HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for Men

July 12th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Hormone replacement thereapy is becoming more and more common with men in the last few years. It is also a controversial topic in the medical community.

What is HRT for men?

HRT on men is simply replacing a deficiency in testosterone levels, in order to get them back into the "normal" range. There is legitimate reasons why a man would need to do it. Sometimes low levels can be caused by an injury. Men's testosterone levels also decline with age. As a man's testosterone levels wane, it has a term called andropause. Unlike menopause, andropause is slow and steady decline over many years. Diet, excercise and lifestyle can help comabat against this decline in your natural testosterone levels. It is estimated 20% of men over 60 have below the low normal range of testosterone.

Benefits of HRT Therapy:

HRT therapy is very beneficial in many things. Increasing testosterone levels back to normal has the following effects: normalize his energy, better sense of well being, increase libido, improve sleep, treat erectile dysfunction, increased lean mass, reduced fat, improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk against osteoporosis, and help combat depression. The lowering of visceral fat from HRT therapy leads to lower risk of chronic ailments associated with visceral fat. HRT also seems to help many men with low testosterone shrink their prostate. I and many others believe that one cause of prostate growth might be low testosterone and high estrogen ratio, so taking HRT to maintain healthy testosterone levels

Controversy with HRT for men:

Many doctors are cautious about giving testosterone replacement therapy to patients for fear of the possible health side effects of the heart and prostate. There is a belief that testosterone therapy might increase the risk of BPH (benign prostate hypertrophy) and Prostate cancer. Although there are questions to the validity of those risks, bodybuilders also use HRT as a legal way to get steroids, and together this has led doctors being cautious about giving testosterone therapy.

In January 2004 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggested caution before administering HRT therapy for men. A significant percentage of middle aged men may have "dormant" prostate cancer in it's early stages. Prostate cancer is often slow growing and asymptomatic. Most men will eventually develop prostate cancer, if they were to live into their 70's and 80's. NEJM wrote in the article, that supplementing with testosterone, may cause these "hidden" cases of prostate cancer to develop into a more aggressive (clinically significant) cancer. This is why doctors check your PSA (prostate specific antigen) before administering a person to a HRT program. It allows them to assess prostate cancer risk.

This theory between testosterone levels and BPH and Prostate Cancer is highly questionable. I recently wrote a very in depth article on this blog about steroid use(testosterone is a steroid too) and the issues of prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia(BPH) here. It will help give a better understanding of hormonal interactions of steroids and HRT on prostate health.

Permanent infertility is one side effect of HRT therapy that will effect all men. You will permanently lose your ability to produce testosterone naturally, once you stay on HRT for an extended period. This is because your testicles stop producing their own testosterone.

Application of HRT therapy:

HRT can be administered in injection, transdermal, implant, and oral form. Some doctors allow patients to inject themselves at home. Testosterone injections are not the best method for trying to mimic natural test production. The injections give a high dose immediately after injection, which then declines steadily over the next 2 or 3 weeks.

  1. Ed on April 12th, 2008

    40 Years old, need some info on this treatment.

  2. admin on April 14th, 2008

    40 years old might be a little too young I think to be worried about the possibility of HRT, unless you have always had some sort of low testosterone problems for years.

  3. Ana on June 18th, 2008

    My 36 year old friend is taking HRT, but I have worried that he may be taking it as a legal way to feed a steroid addiction. Could this be possible? He claims that he injects himself at home, but one occasion, he mentioned that he was going to the doctor for his HRT. Could he be abusing steroids?

  4. admin on June 19th, 2008

    It’s possible, I don’t know. He may not even be getting it from the doctor either.

  5. Jeff on October 16th, 2008

    32 years old need some info and help.

  6. Jeff on October 16th, 2008

    My 36 year old friend is taking HRT, but I have worried that he may be taking it as a legal way to feed a steroid addiction. Could this be possible? He claims that he injects himself at home, but one occasion, he mentioned that he was going to the doctor for his HRT. Could he be abusing steroids?

    Are you kidding…even if he mentions hrt ..he on
    it…you don’t joke about hrt if your not on it ..even if you take steroids…there are so many easier ways so get a hold of AAS and make up eexcuses for the results of AAS.

