[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text uncode_shortcode_id=”406142″]There are many myths to debunk when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Here at ThriveMD in Louisville, Colorado, we strive to give our patients the information they need to feel confident about making decisions surrounding TRT. For many men, TRT is the solution that allows them to enjoy the health and vitality they once had. It can also potentially help them to avoid risks for serious illnesses linked to insufficient testosterone levels. It’s especially important to understand the risks for experiencing adverse cardiovascular events as testosterone levels decline without proper intervention.
One of the biggest myths surrounding TRT has to do with a misconception that TRT must be taken for life once you start it. Can you stop TRT once you start? Yes, it is possible to end TRT treatments. Should you stop TRT after you’ve started this treatment? The truth is that the answer to that question is nuanced. Next, let’s break down fact versus fiction when it comes to stopping TRT.
Do You Have the Option to Stop TRT Once You Start?
Many men assume that TRT must be taken for life once a treatment plan has started for restoring testosterone levels. The answer is that there are ways to safely stop TRT. An abrupt stop is not recommended. If you feel that you need to consider stopping your TRT program once you begin, it is essential to do so under the supervision of your care provider. We’ll cover what safely stopping TRT should look like in just a minute. First, it’s important to consider some of the circumstances that might cause you to consider ending TRT treatments.
TRT does have a number of potential side effects associated with it. Will you experience those side effects? It’s impossible to say before starting treatment. However, you should know that every step will be taken to prevent any potential negative side effects by using a careful evaluation of your medical history to ensure that the proper dosage is being given to you. In addition, the team at ThriveMD is adamant about the use of routine serum testing to monitor your progress through treatment. We’ll also use feedback provided directly by you to assess if tweaks should be made in your specific treatment protocol. That should all be kept in mind as we dive into some of the potential side effects that could cause you to end TRT.
Here’s a look at some of the side effects that could potentially come into play:
- Skin Issues: Acne and oily skin are sometimes reported with TRT.
- Weight Gain: The fluid retention caused by higher levels of testosterone may be problematic for you. However, weight-related side effects are usually temporary and mild.
- Prostate Issues: If you experience prostate complications while undergoing TRT, you may decide that it’s time to stop treatment. Testosterone actually stimulates the prostate tissue in a way that can affect urination.
- Fertility Concerns: While low testosterone is often a cause of infertility, TRT treatments can also potentially affect fertility. This can come as a surprise due to the fact that TRT can be so effective for correcting erectile dysfunction and boosting libido. The good news is that other medications can be used in conjunction with TRT to help restore testosterone levels without negatively affecting fertility.
- Cost: Patients sometimes decide to take a break from TRT to manage costs.
Another common reason why some men decide to drop TRT treatments is that they feel noticeably better. While it is possible to stop TRT to simply enjoy the benefits of living with restored testosterone levels, the truth is that it’s necessary to continue treatment in order to retain those positive improvements. Many men who stop TRT treatments end up finding themselves exactly where they were before treatment began.
What Is the Correct Way to Stop TRT Treatments?
Tapering is so important when making the decision to end TRT treatment. Typically, it will be recommended by your doctor that you use dosages to successively reduce your TRT levels to create a safe “weaning” process. This process should take between four and six weeks.
Men need to be prepared for the fact that their bodies will revert back to a pre-treatment state. When you taper your treatment instead of stopping “cold turkey” one day, you give your body a chance to slowly work its way back to a low-testosterone status. If you stop TRT abruptly, you actually run the risk of experiencing a rapid onset of your symptoms that can be overwhelming. Experiencing your second phase of low testosterone won’t be like experiencing your first journey into declining testosterone levels. While your initial decline in testosterone levels was likely a very gradual process, your return to low testosterone will be rapid. Some men report that their symptoms of low testosterone are even more intense once they revert back to a non-supplemented state. However, it’s possible that your non-TRT state is actually preferable to you if you were having adverse reactions to treatment that you did not feel justified the benefits.
