If you struggle with the symptoms of low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy is a powerful treatment option that could change the way you experience daily life. Today, countless men can attest to the improvements in energy level, sex drive, and overall mood made possible by testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). However, even if you may be aware of the potential benefits of testosterone therapy, some popular administration methods may give you pause. More specifically, many men find testosterone shots to be an uninviting prospect.
But testosterone shots are not your only option. In fact, there are many alternatives to injectable testosterone, allowing you to take testosterone in a preparation that fits your needs and preferences. And if TRT itself isn’t right for you regardless of the administration method, there are innovative medications that boost your body’s natural testosterone levels without introducing exogenous testosterone at all.
Testosterone shots might be amongst the most commonly used therapies for low T, but there are many ways to regain a sense of health and vitality. If you’re determined to find relief for your symptoms, you’ll want to consider all of the treatment options available to you.
Considering Alternative Preparations for TRT
Testosterone shots aren’t for everyone. Some people can’t tolerate injecting themselves, and some can’t stand needles, period. Others struggle to keep up with their at-home injection schedule or find frequent office visits to be inconvenient or inaccessible. If you want to receive testosterone replacement therapy but you don’t want to take shots, choosing a different testosterone preparation can help ensure you get the treatment you need in a way that is tolerable and effective for you.
Testosterone medications come in a number of forms:
- Gels and creams. If you’d prefer to apply your testosterone medication like a lotion, this preparation is for you. Testosterone gels and creams are typically applied to the skin of your underarms or upper arms every day at the same time for best results. The primary drawback of these products is that they can transfer to other people for some period of time after application, putting them at risk for adverse effects. Children may be particularly vulnerable. As such, daily caution is advised, including allowing the product to completely dry before getting dressed and keeping the area covered with clothing. Some men also experience skin irritation or redness where the gel or cream is applied.
- Patches. Testosterone patches are applied to a fleshy part of the body once every 24 hours. Many men enjoy the convenience of this preparation, as one simple daily action delivers a relatively steady dose of testosterone throughout the day. However, individuals with sensitive skin may not wish to pursue patch therapy due to a possibly mild skin irritation where the patch is placed. Additionally, some also have trouble keeping the patch on, particularly during heavy exercise, perspiration, or water exposure, and some men don’t like having a visible indicator of treatment.
- Pellets. With testosterone pellet therapy, small pellets—each about the size of a grain of rice—are implanted under the skin of the upper hip or buttocks every few months during a quick and easy outpatient procedure. The pellets release a steady dose of hormones over the course of treatment and require no daily upkeep, which means you may experience more predictable results than with other methods. Many men find pellet therapy significantly more convenient than other methods, particularly if they travel regularly or have irregular or unpredictable schedules. However, the need for an in-office procedure every few months can be a drawback for some.
All of these administration methods may produce good results and users of any method are typically satisfied with their treatment experience. Moreover, method-specific side effects tend to be mild and transient. As such, deciding which treatment is best for you will likely be driven by your personal preferences and lifestyle rather than significant efficacy or tolerability considerations.
Treatment Options Without Testosterone
Testosterone replacement therapy can be an effective, accessible, and life-changing treatment. But some men who struggle with low T don’t want or are not able to use TRT, such as men with certain health conditions or who are concerned about the risk of infertility associated with testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone medications also come with a variety of potential side effects and a few important health risks that even healthy men may not find acceptable.
If you’re looking for an alternative to testosterone therapy, ask your hormone practitioner about medications that stimulate your body’s natural testosterone production rather than supplying exogenous testosterone. This relatively new process is commonly referred to as testosterone restoration, and it may allow you to achieve the same effects of TRT through a completely different set of medications.
Where to Seek Alternatives to Testosterone Shots
The way you choose to treat your low testosterone is personal, and it may change over time. That’s why it’s always best to seek treatment from a specialist who has access to a wide range of options. While many men go straight to their primary care physicians (PCPs) for their initial hormone treatment, they may not offer the depth of expertise or the variety of preparations, doses, and treatment methods that are available from a specialist. For example, many PCPs may offer standardized hormone products, but are not equipped to prescribe bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), leaving you without the option of fully customized treatment.
By seeing a practitioner who specializes in hormone health from the beginning, you can set yourself up for success. These practitioners will conduct extensive hormone testing to identify any hormone imbalances and determine the right dosage for your individual needs. Additionally, only hormone specialists typically monitor downstream hormones, like estrogen and DHT, that can increase hemoglobin and hematocrit, which are associated with an increased risk of blood clots. For men taking testosterone therapy, this monitoring can be invaluable to ensure safe and effective treatment.
If injections don’t appeal to you, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives to testosterone shots. And with the guidance of an expert in hormone replacement therapy, you’ll be well on your way to discovering one that produces real results.
Looking for a practitioner who can offer alternatives to testosterone shots? BodyLogicMD can help. BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioners are leading experts in hormone health and offer customized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment, or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to learn more about testosterone and its effects on your body.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.