It could be that your doctor has suggested testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for your low T levels. However, you might just be the slightest bit suspicious or concerned that you’re starting to show symptoms of low testosterone. Symptoms of low T could be things like a low energy level, low libido, and brain fog. We’ve got plenty more on that for you later. Either way, paying your doctor a visit to discuss your options and which testosterone treatments are available is definitely the best place to start.
Although, before you do that, we understand that you’ve likely got a few questions. Does the treatment work? Are the testosterone injections difficult? Or the more obvious, how much can testosterone therapy cost?
The cost of testosterone therapy can vary, depending on the treatment, dose, where you live, as well as other factors.
So, let’s get to it and find out what we need to know.
Low testosterone levels: the effects
Low testosterone, which is also referred to as male hypogonadism, is a condition involving the testes. So the testicles aren’t producing enough testosterone, which is the main male sex hormone.
In men, a healthy testosterone level helps maintain and develop:
- Sexual and reproductive function
- Muscle mass
- Adequate levels of red blood cells
- Bone density
- Sense of well-being
You may be surprised to find out that low testosterone affects around 40% of men aged 45 and older. It can be difficult to define what normal testosterone levels are because your testosterone level varies throughout the day. Not only that, but it is also affected by your body mass index (BMI), nutrition, age, alcohol consumption, certain medications, and illnesses.
Symptoms of low T
Low T will likely affect men over the age of 45 but it is possible that it may affect men of all ages, signs of low testosterone levels may be:
- Erectile dysfunction or decreased sexual function
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulties with concentration and memory
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of muscular strength
Low testosterone – what is the cause?
As a man ages, the amount of testosterone in his body gradually drops. This natural decline starts after age 30 and continues at about 1% per year throughout life.
There are many other potential causes of low testosterone, including the following:
- Injury or trauma that has interrupted blood supply to the testes, or infection of the testes (orchitis)
- Chemotherapy for cancer (breast cancer, prostate cancer, etc)
- Dysfunction or tumors of the pituitary gland
- Obesity or extreme weight loss
- Medications, including opioids, hormones used to treat prostate cancer, and steroids
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Kidney failure
- Obstructive sleep apnea
So, what is testosterone replacement therapy all about?
Before getting into what testosterone replacement therapy costs, we think it is wise to discuss what it actually is, and why your doctor may be prescribing TRT in the first place.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is used to treat those with clinically low testosterone levels. According to the American Urological Association (AUA), this is levels below 300 ng/dL.
Testosterone production peaks in your late teens and early twenties. Then, as you hit middle age, your body starts to pump out less testosterone at around one percent per year on average. The process works like this:
- Your testes synthesize less testosterone
- Lower testicular T causes your hypothalamus to scale back production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).
- Lowered GnRH causes your pituitary gland to produce less luteinizing hormone (LH)
- Lower LH ultimately results in lower total testosterone production.
If you find that you’re experiencing low testosterone (low T) or symptoms of gender dysphoria, your healthcare provider may suggest testosterone replacement therapy.
Whilst this may provide a sense of relief, it could also then cause anxiety about the costs. So, how much does testosterone replacement therapy cost? Well, it all depends on a few variables.
Do I really need testosterone replacement therapy?
As we now know, testosterone levels declining as you age is completely normal, many men’s levels can fall far below what categorizes as normal for their age. If you find that you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone or your T levels are below what they should be for your age, you’re most likely experiencing clinically significant testosterone deficiency—specifically, hypogonadism or low T.
If you want to find out whether your testosterone level is within the normal range, then the only way is with a blood test. This is something you can arrange with your doctor or another healthcare provider. There are also physicians that offer online consultations and home assessment kits.
Once you have done your test and it has been reviewed, your healthcare provider may prescribe hormone replacement therapy for any of the symptoms of low testosterone we’ve mentioned above. So, if you’re unsure as to whether you have low T, get yourself a blood test.
If you speak to your doctor regarding your result and are diagnosed with low testosterone, then they may suggest prescribing TRT to help balance your hormone levels and help reduce or potentially eliminate the symptoms of low T.
Testosterone replacement therapy cost
One of the reasons men can be slightly apprehensive about testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is the potential cost associated. We think this is a completely valid concern as money doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to and healthcare is so expensive. However, the costs of testosterone therapy can vary and they may not be as expensive as you might think.
