HIGHLIGHTS

Open
Grocery Coupons

Grocery Coupons

Members can print free savings coupons

Brain Health Center

Brain Health Center

Learn how to live smart and stay sharp

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Members save on e-
readers and tablets

Caring for loved ones?

Caring for loved ones?

Find the resources you need

HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by healthline

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men

You may consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to be a women's-only concern, but it's not. Men's testosterone levels peak in their late teens, and begin a gradual but steady decline of about 1 percent a year around age 30 (Mayo Clinic, 2012).

Because testosterone is required for proper male sexual development and reproductive function—as well as muscle bulk, red blood cell level, and bone density—many men worry about the natural decline of this hormone produced by the testicles. Yet medical experts disagree about the significance of this decline, and whether the health benefits of HRT outweigh the risks.

Do I Need HRT?

If testosterone levels decline naturally with age, do men need HRT? This has been a difficult question for researchers to answer. Not many studies have observed the effects of testosterone therapy in men with healthy levels of the hormone—and studies that have were smaller and yielded unclear results.

HRT can help symptoms of low testosterone in men who suffer from a disease called hypogonadism (Mayo Clinic, 2012). This is a dysfunction of the testicles that results in the body being unable to produce the right amount of testosterone. But what's less certain is whether testosterone therapy can benefit healthy men whose testosterone decline is simply due to aging.

What Type of HRT Are Available?

If your doctor suggests that you need testosterone therapy due to hypogonadism, there are a number of options available, for example:

  • Testosterone replacement can be given through muscular injections every two to three weeks.
  • Daily testosterone patches worn on the body may be rotated between the back, arms, buttocks, or abdomen.
  • Testosterone gels can be applied topically to the shoulders, arms, or abdomen.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, no pills (oral medications) are available on the U.S. market that can provide men with a sufficient level of testosterone replacement (Cleveland Clinic, 2009).

What Are the Risks of HRT?

Side effects are a primary drawback of using HRT. While some of the side effects associated with HRT are relatively minor, others are more serious.

Potential minor side effects of HRT include:

  • fluid retention
  • increased urination

More serious potential side effects include:

  • breast enlargement
  • decreased testicle size
  • worsening of sleep apnea in patients who have this sleep disorder
  • changes in the amount of cholesterol in your body
  • increases in your red cell count
  • decrease in sperm count

Additionally, HRT can cause prostate growth in men, which could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer if an early stage of the disease is already present. The Cleveland Clinic thus recommends avoiding testosterone replacement therapy if you have prostate cancer (Cleveland Clinic, 2009).

Weigh Your Choice

Harvard Medical School (HMS) notes that although an increasing number of men in the United States have started HRT to try to reverse the natural age-related decline of testosterone, it may not be the wisest choice (HMS, 2004).

Safer alternatives to fight aging include exercising to build muscle mass and walking to keep your heart strong. If in doubt about whether you need testosterone therapy, talk to you doctor first before jumping to conclusions.


Content licensed from:

Written by: The Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed : George Krucik, MD, MBA

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
AARP Driver Safety

 

Discounts & Benefits

AARP FIGHTS FOR YOU
ADVOCACY & PROGRAMS

tax form

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

Find a free Tax-Aide location
near you.

AARP In Your Corner

Visit Black Community, Español  and Asian Community pages.

AARP Drivers Safety logo

Driver Safety Program

Register at a location near you to keep your driving skills sharp. 

Create The Good 

Find opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood. 

AARP Drive to End Hunger logo

Drive to End Hunger

NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon teams up with AARP's Foundation. 

 

Green Dot Prepaid Card

Prepaid MasterCard

AARP Foundation Prepaid MasterCard brought to you by Green Dot.

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Commented