  7. Bill on January 19th, 2009

    I have had testicular cancer and my testosterone count is below normal-208. If I start taking androgel and raise my count into the normal range will my remaining testicle lose all ability to make testosterone and I will have to be on HRT the rest of my life.

  8. Kevin on September 24th, 2009

    Your remaining testicle is not doing an adequate job. Which is worse: suffering the effects of low testosterone for the rest of your life or bringing your testosterone levels into the normal range and feeling like yourself again for the rest of your life?

  9. jc morris on October 6th, 2009

    i am an veteran marine. i used to stay fit as i possibly could up until i turned 50. my doctor has put me on testosterone therapy. i receive 2 physicals a year. 1 from my family doctor which is free from my insurance, and one thur the va. i have a disability rating for traumatic arthritis, i was a grunt while i was in walked a lot of mile . with a pack and mortar gear. i have been suffering some problems with my knees and back.I am now 52.I think i have 1 or 2 choices i can keep taking pain meds and anti inflammatories and just exist, make it thur the work day. I am looking for a way to get my self back into an exercise program. i think i would rather deal with a little pain and keep my self fit as possible. i don,t smoke or use drugs, if you ask me if i don,t drink, i would be lying to say no . love to have a beer.what can i say i am an marine. but i dont drink hard stuff.i have been on the testosterone gel for about 5 years.MY va doctor said i should look into my thyroid with my blood test from the va. my question to you would steriods hurt me? not corti-roids..that is what they seem to want to give me for my knee flair ups. i had compleate mcl repair while in Okinawa,and over the years since 1980, i have lost most my cartilage in my right knee.Im tough enuf to hang in there, as far as work goes.I been thinking about using steroids to enhance my performance and at lead get my strength up, with out hurting, or tearing something when ever i try to go back to the gym..i.e. last year compleate tear of rotor cuff. the doctor did a great job of repair. i tore it trying to do bench press.I am 52 i don,t want knee replacement.. i want some help in getting back to the gym.cardio is almost impossible with the shape of my knees.but i can try to keep the muscle and ligament as strong as possible.given this information do you have any suggestions?? I feel like i am wasting away,I don,t think anything would shorten my life , but i do know my hormone balance is way out of my thinking wrong? I just want to be productive until i retire, then worry about joint replacements..thank you ..jc morris

  10. RJ45 on January 20th, 2010

    Ok well there are quite a few seperate issues here. First off your lifting with the wrong technique on your bench. Your arms should be at 45 degree at the lowest point not 90. If that doesn’t make sense google it.

    Secondly a blood test is easy to determine if you really need HRT.

    Thirdly, steroid benefits often outweight the risk IMHO. I think of it like smoking, but only a lot of the side effects are great! Permanent side effects (other than hair loss) are not going to hit you in like one year or two unless you are abusing or don’t know what your doing.

    Finally, Deca might clear up your joints.

  11. Testo4Life on December 22nd, 2010

    I think anything under 600 ng/dl should be treated to be honest. I suffered a groin injury and spent a year seeking help, all i got was c****s. But nowadays im self injecting testo enanathe 250 mg/ml once a week and can work normally. I also dream about s** again. There is no evidence that you permanently shut down your own production, it will go back to the base line once you stop taking testosterone. Also there is HCG you could take subcutanous while on testosterone to mimic LH and keep your balls operating. There is new studies that shows testosterone is not strongly linked to prostate cancer, there is even studies suggesting to low testosterone may lead to prostate cancer. Just monitor PSA values and give testosterone, no wonder cancer patients get suicidal, when they suppress their testosterone levels for extended periods maybe unecessarily. I dont encourage supra physical doses but doses to get your levels within optimal ranges (not normal) there is no such thing as normal, reference values are confidence intervalls meaning that a normal range of 10-30 nmol/L is 1000 men tested 2.5% are in the bottom, 95% in the middle, and 2.5% in the top, are you normal if you are in the bottom 2.5% of 1000 men?

  12. Bill on January 25th, 2011

    The article is incorrect. Hrt does not make you permanently infertile. Testosterone will stop your own production while you are on it. But there are drugs to start your own prduction back up when you are off. This information causes a great disservice.