Testosterone replacement therapy is effective, and the costs associated with it are dependent on a number of factors:
- The type of treatment or medication and the materials like syringes, necessary to administer
- Whether there’s a generic, more affordable version of the medication
- The dosage—if you require a greater quantity of treatment, it will likely cost more
- The severity of your symptoms
- The duration of your course of treatment
- The cost of living varies throughout the United States, so this also depends on where you live
- Your pharmacy—there may be additional costs associated with your prescription
- The type of insurance plan you have
We’d recommend breaking down the costs by listing what treatment generally involves, and go from there.
Assessing your hormones and getting your testosterone deficiency diagnosis can be pricey. Especially seeing as ensuing treatment is tailored to address specific hormonal deficiencies. Then you’ll also need to factor in location, if you’re getting the test done in a lab or doctor’s office you might have a copay, which isn’t a factor if you collect your own sample and mail it to a lab.
A full, 8-hormone panel blood test can cost as much as $800 and some labs quote as much as $1,500 for a comprehensive range of tests that aren’t covered by insurance. Performing at-home testing is a considerably more affordable option. Although, it can still run anywhere from $80 to $350. However, before undertaking any online consultation and at-home testing, it is best to ensure that the clinic is legit, for FDA cautions.
Once you have your result back from the lab, you’ll schedule an appointment and likely have a video consultation with a physician from your chosen clinic. Some clinics may also specialize in endocrinology, urology, internal medicine, and hormone replacement therapy. They would then review all results with you and determine if you’re a viable candidate for testosterone therapy.
If you qualify for treatment, your physician will create a personalized plan and explain everything you need to know, including what to expect and any potential risks or side effects.
Should you then decide to undergo TRT, you’ll enroll in a subscription plan that could cost anywhere from $120/month, plus the cost of medication (more on that below). Your subscription plan may include the likes of:
- Free at-home monthly delivery of testosterone therapy medications and materials necessary for self-administering
- Priority shipping on all orders filled through partner pharmacies
- On-going medical support from physician teams
- Follow-up lab panels (at-home or on-site)
- On-going follow-up consultations with your physician
It’s also worth pointing out that the costs related to these services, much like those with blood and lab work, can differ depending on factors like medication and dosage, location and insurance eligibility. Regardless of who you choose for your hormone optimization needs, do your research before settling on one firm.
TRT cost – per month
Let’s say the doctor has determined that your low testosterone levels qualify you for testosterone therapy. How much is your prescription going to cost every month?
The same factors that determine the costs of lab/blood work and medical services also pertain to your out-of-pocket expenses for medication. If you see a doctor in person for your testosterone administration, chances are your costs will then rise to cover office visits.
Online consultation subscriptions should include the cost of supplies, like syringes and needles, but this may not be the case with every at-home provider, so be sure to ask before you agree to any treatment.
Let’s look at the potential monthly cost of different testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) medications:
Testosterone therapy: Injections
Testosterone injections are typically the most affordable testosterone therapy option. If you go for injections, you’ll administer testosterone into the muscle or right under the skin.
Without insurance, the cost of a single 200 mg/mL testosterone vial can range between $40 and $100 a month. However, though some online clinics, a dosage of 200 mg/mL of testosterone starts at $28 per month. The price will likely change if you need a higher monthly dosage. The cost of your medication could potentially include home delivery and the materials needed for injection, but again, it is best to check.
Testosterone treatment: Cream/testosterone gel
A transdermal form of hormone replacement therapy that you can apply to specific regions of your body, such as the scrotal area. Testosterone gel or cream can cost as much as $500 a month.
Also Read: Explosive chest and tricep workout
Some clinics can add this to your prescription plan, and a monthly supply of testosterone cream may begin at $60 per month, with the price adjusted to accommodate your prescribed dosage.
So, this type of testosterone therapy is an under-the-tongue lozenge and they are a popular alternative to testosterone injections and creams. Clinics offer sublingual testosterone treatment starting at around $60 per month.
Oral testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone tablets as a treatment option can be pricey and cost anywhere from $100 to $300 a month.
