TRT, or testosterone replacement therapy, differs from anabolic steroids in the amount of testosterone used. TRT aims at treating the symptoms of low testosterone, whereas anabolic steroids contain testosterone in much higher doses to achieve bodybuilding effects quickly and easily. Some anabolic steroids may contain additional ingredients that may damage the liver and kidneys.
So while it’s true that testosterone and anabolic steroids contain similar chemical compounds, what distinguishes TRT from steroids are the doses, indications, and risks.
Some athletes and bodybuilders use anabolic steroids illegally and without medical supervision. These anabolic steroids may contain testosterone or chemicals that act like testosterone. TRT contains only testosterone that is given under medical supervision in doses that are regulated and approved.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily by the testicles and plays a role in the following:
- Bone density
- Fat distribution
- Muscle mass
- Muscle strength
- Facial and body hair
- Sexual performance
- Sperm production
What does TRT do?
In some cases, TRT is also used to improve signs and symptoms of hypogonadism, which is a problem in the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles, resulting in low production of testosterone.
Low testosterone levels can cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Decreased sexual desire
- Reduction in spontaneous erections
- Increased body fat
- Reduced muscle bulk and strength
- Decreased bone density
- Gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)
- Loss of body hair
- Low energy
- Lack of motivation or self-confidence
- Feeling depressed
- Trouble concentrating
TRT is available in various forms, including:
Although some men have reported experiencing an increase in energy and vitality when taking testosterone medications, there is little evidence to support TRT use in men who are otherwise healthy.
Are there any risks with TRT?
Testosterone replacement therapy may not be suitable for everyone. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and measure your testosterone levels to rule out other causes such as thyroid problems, depression, or diabetes.
TRT can result in side effects such as:
- Worsening of sleep apnea
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; noncancerous enlargement of the prostate)
- Increased growth of prostate tumor
- Gynecomastia (enlarging breasts)
- Decrease in sperm
- Shrinking of the testicles
- Increased risk of blood clots that may lead to pulmonary embolism (a life-threatening condition)
- Worsening of congestive heart failure
Is TRT right for you?
If you think your low testosterone level may be causing a decrease in libido, talk with your doctor about whether TRT is right for you. They can explain the possible risks and benefits of TRT.
TRT is not designed to treat normal signs of aging in men. If a decrease in libido or muscle strength is not due to any underlying medical conditions, your doctor may suggest other ways to improve symptoms, such as weight loss or resistance training exercises.
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Is testosterone therapy safe? Take a breath before you take the plunge. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/is-testosterone-therapy-safe-take-a-breath-before-you-take-the-plunge
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