The Pros and Cons of Testosterone Injections

Testosterone injections are a widely used treatment for men with symptomatic hypogonadism. Learn about potential side effects & benefits.

The Pros and Cons of Testosterone Injections

Testosterone injections are a widely used treatment for men with symptomatic hypogonadism, and the benefits seen with TRT, such as increased libido and energy levels, beneficial effects on bone density, strength and muscles, as well as cardioprotective effects, are well documented. However, it is important to consult with a Men's Health Physician in Cookeville TN before starting testosterone treatment, as there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration. The most common side effects of testosterone injections include acne, breast enlargement or pain, hoarseness, deepening of the voice, pain, redness, bruising, bleeding or hardness at the injection site, tiredness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, mood changes, increased facial or body hair growth, and male pattern baldness. In diabetic patients, the metabolic effects of androgens can lower blood glucose and, therefore, insulin requirements. TRT is contraindicated in men with untreated prostate and breast cancer.

Men receiving TRT should be monitored for side effects such as polycythemia, peripheral oedema, and heart and liver dysfunction. Because of this risk of polycythemia, men who undergo TRT should not only have their complete blood count (CBC) checked during treatment but a baseline blood count should also be taken before starting testosterone treatment. Drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of a drug even once because of its rewarding psychological and physiological effects. While topical testosterone delivery systems prevent first-pass hepatic metabolism, there remains concern regarding TRT in patients with chronic liver disease.

Studies that analyze the occurrence of polycythemia as a negative side effect in men receiving testosterone treatment are rare. Testosterone injection is also used in women to treat certain types of breast cancer that have spread to other parts of the body. There have been reports of misuse by men who take higher doses of legally obtained testosterone than those prescribed and who continue to take testosterone despite adverse events or against medical advice. A relatively small number of men 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. Approach testosterone therapy with caution if you have a high risk of prostate cancer, if you have severe urinary symptoms due to an enlarged prostate or if you have been diagnosed with heart disease, a previous heart attack or several risk factors for heart problems.

Inaccurate or misinterpreted test results can misdiagnose or overlook a case of testosterone deficiency. For male patients with low blood testosterone levels, the benefits of hormone replacement therapy for men often outweigh the potential risks. As the population continues to age both the incidence of BPH and late-onset male hypogonadism will continue to increase and doctors should feel comfortable counseling men on the effect of TRT on the prostate.

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