The Conversation on Post-Cycle TRT Therapy
You may be wondering if you need any type of post-cycle therapy (PCT) to help you wean off of TRT with minimal side effects and disturbances. In some cases, doctors use a protocol that includes a drug like metformin to mitigate side effects. A study released in 2021 suggests that metformin treatment mitigates the unfavorable effect of discontinuation of testosterone treatment for some men. Another commonly used option for preventing extreme side effects when coming off of TRT is Clomid. There is some evidence to suggest that Clomid might be effective for stimulating a continuation of testosterone production in men coming off of TRT.
For men interested in holistic options for minimizing the side effects of coming off of testosterone treatment, there is one promising option. Exercise has actually been found to keep testosterone levels elevated longer after stopping TRT. Results of a trial released in 2017 found that exercise improves the effects of testosterone replacement therapy across the board. More important is the fact that exercise also increased the durability of response after cessation of treatment.
Perspective: Men Should View Low Testosterone the Same Way They Would View Any Chronic Illness
The truth is that low testosterone poses serious health risks. Treating low testosterone isn’t just a matter of feeling “manlier” again. While common symptoms of low testosterone like weight gain, reduced muscle mass, weakness, low libido, and erectile dysfunction can all certainly make a man feel self-conscious, this shouldn’t cause men to fall into the false belief that TRT is about “vanity.”
“Low testosterone levels seem to be linked to a heightened risk of premature death from heart disease and all causes,” according to a report published in the BMJ-British Medical Journal. There appears to be a strong link between low testosterone and cardiovascular issues in men that increases with age. A 2017 study found that low testosterone levels in men may increase their risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD), metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. What’s more, reduced testosterone levels in men with congestive heart failure (CHF) are linked with poor prognosis that is associated with increased mortality.
This is precisely why men should really view TRT from the same lens they would view the management of any type of chronic condition. TRT can be an important aspect of total health management that can potentially shield you from common causes of illness and premature death including heart attack, stroke, and diabetic coma. The mental suffering that goes along with low testosterone symptoms can also lead to poor health outcomes for men. Feeling like you lack energy and vitality can be crushing for men who are still very much interested in making strides in their careers and personal lives. What’s more, the loss of muscle combined with the weight gain that’s so common with low testosterone can make a man feel self-conscious. The fatigue that comes from low testosterone can escalate the difficulty of staying in shape while having low testosterone by making it difficult to find the energy or drive to work out.
Stopping TRT: Final Thoughts on Where Your Mind Should Be on the Topic
The truth is that it’s premature to begin researching how to stop TRT if you haven’t yet been evaluated to discover if you’re a good candidate for TRT. Your suspected symptoms of low testosterone must be confirmed by a professional before you can even begin to consider if TRT is right for you. Here at ThriveMD, we guide our clients through a thorough process to get to the root of their symptoms of suspected low testosterone. Using a medical evaluation that includes testing of serum levels, we’ll be able to give you a concrete analysis of how your current testosterone levels look. We’ll also go over your full medical history with you to confirm that this treatment can be considered a safe and effective option for you. Rest assured that our team is always focused on informing instead of pressuring. If you’re interested in learning about options for treating your symptoms that don’t involve TRT, this is something that we can discuss with you. If you decide that TRT is the best option for you, the ThriveMD team will develop a tailored treatment plan for you to ensure that you’re getting the appropriate dose based on your test results. We’ll also monitor you regularly using ongoing serum testing that won’t require you to make frequent visits to our Louisville office on an ongoing basis.
Low testosterone is nothing to ignore. However, it’s understandable to feel worried that you’ll become dependent on hormonal therapy once you are able to restore testosterone levels through TRT. You can also rest assured that ThriveMD won’t ignore your concerns about your ability to come off of TRT once you begin treatment. We want you to know that it is possible to safely come off of testosterone treatments under the guidance of a doctor. ThriveMD will be here to have the conversation about stopping TRT the right way if this is where your treatment experience ultimately leads you. We can also offer you options for mitigating some of the potential negative side effects of TRT if you are motivated to continue treatment.
Thrive MD is the premier provider of TRT for men throughout Louisville, Superior, Lafayette, Boulder, and Broomfield, Colorado. Our office in Louisville offers a wide range of regenerative, hormonal, weight loss, and nutrition services for men at all stages of life. Book your appointment to learn more about TRT in the Boulder area by calling (720) 534-2333 or scheduling online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]