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What exactly is testosterone replacement therapy?

Testosterone replacement therapy is a method of treatment that is used in cases when it is necessary to restore sexual functioning, increase libido, prevent osteoporosis and optimize bone density, restore the strength of the muscles and to improve mental functioning. The greatest majority of these problems are usually caused by decreased levels of testosterone, and there are a number of possible reasons that may be responsible for that. However, this therapy helps with all these problems by increasing the levels of testosterone and by normalizing them. Besides testosterone, the levels of other hormones that are affected by this one (DHT and estradiol, among others) are also normalized.

Are there any side effects of testosterone replacement therapy?

First of all, it is important to know that no matter how helpful this therapy might seem it is not a good choice for everyone. People who are at higher risk of not reacting well to this therapy are those who suffer from prostate cancer, because testosterone replacement therapy may cause the growth of the prostate. Due to this possibility, all the patients have to undergo prostate screening in advance.

Despite the fact that this therapy is generally considered safe, there are some side effects that may occur, although it is practically impossible to predict whether or not they will appear in a particular case, and how they will manifest. However, if a person notices oily skin or presence of acne, enlargement of breasts, decrease in the size of testicles, as well as mild fluid retention, it is recommended to contact the doctor. Swelling of the prostate, sleep disorder and emotional instability are also possible, which is why the person should be well acquainted with all the possibilities.

Besides this, some side effects may be related only to a particular form of this therapy. That way, the signs of liver toxicity have been reported in cases of those who used oral testosterone replacement, although the fact is that all the manufacturers mention liver problems as a possible side effect. Men who plan to have children in the future should bear in mind that there is a possibility of experiencing infertility, which may be only temporary, but which may also be permanent. A condition known as polycythemia is one of the serious side effects and it is much more likely to occur in older men. This condition is characterized by the increase in the mass of the red blood cells and levels of hemoglobin, which increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and similar problems.

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