In this article we take a look at the different methods TRT is applied, and their pros and cons.
Free testosterone has a half life of ten minutes. For those of you not paying attention in Chemistry, this means that every ten minutes the levels of effective free test halve. So after thirty minutes levels are 1/8 of the original. After 1 hour they are 1/64.
That is perishable. The test is therefore esterified in oil to make it last longer, and can be injected into muscle (ie your backside or arm) by virtually anybody using a basic needle that cost next to nothing. Job done.
Pros: Quick, cheap and easy
Cons: The injections are deep and may cause pain. Inconvenient having to attend clinics to receive injections from a physician or nurse. The testosterone is not released in a nice steady manner. Users are likely to get a surge in 2 to 3 days and then a horrible dip after 1 to 2 weeks.
These yo-yo hormone levels are not conducive to a harmonious home life, and will cause swings in mood, energy and libido. When the dosages are higher, the trips to the clinic are less frequent but the hormone swings are more pronounced.
This is nothing new, testosterone implants have been around since the 40s. Th testosterone is in crystal form in pellets which are inserted under the skin and release slowly over a period of around 6 months.
Pros: Delivers a steady release, you don’t get the wild swings associated with intramuscular injections.
Cons: Requires a surgical procedure, which will always be expensive and carry it’s own risks. 3 to 6 pellets inserted under the skin around the thighs and abdomen can be painful and the body will often reject them. Not simple to remove once implanted should side effects occur.
A modern deployment technique, the test is in the form of small tablets which you insert twice a day into your mouth and it’s absorbed through the gums.
Cleverly, the testosterone is more effective when absorbed in this manner as it gets into the bloodstream quicker meaning less of it is metabolised by muscular tissue.
Pros: Easy and convenient to take. Effective.
Cons: Doesn’t taste very nice, can cause irritation. Also the testosterone can be transmitted via saliva so if your wife starts developing a hairy chest you need to reduce the sloppy kissing.
A patch or gel applied once a day. Patches were initially developed for direct application to the scrotum. As you can probably imagine, this went down like a shit sandwich amongst users – who had to shave their scrotum and then have a big sticky patch on it. Alternative non-scrotal methods were quickly developed.
Pros: Mimics testosterone’s own rhythm, with a spike in the morning and a decline into the night. Easy to stop – you just stop applying the patches.
The gel it is more effective at allowing the body to absorb testosterone, as it can cover greater surface area – however it’s more prone to accidental transferrence to other people (ie wife, kids etc) so users have to cover up. They also have to prevent swimming or showering for up some hours after applying it.
Cons: Wide variation in absorption rates between individuals, no guarantee how effective it’ll be for any one person. Patches have the same drawbacks as nicotine replacement patches in that they routinely cause skin irritation. The gel is VERY expensive.
This is a far less common way of ingesting TRT, and is mainly confined to Europe as the testosterone derivative used was never approved in the USA. Not new, been around a long time.
Pros: Easy to take, no pain. Can be stopped easily if side effects occur.
Cons: Rare reports of hepatotoxiticy and risks for some other hepatic complications but otherwise it’s considered safe. Testosterone levels vary and you’ve got to remember to take it a number of times a day.
There are a whole range of methods by which TRT is administered, each with it’s own drawbacks.
Each one should be evaluated on it’s own merits. It may be that certain options are not available to you because of where you live, your medical record or your budget.
It’s worth researching the options available, and it’s reassuring to know that new innovative delivery methods are being created all the time.