While traditionally considered a “male” hormone, testosterone is also crucial to the female body. Testosterone is a sex hormone produced in the adrenal glands in women. It boosts strength, appetite, well-being, sex drive, and mental acuity. Like estrogen and progesterone, testosterone fluctuates in relation to other hormones.
Testosterone plays a number of roles in the body, including:
- Maintaining muscle mass
- Strengthening bones
- Increasing libido
- Increasing energy
- Supporting cognitive function
When testosterone levels decrease, emotional changes, lethargy, and decreased libido may result. Many women turn to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to address these and other unpleasant symptoms triggered by hormonal fluctuations.
Traditional HRT combines progesterone and estrogen; recently, however, doctors have begun including testosterone as part as the combination. Despite this, stand-alone testosterone is almost never prescribed for women. Read on for more information on testosterone replacement therapy.
What Is Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Testosterone replacement therapy introduces testosterone into the body and helps reduce bothersome symptoms. It can be administered through pills, gels, injections, patches, tablets, or lozenges.
Doctors typically do not prescribe testosterone pills, as they can trigger liver toxicity and can also reduce levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol). Bioidentical testosterone, which is similar to what the body produces naturally, can be administered in transdermal forms such as gels, creams, and patches, or in sublingual drops and tablets.
Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy
Synthetic testosterone can cause side effects, some of which are listed below:
- Increased levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Unexplained fatigue
- Mood changes
- Fluid retention
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is thought to be a gentler alternative to testosterone. In the long run, it leads to a more efficient production of testosterone and may not produce as many side effects as testosterone replacement therapy itself.
Now that testosterone replacement therapy has been explored, continue reading to understand the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy.