Testosterone Replacement Therapy and HCG: What You Should Know
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If you’re concerned about some of the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy, it’s important to know about the ways that HCG may help to preserve your fertility during TRT.
You’re probably hearing lots of new phrases for the first time if you’re investigating testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to treat low testosterone. How can you be sure that you have low testosterone? The answer is that you can’t without a proper evaluation by a medical professional specializing in men’s health. However, having a basic understanding of the most common signs and symptoms of low testosterone can certainly be helpful. These are considered the clues that you may have abnormally low testosterone levels:
- Reduced/nonexistent sex drive.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- A general decrease in your well-being.
- Low energy.
- Memory issues.
- Focus issues.
- Loss of muscle strength.
- Decreases in body hair.
- Thinning/frail bones.
- Increased body fat.
- Enlarged breast tissue.
Here at ThriveMD in Louisville, Colorado, we treat patients dealing with low testosterone symptoms in Louisville, Superior, Lafayette, Boulder, Broomfield, and the surrounding communities. We take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing low testosterone that utilizes serum level testing. We’ll also look at factors like your health history when determining if you’re a good candidate for TRT. There are hundreds of potential questions you might have about TRT in your mind right now. Rest assured that our team will work hard to get them all answered for you. One question that we get at our office time after time has to do with the role of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in TRT protocol. Is HCG always needed with testosterone replacement? Let’s dive in to take a look at the answer.
Why Is HCG Used With TRT?
HCG is an important hormone. While it’s a hormone that’s primarily associated with pregnancy, it also plays a vital role in male sexual health. The benefits of HCG include:
- Improved libido.
- Improved penis sensitivity.
- Improved fertility.
- Restoration of vesicular and penis size.
- Boosted cognitive function.
There are some very important things to know about how testosterone replacement therapy impacts hormone levels if you’re considering this treatment. TRT can actually reduce two important hormones that play key roles in sexual and repodructive function. First up is something called the luteinizing hormone (LH). LH is important because it helps to regulate the production of testosterone within the testicles. It also converts androstenedione to testosterone. LH works closely in collaboration with another hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to help your body maintain healthy levels of testosterone.
Unfortunately, FSH is the second hormone that can be depleted during TRT. FSH is incredibly important because of its role in controlling the production of sperm in the testicles. In fact, it’s impossible for the process of spermatogenesis that turns male primordial germ cells into sperm to occur without adequate levels of FHS.
When the body isn’t producing adequate levels of LH and FHS, the testicles simply cannot produce healthy, viable sperm. What might make all of this a little confusing for you if you’re currently researching TRT as a treatment for infertility is that TRT is often touted as a treatment for increasing sperm production. However, TRT only works as an effective fertility treatment for men with low sperm count or erectile dysfunction if a method is used to counteract the negative side effects of infertility associated with TRT. This is where HCG comes into the picture.
Ultimately, HCG can actually help to undo some of the negative side effects of TRT. One of the primary reasons to use HCG during TRT treatments is to preserve fertility. The HCG molecule shares similarities with something called the LH molecule.
Can HCG Be Used With TRT to Preserve Fertility?
“HCG is a safe and efficacious alternative or adjunct to TRT in men desiring to preserve fertility while treating their hypogonadism,” according to a study looking at indications for the use of human chorionic gonadotropic hormone for the management of infertility in hypogonadal men. Unfortunately, azoospermia and infertility are potential side effects of TRT. Research shows that HCG is capable of helping to reestablish or maintain spermatogenesis in some men.
Does HCG Have Side Effects?
Yes, HCG is associated with some adverse side effects. However, HCG side effects aren’t necessarily common. It’s still important to know what to look for before beginning any treatment that involves the use of HCG. Here’s a look at some potential side HCG side effects:
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of male breasts).
- Stomach pain.
- Pelvic pain.
- Weight gain.
- Increased acne.
- Shortness of breath.
- Skin rashes.
- Infrequent urination.
At ThriveMD, one of the things we stress with our patients is the need for regular testing and monitoring when undergoing any sort of hormonal therapy. That’s why we do regular serum level and hormonal testing throughout a TRT treatment plan. We also prioritize patient feedback when monitoring the success of our treatment plans. If necessary, we can tweak your dosages to make your treatment more tolerable.
What Can I Expect After Taking HCG with TRT?
You may be wondering how you can expect to feel after you begin HCG treatments with TRT. The truth is that most men notice some really significant changes in their bodies very shortly after beginning treatment. It often just takes a few weeks for your to notice:
- Higher sex drive with increased sexual satisfaction.
