It’s wonderful that so many of our male patients are taking a proactive approach to their health. Generally speaking, we find that men may feel hesitant and uncomfortable when asking questions about treatments and side effects. We can understand that and so we’d like to take this opportunity to address some of the questions that we are often asked about men’s health and treatments.
We find that a lot of men considering TRT are really concerned about hair loss. Many men feel too embarrassed to ask about hair loss but it’s something on a lot of people’s minds.
Men on TRT are at risk of experiencing hair loss, however it’s important to remember that this will not happen to everybody. We find that hair loss tends to occur in men who are genetically prone to androgenic alopecia – also known as male-pattern baldness. Male-pattern baldness is caused by a genetic sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of testosterone.
At the clinic we take a preventative approach. We discuss hair loss (and any other concerns you may have) before you begin treatment, and can counter this side effect with a combination of prescription medication and supplements to either stop hair loss and/or stimulate hair growth.
There’s no need to worry – gynaecomastia, also referred to as ‘man boobs’ is a side effect that we rarely see with testosterone replacement treatment. However, it is worth bearing in mind that some men are more genetically predisposed. If this is a concern of yours we will discuss this and the best way of dealing with it.
What causes ‘man boobs’? Gynaecomastia is usually caused by an imbalance of the sex hormones, in particular testosterone and oestrogen. In women, oestrogen causes the growth of breasts. Men also have oestrogen but in much smaller quantities. When oestrogen levels are too high in men, this can lead to the growth of breast tissue.
Occasionally we may see a patient who is very efficient at converting testosterone into oestrogen, and as a result has grown man boobs, but usually if a man has too much oestrogen, we find it is the result of insulin resistance. Gynaecomastia can also be caused by an accumulation of fat as a result of obesity.
When we assess your hormones prior to testosterone replacement therapy, we analyse all your hormones, not just testosterone. This allows us to determine if any other hormones (including oestrogen) are depleted or unbalanced and need addressing.
Many men ask us about the difference between TRT and steroids. Technically, yes, testosterone is a steroid. But hold your horses, there’s no need to panic. Let’s clear this up.
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid that occurs naturally in the body. Yes, that’s right, you already have an anabolic steroid in your body to begin with. Many men think that the testosterone used for TRT is the same as the steroids abused by some bodybuilders, gym users and competitive athletes, but there is a very clear difference.
The steroids that are associated with steroid abuse are used in much higher doses than the body naturally needs, and are usually synthetic hormones in which the make-up is different to those the body naturally produces. But with TRT, we replenish and optimise testosterone levels only to your own individual optimal levels using bioidentical hormones that are identical to those produced in your own body.
Will you be on TRT for life? There is no hard and fast rule – it is completely your own choice. We understand that cost is a factor for some, but many men choose to remain on TRT because their quality of life improves so much that they can’t imagine going back.
The benefits of TRT extend far beyond the obvious like better sex drive, muscle mass, and energy. Testosterone has many important functions in the body and can influence bone strength (less risk of osteoporosis), brain health (mood, cognitive function, ability to handle stress), and cardiovascular health.
If you start TRT and at any point decide to stop, we will help you to do so gradually. It can take time for your natural testosterone levels to return and so we can give you HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), which stimulates the testes to help you reboot your natural testosterone. Your body will eventually return to its natural levels of testosterone.
Dr Harpal Bains says: “Whatever happens, even if you stop treatment, you will be better off health-wise overall, compared to someone of your age who hasn’t been on TRT. My patients usually tell me that they feel like TRT has considerably slowed the ageing process. Ultimately, the longer you’re on TRT, the longer you delay the effects of ageing.”
Learn more about TRT by reading our associated content:
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Benefits of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy)
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) – Everything You Need To Know
Does Low Testosterone Impact Your Baby-Making Abilities?
Testosterone Series Part 1 – an Overview for Both Men and Women
Testosterone Series Part 2. Testosterone, Muscle Mass and Fat
Testosterone Series Part 3. Libido and Sexual Dysfunction
Testosterone Series Part 4. Let’s Talk About Nebido, Sustanon and Enantate