What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): 12 Things You Should Know Before Getting TRT
If you’ve found yourself slowing down a bit as you’ve gotten older, your doctor might’ve mentioned something called “TRT” to you.
TRT is short for “testosterone replacement therapy,” and it involves artificially boosting your natural hormone levels. For men, this therapy can do everything from giving them more energy in the gym to increasing their libido.
It sounds like a miracle drug or a fountain of youth — and in some ways, it is. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone, though. If you’re curious as to whether TRT could work for you, the guide below can help.
Why Does Testosterone Decrease with Age?
The short answer is…no one knows for sure. In fact, we don’t even know if testosterone has to decrease with age. One recent study concluded that aging has no effect on testosterone levels — it’s your overall health that’s the cause.
That doesn’t change the fact that, for many men, their T-levels start to gradually taper off as they get older. This hormone loss isn’t as precipitous as the one women experience at menopause, but instead it’s slow and steady — about 1% per year, on average.
For some guys, though, those levels fall off much more rapidly. These are the men who really begin to slow down once they hit 35 or 40.
Whatever the reason, these men really struggle to keep up with their peers at the office or in the gym — or their wives in the bedroom.
It’s not their fault, though, and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s simply the result of an unfortunate medical condition — one that TRT may be able to solve.
What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
If your T-levels are relatively normal and/or dropping slowly, you may not notice any symptoms — and what symptoms you do notice will likely just be written off to old age.
However, if your hormone levels drop dramatically, you may notice:
- Less energy
- Trouble sleeping
- Lower sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fewer spontaneous erections
- Decreased sperm count
- Loss of bone or muscle density
- Unexplained weight gain
It’s important to recognize, however, that low testosterone isn’t the only thing that can cause some or all of these symptoms. As a result, you should always consult your doctor rather than self-diagnosing.
What is TRT?
TRT is a process by which you increase the amount of testosterone in your body using prescription medications. These medications can come in the form of injections, pills, patches, or even a gel or cream.
However, it’s important to note that many of the symptoms of low testosterone are completely natural and shouldn’t be cause for concern. For example, you may be tired because you’re not sleeping well, not because your hormone levels are low.
That’s why it’s so important to start by talking to your doctor. Your physician will be able to tell if your symptoms are normal or the sign of something more serious.
Generally speaking, TRT is only suitable for men over 35 who are experiencing serious symptoms that indicate a lack of testosterone. It’s not for guys who simply want to lift more in the gym, experience more erections, or have more energy.
Is TRT Legal and Safe?
It’s legal when prescribed by a licensed physician, yes.
That being said, there are some concerns over its use. Some people are concerned it increases the risk of heart attacks, while others fear it can cause certain cancers.
Unfortunately, though, there hasn’t yet been enough research done on TRT to come to any sort of conclusion about its long-term safety. What little research there is suggests that it’s safe when used appropriately, however.
Who Should I See About Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
If you think you have low testosterone, you should bring it up with your primary care physician. They can order the necessary tests and coach you through the steps you’ll need to take to start the therapy.
How Can I Get TRT?
Start by talking to your doctor about your symptoms. They’ll most likely want to administer a blood test to check your hormone levels. If so, schedule it for the morning, when your T-levels are at their peak.
In some cases, you’ll need to take several blood tests, and at different times of the day.
If you do in fact have low testosterone, your doctor will prescribe a TRT dosage of some sort. You can talk with them about which method is best for you.
The good news about TRT dosing is that you should see results within a few weeks. The bad news is that it doesn’t “cure” low testosterone, so you may see your symptoms return if you stop taking it.
What Happens to My Body When Having TRT?
The first thing you should notice is an increase in your sex drive. This happens within three weeks and reaches its full potential within six weeks.
Next, your mood should improve. You may see a reduction in the symptoms of depression after three or four weeks.
Finally, your fat and muscle levels should start heading in opposite directions after three or four months. You should see a difference regardless, but it will be especially pronounced if you hit the gym hard.
There are other benefits you may not notice, like an increase in bone density, reduction in inflammation, and improved insulin sensitivity. These can take anywhere from three weeks to a year to take effect.
What Are the Benefits of TRT?
These will vary from person to person, but in general, you should notice some or all of the following:
- Higher sex drive
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Reduction in fat, especially around the midsection
- More energy
- Sharper focus
- Elevated sperm count
What Are the Side Effects of TRT?
TRT is a serious medical procedure, and as such it often carries with it a few side effects, such as:
- Larger breasts
- Acne or oily skin
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Sleep apnea
- Enlarged prostate
- Lower HDL cholesterol
As mentioned above, there are other potential risks that may or may not exist, like increased risk of heart attack, blood clots, cancer, and stroke.
Who Should Avoid TRT?
Men who already have healthy testosterone levels have no need to take TRT. For them, it’s likely to do more harm than good.
Also, men who are at high risk for prostate cancer, have an enlarged prostate, or suffer from heart disease should not take TRT.
Does TRT Build Muscle?
Yes, you should see an increase in lean muscle mass while taking TRT. However, it’s not a magic wand — you’ll still need to exercise in order to see the best possible results.
Because TRT can help grow muscles, it’s often confused with anabolic steroids. While it may offer some of the same benefits as steroids, it’s quite different.
For one thing, TRT is much safer. It’s used under a doctor’s supervision, and the medication is clean and pure. Many steroids include testosterone, but they’re “stacked” with other medications — some of which you may not even realize you’re taking.
Also, TRT only brings your testosterone levels up to their normal range. Steroids push your T-levels well past normal, which is why they can have so many more side effects like “roid rage” and increased cancer risk.
Is TRT Right for You?
For men who are suffering from low testosterone, TRT can help them feel like themselves again — only a better version. It can boost their performance in the gym, the boardroom, and the bedroom.
However, TRT isn’t without risks, so you shouldn’t take it if you already have normal T-levels.
If you’ve been struggling to keep up with life’s demands, it may not be your fault — low testosterone could be to blame. If that’s the case, TRT can help you get your life back on track in no time at all.
If you found this article interesting you might also like our other article about testosterone supplements. Check out which is in our opinion the best test booster on the market.