to note that OTC TRT products are not regulated by the FDA so it’s best to consult with your doctor first.
Prescription Testosterone Medications
Injections: Testosterone injections or “T shots” provide testosterone intramuscularly. Popular injections include testosterone cypionate (like Depo-Testosterone®) and testosterone enanthate, which are usually given every 1 to 2 weeks.
T shots tend to provide steady testosterone delivery but may cause pain, redness or nodules at the injection site.
Gels: Testosterone gels, like AndroGel® and Testim®, are topical gels applied daily to the shoulders, upper arms or abdomen.
Gels also aim for stable testosterone while minimizing irritation or side effects. However, gel application requires time for drying and covering exposed application sites.
Patches: Adhesive testosterone patches, such as Androderm®, are applied nightly and deliver testosterone through the skin.
Patches tend to provide consistent hormone delivery but frequently cause skin irritation and fall off.
Oral tablets: A new-generation pill called Jatenzo® capsules contains testosterone undecanoate, a form of the hormone that can be taken orally.
However, testosterone levels may peak and drop more with tablets versus injections or gels. Very close monitoring is needed to minimize side effects.
Subcutaneous pellets: Testosterone pellets like Testopel® are inserted under the skin and provide long-acting testosterone delivery for several months.
However, pellets require a minor surgical procedure for insertion and removal. Testosterone levels may also be more difficult to control with pellets.
For most men, gels, injections or patches tend to provide the best balance of steady testosterone delivery and minimal side effects.
However, your doctor can help determine what option is right based on your preferences, hormone levels, and overall health.
The key is working closely with your physician to develop an individualized treatment plan that maintains testosterone within the normal range.
Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
For guys with low testosterone, TRT can be a real lifesaver. When administered properly under a doctor’s care, testosterone therapy offers several benefits:
Revved up libido. If your sex drive has stalled out lately, testosterone treatment can help get your mojo back in gear. Restoring testosterone to normal levels can reignite your interest in intimacy and boost satisfaction between the sheets.
More get-up-and-go. Feeling sluggish and unmotivated? TRT may give you an energy kickstart. Many men report feeling more vigorous, driven and zestful for life after beginning testosterone therapy.
Muscle power. Testosterone is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass and strength. If you’ve noticed your muscles shrinking and weakness creeping in, TRT can help turn that around and restore some of your muscular might.
Sharper thinking. Some research shows testosterone therapy may provide cognitive benefits, including improved memory, mental focus and visuospatial abilities. While results vary from person to person, many men experience clearer thinking and an enhanced sense of well-being on TRT.
Safely regaining mojo. The key is starting treatment under the careful guidance of your doctor. By closely monitoring your hormone levels and treatment, your doctor can help ensure you achieve maximum benefits while avoiding potential downsides like mood swings, hair loss or increased aggression.
It can take several weeks of treatment and dosage adjustments to reach your ideal balance, so patience and teamwork with your physician are important.
With regular blood tests and follow-ups, the risks associated with TRT can be minimized. If low testosterone is dragging you down, testosterone replacement therapy may be just the boost you need to help you feel vigorous and alive again.
When administered properly, TRT allows many men to rediscover their zest for living and loving.
Herbal Supplements & Lifestyle Changes
Some herbal supplements, like tribulus terrestris, fenugreek and ashwagandha, are marketed as natural testosterone boosters.
However, herbal supplements are not regulated or approved by the FDA, and they may interact with medications or exacerbate health conditions. It is best to ask your doctor first before trying them out.
Exercise and Diet Changes
In addition to medical treatment, lifestyle changes can also help boost your testosterone naturally. High-intensity exercise, strength training, and losing excess fat tend to have the biggest impact.
High-intensity interval training: Short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods, like interval sprints or brief kettlebell workouts, stimulate testosterone production. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week.
Strength training: Compound lifting with heavy weights, such as squats, deadlifts, bench press and pull-ups, trigger your body to increase testosterone. Focus on 2 to 3 full-body strength sessions a week.
