If you have been diagnosed with low testosterone, you are probably happy to have an explanation for why you've been feeling so tired, weak, and irritable lately. Thankfully, testosterone replacement therapy has come a long way in recent years. Physicians are prescribing natural testosterone that mimics the testosterone your body makes on its own. There are also several delivery methods you can choose from.
1. Skin Patches
One option is to use transdermal patches. These patches are sticky on one side. You stick the patch to your skin, often on your thigh or upper arm, and leave the patch in place for a day. Testosterone slowly leeches out of the patch, through your skin, and into your bloodstream. Using a skin patch gives you quite a bit of control over the testosterone delivery. You end up with a very even flow of testosterone into your bloodstream since you change the patch daily. However, some people do find changing the patch to be a hassle, and in rare cases, it can cause itching and blistering.
Another option is to use a testosterone gel, which you rub onto your skin once a day. You don't have to worry about anyone seeing the gel as you would with a patch. However, there is still the risk of irritation. And some patients notice that the effects of the testosterone wear off before they are due for the next dose since the gel is only applied once daily.
If you do not like the idea of having to apply gel or patches on a daily basis, then you may wish to have testosterone injections give in your doctor's office. These injections last several months. The testosterone is injected into your muscle and slowly finds its way into your bloodstream, a little at a time. The downfall of this approach is that if you have unwanted side effects, they linger for a while since the injection lasts so long.
Another option is to have a testosterone implant placed in your upper arm. It will slowly give off hormones over a period of a few months. Implants tend to deliver a more even flow of testosterone than injections. However, some patients are bothered by the bump of the implant under the skin; it's about the size of a grain of rice.
Which testosterone replacement therapy is right for you? Talk to your doctor to learn more.