Low testosterone or hypogonadism can only be medically diagnosed by a licensed physician. Testosterone levels can be affected by a number of different factors from congenital, injury, or acquired. If you have concerns you should set up an appointment with your healthcare professional right away. Low testosterone is diagnosed after repeated blood tests that show low serum testosterone numbers. There are a number of different treatments available to men who qualify. Each treatment must be physician prescribed and monitored.
Testosterone replacement therapy can come in many different forms. Patients and physicians work together to develop the best treatment plan for their needs. Testosterone replacement therapy methods consist of injection, topical gel, patch, implantable pellet, or buccal cavity. Each method has its own list of risks vs. benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is not advised to take testosterone replacement therapy orally for a long period of time. Long term use can put strain on the liver which can lead to liver problems.
The most common low testosterone treatments are injection, patch, or topical gel. Testosterone injections have been around the longest and are commonly used due to efficacy and because it is the most cost effective treatment available. If you choose to go the injection route, be prepared to head into your physicians office every few weeks to receive an injection. The topical patch is widely used because it disperses uniform amounts of testosterone into the blood over a period of time. The patch can cause irritation to the skin if applied to the same area multiple time. Topical gels are the other most common form of testosterone replacement therapy. These gels should be applied to clean, unbroken skin or the abdomen, upper arms, or shoulders. Some patients have low absorption rates, and in these cases a different therapy is recommended.
Be sure to sit down with your physician to come up with a testosterone replacement therapy plan. You should know the risks of all therapy forms so that you can choose the one that is right for you.