Lose excess fat: Carrying around too much body fat, especially belly fat, decreases testosterone. Losing weight through a balanced diet and exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve low T levels.
Eat more protein and healthy fats: A balanced diet with adequate protein, healthy fats and micronutrients provides the building blocks for testosterone. Focus on foods like fatty fish, eggs, nuts, olive oil, avocados and lean meats. Limit excess sugar and carb consumption.
Reduce stress: Too much cortisol, the stress hormone, inhibits testosterone production. Try meditation, yoga or deep breathing to lower stress. Get enough sleep every night since lack of sleep also reduces testosterone.
For some men, lifestyle changes may be enough to restore testosterone levels to the normal range. However, others may still require medical treatment to relieve symptoms.
The good news is exercise, diet and stress reduction can enhance the benefits of TRT when combined with your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Making healthy lifestyle changes leads to the best chance of success.
Potential Side Effects and Risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
While testosterone replacement therapy can be very effective for relieving symptoms of low testosterone, it also carries some risks if not properly monitored by your doctor.
Because testosterone affects many tissues in the body, increasing levels with TRT can lead to undesirable side effects.
Some men experience acne or oily skin as testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands. Proper skin care and over-the-counter treatments can usually help manage these skin problems. In rare cases, some men may develop gynecomastia or breast enlargement due to excess testosterone converting to estrogen.
This often resolves once testosterone levels stabilize but may require medication or surgery to correct in severe cases.
Testosterone treatment can also worsen symptoms of sleep apnea or make CPAP therapy less effective. If you have sleep apnea, discuss treatment options with your doctor to safely manage both conditions.
TRT also inhibits natural testosterone production which can negatively impact fertility and testicular size. Discuss options for preserving fertility with your doctor if this is a concern before starting treatment.
While TRT does not appear to directly cause prostate cancer, it may lead to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate causing urinary problems. Your doctor will monitor your prostate health closely with regular screenings and testing.
Testosterone can also cause modest changes in red and white blood cell counts, as well as cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes or medication may be needed if blood marker changes become abnormal over time.
Some men experience mood disturbances such as increased irritability, aggression, anxiety or depression with TRT, especially when first starting treatment or changing dosage. Be sure to report any mood or behavioral issues to your doctor right away. Your doctor can then determine if testosterone levels need adjustment to help stabilize mood.
When starting TRT, it’s important to work closely with an experienced physician to minimize risks through careful monitoring and personalized treatment. Keeping testosterone levels firmly in the normal range helps maximize benefits and reduce side effects.
By maintaining an open dialogue with your doctor about any symptoms or concerns, TRT can be safely used to restore vitality and well-being. But patient involvement in treatment decisions and compliance with follow-up care is essential for success.
Should You Consider Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone like decreased energy, reduced libido, weight gain or mood changes, testosterone replacement therapy may offer relief and help you feel healthy and vibrant again.
The best approach is to talk to your doctor if you suspect you have low testosterone. Your doctor can determine if your symptoms are due to testosterone deficiency through blood testing and a physical exam.
If testosterone levels are below normal range and causing significant issues, your doctor may recommend trying TRT using gels, injections, patches or other medications to restore healthy levels. Starting treatment under medical guidance is the only safe way to receive testosterone therapy.
The key to successful treatment is finding the right balance of hormone levels under the supervision of a physician experienced with TRT. By maintaining an active role in your treatment decisions and monitoring, you can relieve symptoms while also minimizing health risks.
Testosterone replacement therapy has allowed countless men to rediscover their vitality, but it must be integrated into your health and wellness plan carefully and responsibly. If low testosterone is adversely impacting your life, talking to your doctor about treatment options including TRT is the best place to start.
But approach OTC boosters with caution as they lack evidence for safety and effectiveness. Partnering with your physician to make the best choices for your health and longevity is the wisest course of action.
Let Physicians Rejuvenation Centers help reignite your zest for living. We specialize in testosterone and hormone therapy tailored to your needs. Call 561-844-8188 to schedule your consultation today.