How Can Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) Help Aging Men?
January 30, 2020
Testosterone is a hormone that is important for the male body. It regulates sex drive, maintains bone mass, and helps facilitate the production of red blood cells. As men age, levels of testosterone decline. Between the ages of 30 and 40, testosterone levels in men can start to decrease by as much as one percent every year. When men reach the age of 50, testosterone levels can get very low (referred to as hypogonadism or low-t), triggering a wide range of symptoms, including erectile dysfunction and fatigue.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a type of hormone replacement therapy that aims to increase testosterone levels in the body and treat symptoms of low-t in men. TRT can be administered in many forms, including injections, skin patches, or even as a pill. How can TRT help men who are losing testosterone due to aging?
Treating Mood Disorders
Studies have shown that men with lower levels of testosterone are more likely to develop depression compared to men with higher testosterone levels. An analysis of 27 research studies that, in total, included more than 1,800 men shows that testosterone treatments can help reduce depressive symptoms in men. A separate study discovered that testosterone increases the number of proteins that transport serotonin throughout the brain. Serotonin is an important chemical in the body that helps regulate mood, and low serotonin levels have been linked to depression.
Recovering Bone and Muscle Mass
Men with low-t are more likely to gain weight, which can lead to serious health conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. In addition to weight gain, low-t can also cause men to lose muscle and bone mass, increasing their risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
A recent study shows that testosterone therapy can help men 65 years and older increase bone mass and bone strength after one year of treatment with testosterone gel. The results of this study give researchers hope that testosterone may also be able to reduce the risk of fractures, but long-term studies and more research are needed to determine this.
Improving Memory and Cognitive Function
Low testosterone levels are associated with impaired memory. One study compared the working memory ability of men with normal testosterone levels and men with extremely low testosterone levels (caused by testosterone deprivation therapy (TDT) for the treatment of prostate cancer). Men who had undergone TDT experienced memory loss at a faster rate than men with normal testosterone levels.
Testosterone therapy has been found to help improve spatial memory (orientation) and verbal memory (remembering words and information that are said out loud) in men with low testosterone. The amount of testosterone administered to patients may play a role in testosterone’s ability to improve memory.
Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy Right for You?
Testosterone treatment offers both benefits and risks to men. If you’re interested in learning more about testosterone therapy and whether it is right for you, talk to your doctor. Signs and symptoms of aging may occur for reasons other than low testosterone. Your doctor will test your testosterone levels to determine if you may be a candidate for TRT.