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Testosterone levels have reached a population-wide all-time low with studies revealing that men of today have substantially lower testosterone levels than their fathers and grandfathers. The cause rests primarily with a combination of environmental factors such as pollution, dietary complications such as increased soy, and lifestyle choices such as smoking.
A blood test is the most reliable way to determine whether your testosterone levels are lower than normal. If your testosterone levels are too low and you’re an older man, your doctor may suggest testosterone injections. Known as testosterone replacement therapy, these testosterone shots can help to increase testosterone levels, but the potential benefits may come at a cost.
Testosterone is a sex hormone that is found in both men and women, but it is far more prevalent in men. Testosterone is required in promoting androgenic changes such as a deep voice and sex organ development during puberty, but it remains an essential part of everyday health. If you have consistently low levels of testosterone, you may be at risk for the following:
Poor Bone Health: Testosterone plays a key role in promoting bone development, but it also maintains the strength and integrity of bones well into old age. Low levels of testosterone have been shown to kickstart the development of osteoporosis, a disease that promotes weak and brittle bones.
Higher Injury Risk: Continuing with the point above, weak and brittle bones place you at a higher risk of injury from things you may take for granted now such as a simple fall.
Cardiovascular Disease: One study found that low testosterone levels were a key indicator of the development of cardiovascular disease – an umbrella term for health problems related to the heart – and early death.
Depression: While researchers still aren’t completely sure of the link between depression and low testosterone, the studies are clear: having low t-levels is almost certainly going to contribute to depression. In multiple studies, men with low testosterone levels also reported varying degrees of depression, mood swings, and anxiety.
Weight Gain and Cardiovascular Issues: Testosterone is a fat-burning and muscle-building hormone. It plays a key role in the development and maintenance of lean muscle tissue while increasing your metabolic rate for fat burning. Studies show that men with low testosterone levels also tend to see increases in fat-based weight and a loss of muscle tissue.
Wondering if you have low testosterone? Here are some symptoms of low testosterone:
If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms consistently, get to your doctor right away to schedule a blood test.
Testosterone shots for men may counteract the effects of low testosterone while preventing further health issues. Injectable testosterone is convenient as you will only need a shot once every two to three weeks, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. When you begin treatment, you will need to visit your doctor to get the shots because your condition needs to be monitored and the dose may need to be adjusted.
If other options have been exhausted, or if your doctor is concerned about how low your testosterone levels are, studies suggest that testosterone shots may provide the following benefits:
Fitness: Men taking testosterone injections report an increase in physical energy within the first week. Over time, there can be an increase in muscle size and definition with decreased overall body fat.
Mood: Many men also report feeling better and more like themselves. The improved mood is a result of an increase in serotonin from the testosterone shots. Overall, many men say they feel happier and more positive.
Sex Life: The biggest boost in confidence comes in the bedroom as an increase in testosterone is almost universally linked to increased sex drive and a decrease in erectile dysfunction symptoms. Infertile men have been shown to have increased sperm count after injectable testosterone.
The benefits sound great, but the side effects of testosterone shots may outweigh them. Common testosterone injections side effects include the following:
While these side effects are to be expected and usually go away on their own, testosterone injections can also produce serious side effects that require immediate medical assistance including:
Long-term usage of injectable testosterone can promote a few life-threatening conditions for men:
Prostate Health: For men with prostate issues such as an enlarged prostate or tumors, testosterone shots can exacerbate the condition.
Liver Health: Your liver is the site where medications are processed and filtered. The strain on the liver from injectable testosterone can lead to complications down the road.
Cardiovascular Health: Ironically, while low levels of testosterone are associated with cardiovascular disease, taking injectable testosterone can lead to a buildup of plaque, which causes heart problems.
If you are seriously considering testosterone injections, or if your doctor is ready to place you on a treatment plan, you might be wondering what to expect. Here’s the breakdown of what commonly happens during one year of testosterone shots:
After your first testosterone injection, the biggest difference in your body will be your insulin sensitivity. You may find that your energy levels increase and your mood may improve slightly, but the latter could be the placebo effect.
Many men report that the biggest difference in how they feel takes place in the bedroom after one month of testosterone shots. It’s expected that you’ll have a higher sex drive with more interest in sexual intercourse. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction usually dramatically decrease.
Other things to notice are mood and energy. Many men report feeling more social and energetic, making it easier to follow their doctor’s orders of exercise. Mental energy also gets a boost with a noticeable difference in attention and memory.
If you have any of the common side effects that we discussed above, this is when they will reduce significantly or disappear altogether as your doctor would have adjusted the dose to match your needs by this point.
Older guys will often report that they feel like their younger selves after two months of injectable testosterone. Serotonin levels have increased and an overall sense of satisfaction and happiness is to be expected. Men struggling with depression will have a much-improved condition thanks to a cumulative effect of more confidence, better sex life, and increased physical energy.
Assuming you’ve been following the requirements for exercise, you’ll start to notice a big difference between the second and fourth months of testosterone shots. Muscle mass will increase while body fat will decrease. Cholesterol levels should stabilize and insulin sensitivity will remain strong. If you had cardiovascular issues before taking the shots, there’s a good chance you’ll see an improvement in blood pressure.
Your overall physical health should be at its peak along with your sex life and mental health. At this point, you and your doctor have worked out all of the kinks and placed you on the ideal dosage of testosterone. During this time, your bone health has been getting significantly stronger although you may not notice it until you try a high-impact exercise such as CrossFit.
Your doctor will schedule a six-month checkup to ensure everything is going smoothly, but also to ensure your prostate has not swelled and you have not developed plaque in your arteries.
Results may vary, but here’s a general checklist of the things most men notice after taking testosterone shots for one year:
Testosterone injections cost will vary based on a number of factors including health insurance, the brand that your doctor recommends, and the number of injections that you need per month. With insurance, you may spend as little as $10 to $20 per month on injections. An out-of-pocket cost can be as little as $60. It’s important to speak with your doctor and insurance for an exact price.
Before you jump into using testosterone shots, it’s important to consider other proven methods of naturally increasing your testosterone. In fact, there’s an excellent chance that your doctor will recommend changing the following three things before he or she will prescribe you a testosterone injection:
Diet: If you’re eating a diet that is packed with processed ingredients, soy, and sugar, you are actively promoting the decrease of your t-levels. Focus on a natural and whole food-based diet has been shown to promote healthy levels of testosterone.
Exercise: A sedentary lifestyle is another way that you could be sabotaging your testosterone levels. Walking or simply being physically active for 30 minutes per day is a good start, but the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week. This can be in the form of weightlifting, fitness classes, jogging, etc.
Supplements: You can use supplements to complement a comprehensive diet and exercise program. Ingredients such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D have all been shown to naturally support testosterone levels. TestoGen contains these three proven test boosters as well as several more research-based ingredients.
Despite their benefits, testosterone injections do carry a degree of risk. We would recommend trying natural alternatives such as improving your diet and exercising more before trying injectable testosterone. If you’ve changed your lifestyle, but you still have symptoms of low testosterone, speak with your doctor for an appropriate treatment course.
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