Updated: Aug 28
If you have been diagnosed with low testosterone, you may benefit from testosterone replacement therapy. At Reform ABQ, our preferred method of testosterone replacement is through intramuscular injections over pellets or topical gels/creams. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment below as well as the potential side effects associated with testosterone replacement therapy.
What are the risks?
The potential side effects associated with testosterone replacement therapy include:
· Increased red blood cell production
· Fluid retention
· Acne/oily skin
· Smaller testicle size
· Reduced sperm count
· Increased facial or body hair growth
· Increased estrogen levels
When carefully monitored by a qualified healthcare professional many of the side effects can be corrected early and even prevented.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Topical Replacement
Topical forms of testosterone such as gels, creams, and/or patches are convenient and are easy to apply. Gels and creams do come with the disadvantage of being messy to apply and can be transferred to other household members through physical contact. The other disadvantage to topical applications is absorption rates vary greatly due to seasonal factors as well metabolic factors making dosing and adjustments difficult.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Pellets
Pellets are another option for testosterone replacement and are becoming an increasingly more common choice of hormone treatment. Testosterone replacement pellets are about the size of a grain of rice, they contain crystallized testosterone which delivers a controlled dose of testosterone over 90 days, and they are absorbed by the body. One of the most appealing aspects is the duration in which they last and less frequent trips to the provider office. The disadvantage to pellets is the need for a small incision to be made, which is typically in the hip, and since this is a surgical procedure, and like any other surgical procedure there is a risk for infection. Two other common risks associated with testosterone pellets are the possible dislodgment of the pellets through the skin, and incorrect dosing; dose adjustments can be a little more difficult with pellets.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Injectable Testosterone
Injectable testosterone is one of the most common, and oldest forms of testosterone replacement therapy. Dosing is based on baseline testosterone levels, underlying health conditions, weight, and height. Providers typically use testosterone ethanoate or testosterone cypionate. Reform ABQ utilizes testosterone cypionate due to its longer duration of action. Two of the advantages of testosterone injections are the ability to adjust dosing in a short period, and the injection itself is relatively painless. However, injections do carry the same risk as pellets, injection site infection. Studies have shown that testosterone injections do cause greater fluctuations in estrogen levels, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels, but with careful monitoring, the risks associated with the dosing are minimized, and possibly avoidable.
Why We Use Injections Over Pellets?
Reform ABQ utilizes testosterone injections because they have been proven clinically effective, they allow us to provide you with a bioidentical hormone that mimics your body’s natural testosterone and allows for more control over medication dosing, which will limit the adverse side effects associated with testosterone replacement therapy. At each appointment, you can discuss any concerns associated with your dose and adjustments can be made that day.
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of low testosterone or have been diagnosed with low testosterone contact our office for a consultation.
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