- An increase in the number of erections.
- A return of morning erections.
- Restored ejaculation abilities.
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Improved mental alertness.
- Better memory.
- Reduced anxiety and depression.
- Reduced aggression.
- A renewed sense of motivation.
- An increased capacity for exercise.
- Increased strength.
- Reduced body fat.
While many of the benefits of HCG can be noticed right away, others might take a while to reach peak levels. This is especially true of improved bone strength. When you have low testosterone levels, your bone density begins to diminish. In fact, men with low testosterone are at increased risk for osteoporosis. You may not realize that this has happened to you until you break or shatter a bone far more easily than should be expected for a man your age. The good news is that HCG can help to restore bone strength. It can also help to restore muscle strength. In addition to helping you look and feel better, restored muscle strength can also help you to prevent injuries that can happen due to musculoskeletal weakness or imbalance. Another unexpected perk that often manifests slowly over time with HCG treatments is better sleep. Many men who have spent years finding it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up rested discover that they are enjoying sleep normalcy again. Each benefit on its own can help a man to feel both physically and mentally empowered. However, the compounding effect of all of these positive changes coming together can really restore vitality in an exciting way.
What Is Known About the Safety of HCG?
First, it’s important to know that HCG is a fully FDA-approved medication that has been used to treat both men and women for decades. The American Urological Association also supports the use of HCG. Like all medical treatments, HCG is intended to be used under the guidance of a trained, competent medical professional. Men who try to supplement with HCG hormones on their own using dubious practices are putting their health in danger. In fact, you should consider any “alternative” therapy involving hormone replacement to be extremely dangerous.
Does Every Man Need to Supplement with HCG When Undergoing Testosterone Replacement?
We really try to never deal in absolutes when it comes to designing treatment plans for low testosterone. That’s because each man’s physiology is so unique. What’s more, we specifically prioritize detailed medical evaluations and testing of hormonal levels.
Is It Time to Have a Chat About TRT in Boulder, Colorado?
This chat on using HCG with testosterone replacement has hopefully shed some light on the common questions people have when looking into options for correcting low testosterone. Yes, it can feel both daunting and overwhelming to research some of the potential side effects of TRT. The truth is that allowing dipping testosterone to remain unchecked can produce consequences that are even more daunting and overwhelming.
Low testosterone levels that remain untreated are associated with a variety of poor health outcomes. First, many men with low testosterone suffer from the frustration and embarrassment of erectile dysfunction. This is often one of the first noticeable signs to cause men to seek treatment for low testosterone levels. The weight gain and loss of muscle that often accompany low testosterone also put men at increased risk for all of the dangers associated with having a high body mass index (BMI). One of the most troubling aspects of low testosterone is its association with poor cardiovascular health.
“Low testosterone also has an adverse effect on several cardiovascular risk factors, which include insulin resistance, diabetes, dyslipidemia, central adiposity, and endothelial dysfunction,” according to a 2014 analysis on testosterone and cardiovascular risk in men. Overall, low testosterone is a well-recognized risk factor for premature CVD and mortality. There’s also a very sobering study from 2009 that actually linked low testosterone with an increased risk for stroke. The risk appears to be higher for older men than younger men. What researchers were able to conclude is that lower total testosterone levels in older men predict an increased incidence of stroke after adjusting for conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Even more interesting is the fact that testosterone levels don’t need to hit rock bottom in order for risk levels to increase. Researchers actually discovered that men with low-normal testosterone levels still had increased risk compared to men with higher testosterone levels.
All of this can be a lot to take in if you’re currently concerned about how your testosterone levels could be affecting both your short-term and long-term health. It’s also important to know that hormonal therapies don’t represent the final game for reversing low testosterone. Here at ThriveMD, our team routinely helps clients “throw the kitchen sink” at low testosterone using comprehensive, whole-life treatment plans that provide what men of all ages need for healthy, robust testosterone production. For some men, this involves treatments like dietary support, lifestyle changes, IV nutrition, B12 injections, supplements, certain medications, peptide therapies, PRP injections, and much more.
Founded by Dr. Nick Hamilton, ThriveMD is the leading provider of regenerative medicine, hormone therapy, and medical weight loss services for men and women in Louisville, Colorado. We are a leader in men’s health in the Denver and Boulder areas. We provide a supportive, science-based atmosphere where you can feel free to ask questions that you may not feel comfortable asking other care providers who lack a holistic approach to treating sensitive men’s health issues. Would you like to ask a doctor your questions about testosterone replacement therapy and HCG in person? Feel free to reach out by phone at (720) 534-2333 or via our online portal.