Some clinics out there offer medications that are alternatives to testosterone, including Clomid and Anastrozole. These medications can treat symptoms and increase testosterone, without the increased risk of impacting fertility as some testosterone treatments can. We’ll cover the risks of testosterone soon.
As a starting point, Clomid starts at around $38 per month, and Anastrozole starts at $22 a month.
Which form of testosterone replacement therapy is the best?
It can be difficult when it comes to making a decision about which is the best testosterone therapy treatment for you. Not only that but there isn’t really a right or wrong answer. Whether you go for oral testosterone tablets, cream, troche, or injections, each treatment has its own advantages, side effects, and potential downsides.
In the end, the decision is between you and your doctor to decide what the best course of treatment is. It’s all down to working out which one offers up the most potential benefits and which side effects of testosterone therapy may not be a good idea for you and your body. When you visit your doctor or physician, make sure you ask as many questions as possible to get a clearer picture so you can make an informed decision.
Always avoid getting testosterone replacement therapy illegally
Despite the fact it may have grown popular in recent years, testosterone replacement therapy still has a stigma attached to it. This understandably makes some men feel very uncertain about considering treatment, or worse, they then turn to purchase testosterone illegally.
Those who don’t meet that clinical threshold to be diagnosed with testosterone deficiency may then seek androgen replacement therapy in illegal testosterone products to gain potential benefits such as:
- Increased muscle mass and bulking up for bodybuilding or other athletic endeavors
- Improve sexual function/performance
- Losing weight
- Boosting energy and stamina
- Better cognitive function
Buying testosterone products illegally is a risky business. To start with, when you purchase testosterone without a prescription, you likely have no idea what you’re actually getting. The fact this Testosterone is sold on the black market means there is no concern about government safety standards. This then means that the medication could be expired, counterfeit, or mislabeled. All of this sounds like it could come with its own set of health risks due to the likely lack of FDA drug safety communication.
Even if you are suffering the effects of low T or you’re just an aging male, why would you risk damaging the very thing you’re looking to preserve and actually improve?
Testosterone therapy is intended to help improve men’s health and their lives, but it’ll only be prescribed if your body really needs it. Your doctor will be able to recommend other alternatives that can help naturally boost your hormone levels, whether it supplements, a testosterone patch, or altering your diet and exercise workout.
Using hormone replacement therapy illegally only risks your health, and there’s no health professional to help monitor the potential risks.
Testosterone replacement therapy – the potential risks and side effects
Even when testosterone replacement therapy is administered and monitored correctly, it still comes with risks. This is why we cannot emphasize enough that going on any form of testosterone therapy must be approved, prescribed, and continuously monitored by a healthcare provider.
Your doctor will ensure that you’re taking the correct treatment and dosage, and adjust accordingly. They’ll also make sure that you aren’t experiencing side effects as a result of your treatment.
The risks of testosterone treatment
As we’ve said, there are potential risks of testosterone therapy and although they may be rare, they can include:
- Frequent need to urinate
- Fluid retention
- Acne or oily skin
- Lumps or hardening around the injection site
There’s also a small possibility that more severe side effects and health conditions can occur. If this happens, immediately consult with your physician. These side effects can include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Infertility or decreased sperm count/sperm production
- Testicular shrinkage
- Erectile dysfunction, lower erectile function, fewer spontaneous erections
- Worsening of obstructive sleep apnea
- Increase in cholesterol levels (increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart disease)
- An abnormal spike in blood sugar levels can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Yellowing of the skin or around your eyes
- Swollen or tender breasts, or enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Redness, warmth around the lower leg area
- Unusual increase in red blood cell count, which can result in high blood pressure, trouble with eyesight, or deep vein thrombosis (blood clotting)
- Decreased bone density could potentially cause joint and muscle pain
- Increased risk of non-cancerous growth of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and growth of existing prostate cancer.
Surely there’s another way to boost your testosterone levels?
Now, that was a lot of information, wasn’t it?
Whether legal or not, it sounds like testosterone replacement therapy has its own set of benefits and risks and we’re not sure they’re worth concerning yourself with. Do side effects like breast tenderness, erectile dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease really seem the sort of thing you want to experience? (and that was the legal treatment side effects of testosterone)…
We think not!
Not only that, but testosterone replacement therapy cost is high and you may end up spending $1000s to get it right.
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