Testosterone therapy is a long-term treatment that is often used to restore normal male hormone levels. Millions of American men use prescription testosterone injections or gels as forms of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). The effects on sexual interest usually appear after three weeks and stabilize after six weeks. A small number of men may experience immediate side effects from testosterone treatment, such as acne, breathing disorders while sleeping, swelling or tenderness in the breasts, or swelling of the ankles.
To understand how the body uses testosterone, key indicators such as free testosterone, DHEA, vitamin D and SHBG are looked at. For male patients with low blood testosterone levels, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for men often outweigh the potential risks. Serum testosterone levels generally rise above the normal range for 1 to 3 days after the start of treatment, and then gradually decrease to the lower end of the normal range over two weeks. The speed at which testosterone injections work in the body will depend on how each individual's system responds to the hormone.
Symptoms that can be expected to improve with testosterone therapy include low libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and depression. Getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising will help maximize the effectiveness of testosterone treatment. When men stop taking testosterone therapy, they can often feel a big difference because their body's testosterone production hasn't recovered yet. Prostate-specific antigen and volume increase and stabilize after 12 months; any additional increase should be related to aging rather than to TRT.
A questionnaire such as ADAM (Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men) can be useful in identifying symptoms of low testosterone levels. If a man's testosterone is below the normal range, it's likely that he'll take TRT hormone supplements indefinitely.