How Is Your Health?

4 Questions To Ask Before Starting Testosterone Therapy

by Camila Davidson

If you've recently been diagnosed with low testosterone, your doctor may recommend testosterone therapy. This form of male hormone replacement therapy can improve your testosterone levels, which in turn can alleviate symptoms commonly associated with low testosterone. This can include fatigue, depression, low sex drive, and even hair loss.

Before you begin any kind of hormone replacement therapy, though, there are some questions worth asking your doctor. 

How Will You Administer Testosterone?

There are several ways that testosterone therapy can be administered, so you'll want to understand your doctor's game plan and reasoning. In-office injections are among the most common ways of administering testosterone, and many doctors will recommend this route because it is one of the most effective ways to deliver the hormone. However, this will also mean going to your doctor's office once every couple of weeks (in most cases) for a shot. Alternatives, such as testosterone gels or patches, are less invasive/disruptive and may be suited for some patients.

What Side Effects Should I Expect?

Any hormone replacement therapy is going to have potential side effects on the body, so you'll want to talk to your doctor about what to expect. While your doctor will not be able to say with certainty which side effects may impact you, they should be able to provide you with a detailed list of possible side effects and speak with you about some of the more common ones. 

Some of the more common side effects of testosterone therapy, for example, can include:

  • acne
  • fluid retention
  • increased risk for blood clots

How Will You Monitor My Treatment?

You'll also want to understand your doctor's game plan for monitoring the results of your treatment. For example, how long should it take for you to begin noticing an improvement in your low testosterone symptoms? How often will your hormone levels be checked, and how? In most cases, regular blood work will need to be taken in order to monitor the progress of your treatment and make adjustments as needed.

What Steps Do I Need to Take?

Your doctor may also recommend that you make certain lifestyle changes to improve the outcome of your treatment. This might include changing your diet, quitting smoking, or cutting back on alcohol use. Your doctor may also recommend increasing your daily exercise. Make sure you know exactly what is expected of you so you can make the most of your testosterone therapy treatment.

By asking the right questions, you'll have a better idea of what to expect going into your hormone replacement therapy. From there, you can optimize the results of your treatment.