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What exactly is testosterone replacement therapy?

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

Are there any side effects of testosterone replacement therapy?

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

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

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

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