Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for various functions in males. For instance, the formation of male characteristics, muscle formation, red blood cell formation, increase of sex drive as well as the formation of sperm cells in the testis. This hormone is also present in women and is also responsible for sexual organ function and increase of libido.

A lack of this hormone causes undesired effects such as infertility, low muscle mass, fatigue, low sexual energy, and an absence of male characteristics. In such cases, a medical professional may recommend hormone replacement therapy. However, male infertility caused by a low sperm count may not be treated using this method as it is believed to cause a decrease in sperm cells instead. The therapy is also not prescribed for men with low testosterone brought about by aging.

Other cases that may require hormone replacement therapy are seen in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.  A recent study, as seen in NCBI has shown that it is still as effective as it was and recommends that the hormone should still be considered during breast cancer hormonal treatment.

In the study, the hormone was used in 52 patients with metastatic breast cancer, and regression was seen in 9 patients while a stabilization was seen in 22 patients.

What is testosterone injection?

testosterone replacement therapy injection

The testosterone injection is usually recommended for hypogonadism in men, which is basically a lack of testosterone caused when the testes are not producing the hormone. The injection comes in a chemical form referred to as testosterone cypionate or testosterone enanthate and usually occurs in two strengths, 100mg/mL and 200mg/mL. It is administered by injecting it deep into a muscle preferably the gluteus maximus or buttock area. Dosages and frequency of administration are defined by a health care professional.

How long before the effects of the injection are felt?

The effects of the testosterone injection are usually felt starting from about 3 weeks. This is according to a study on NCBI.

Effects on sexual functionality occur after three weeks, particularly the occurrence of morning erections. The ejaculations and sex drive increase after two weeks of usage. However, the full effects on these functions are felt after a period of 3 to 6 months. Effects of the hormone on bone density and mineral composition have been observed to occur from 6 to 36 months, but no effect is observed after 36 months.

Changes on muscles are normally seen after 16 weeks, especially in lower muscles, and this increases strength in legs and thighs. Body fat is normally seen to decrease, especially the serum lipids, as early as four weeks and the changes can occur gradually up to 9 months.

 A change in sensitivity to insulin will occur after a couple of days. However, for persons with a dysfunction in glucose tolerance, a blood glucose reduction was seen after three months. A decrease in the depressive state was seen after three weeks, and an increase in general motivation was seen to occur after 30 days of testosterone use.

With male hypogonadism, it is normally advised to give a period of 12 to 30 weeks with advice on the symptoms to expect, especially because it may cause pubertal symptoms.

What are the adverse effects?

Like any other drug, synthetic testosterone can have major side effects after administration. Some people consider using this hormone to enhance muscle building without having any medical advice. Tempting as it may be to reach for the hormone, it is important to consider some of the effects. Here are some of them:

Heart problems

Due to the fact that testosterone causes an increase in red blood cells in the body, it has been seen to, in turn, increase the workload on the heart for pumping blood. This, therefore, is believed to increase the risk of cardiac arrests as well as a person developing serious heart complications. This is especially true if the hormone has to be used over a prolonged period of time.

Muscular function

muscles and testosterone

Although testosterone has been the hormone of choice when it comes to muscle building. Studies have shown an increase in mass, strength, and formation, does not necessarily mean an increase in the functionality of the muscles.

Testicular atrophy

When a normal person with low levels of testosterone or a person seeking to build muscle decides to start supplementing with the hormone’s synthetic form, they may experience a shrinkage of the testicles. This is because, inside the testicles, there are cells called Leydig cells which are responsible for the production of testosterone. When one uses the synthetic form, it renders the cells inactive hence leading to the deterioration of these cells together with the cells that form sperm cells.

Male infertility

The prolonged use of testosterone does cause infertility in males. This is because once the cells that produce the sperm have been reduced, the number of sperms in the semen is also reduced. This greatly reduces the chances of conception. Unfortunately, this form of infertility is very difficult to reverse as the size of the testicles may not go back to normal even after the use of the synthetic hormone has stopped.

There are instances where the use of testosterone replacement therapy is discouraged. This is especially in expectant mothers, people whose low testosterone is caused by age and also for those men who are trying to conceive. Natural methods to increase the hormone are recommended instead.

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