When men notice their muscle mass dwindling, they often begin to think they might have low testosterone levels. This is especially noteworthy if a man’s exercise regimen hasn’t changed, but he’s seeing less muscle than he had when he was a few years younger. Men frequently ask whether testosterone replacement therapy at our clinics in Baton Rouge and near New Orleans can help rebuild that lost muscle.
What Are Symptoms of Low T?
Reduced muscle mass is only one symptom of low testosterone levels. Some people experience multiple symptoms that include a low sex drive, brain fog, mood swings, and the loss of physical performance. Unlike women going through menopause who see estrogen levels decline rapidly, men’s testosterone levels dip gradually, beginning at about age 30. That’s why low T symptoms tend to sneak up on men.
Testosterone is probably best known as the male sex hormone. It helps maintain a range of critical functions, including generating red blood cells, distributing body fat, preserving bone density, producing sperm, and, yes, increasing muscle mass.
How Does Low T Affect Muscle?
Muscle loss is a common condition that affects both men and women as they age, and testosterone is one of the primary drivers of muscle mass.
Hormones send chemical messages throughout the body, and they can significantly affect your appearance and how you feel, depending on the messages the hormones contain. The signals carried by testosterone tell the body to produce more lean muscle by binding itself to receptors found on muscle cells. This triggers an increase in protein synthesis to grow more muscle tissue at a faster rate.
If you have low testosterone levels, you won’t see the progress in the gym that you would with optimal hormonal balance. That’s why optimizing testosterone levels can improve muscle mass and strength.
The Snowball Effect of Low T
Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of low T, which often leads to men being less active and working out less. Going to the gym or hitting the streets for a run can seem impossible, or at least very unpleasant, when you’re already exhausted. As you can probably guess, this is another reason low T can result in reduced muscle mass.
This fatigue leads to a snowball effect regarding testosterone levels. Testosterone builds more lean muscle tissue, and lean muscle tissue helps increase testosterone production. If fatigue causes you to exercise less, then you’re building less muscle, and testosterone production declines even more.
Will Testosterone Replacement Therapy Increase Muscle?
One of the best-documented effects of testosterone therapy is an increase in lean body mass, which is mostly attributed to a gain in muscle mass. This benefit has been demonstrated in a number of studies.
The increased lean body (muscle) mass seen during testosterone therapy is often accompanied by gains in muscle strength.
How Does Testosterone Replacement Therapy Work?
Testosterone replacement therapy is one of the most common ways to treat low T. Some men with low levels of testosterone don’t experience any symptoms, and men who have symptoms such as weight gain may address the issue in another way.
The first step before starting any hormone replacement therapy is to confirm a diagnosis with a blood test. If the testosterone levels are abnormally low, we can then customize replacement therapy based on the patient’s desired administration method. The comprehensive blood panel provides our medical team with information that establishes your baseline levels, what you need to supplement, and how much you need to take.
The different methods for testosterone replacement therapy include:
- Gels: Your body absorbs testosterone through your skin. You should avoid showering or bathing for several hours after application and be careful not to transfer the medication to another person or pet.
- Injections: Men can give themselves injections at home or have a family member inject them.
- Patches: A patch containing testosterone is applied each night to your thighs or torso.
- Pellets: You can have slow-release pellets implanted just below the skin with a minimally invasive procedure.
How Long Before You See Results?
Even though most methods produce at least initial results within weeks, injections tend to work more quickly than patches or pellets. For men seeking to build lean muscle tissue, it typically takes about 3 months to see the results of hormone replacement therapy. You may also see fat decrease, too.
Start With a Consultation
If you think you may have low testosterone levels and are losing muscle mass, a hormone specialist at Rejuvime can discuss your symptoms and concerns. Please request a consultation at either our Baton Rouge or Metairie location using the online form. Or call us at (225) 960-1580 (Baton Rouge) or (504) 252-9579 (Metairie).