Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is beneficial, but there are times when you have to wean off the testosterone injections.
It could be because you already experienced success with the testosterone therapy or you’re experiencing the side effects.
This guide provides ways to come off Testosterone Replacement Therapy safely and successfully reduce the side effects. But to fully understand TRT and the need to stop it, let’s first learn the instances when a person may need a testosterone injection.
What Are Testosterone Injections Used For?
Testosterone injections treat men who do not make enough natural testosterone in their bodies. The condition is called hypogonadism.
Testosterone is a hormone found in humans and other animals. In men, the testicles mainly make this hormone. Women’s ovaries likewise produce testosterone but in smaller amounts.
The pituitary gland and hypothalamus regulate testosterone production in the testicles. It plays a vital role in sperm production and is often associated with sex drive. It likewise affects muscle mass and bone, red blood cell production, and how men store fat in the body.
Testosterone injections are also used in male teenagers to stimulate delayed puberty. This medicine is also used in women diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized (spread to distant parts of the body).
Moreover, this hormone treatment can also be given to transgender men and nonbinary people as part of their masculinizing therapy.
Remember, however, that testosterone injections are given only under the direct supervision of a doctor. It is provided as a shot into the muscle, often in the buttocks or stomach area. In addition, the dose of this medication is different for each patient.
At times, self-administering testosterone injections at home are allowed by injecting the hormone into the thigh. Still, those who do this method visit their doctor every few months for monitoring.
What Is a Low Testosterone Level?
The American Urology Association considers low testosterone in male adults to be less than 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).
However, some healthcare providers and researchers disagree and feel that levels below 250 ng/dL are already low.
Low T is a medical condition that more likely affects older individuals with poorly managed Type 2 diabetes or obesity. It can also affect those with chronic medical conditions, like liver cirrhosis, kidney dysfunction, sleep apnea, or HIV/AIDS.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone Levels
Symptoms of low testosterone levels vary, particularly by age. In male adults, these symptoms include the following:
- Loss of pubic and armpit hair
- Lower libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flashes
- Shrinking testicles
- Low or zero sperm count, which causes male infertility
Other symptoms of low testosterone production in male adults include:
- Increased body fat
- Depressed mood
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
- Enlarged male breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Decrease in endurance
- Decrease in muscle mass and strength
Low T before or during puberty for kids assigned male at birth can lead to reduced development of pubic hair and slowed hair growth. However, their legs and arms may continue to grow out of proportion with the other parts of their body.
It also leads to less voice deepening, reduced growth of their testicle and penis, and lower-than-normal endurance and strength.
Low T is treatable with testosterone therapy. The length of time it takes for a person to feel the effects or see results vary. Some patients claimed to feel more energetic, virile, and stronger only days after starting testosterone therapy.
In many patients, however, they see or feel the results after two to four weeks as the body still needs to be accustomed to the introduced testosterone hormone.
Reasons You May Want to Stop Testosterone Injections
Anyone can stop their testosterone injections or therapy only after consulting their doctor. It is never advised to stop Testosterone Replacement Therapy abruptly on one’s own accord.
After some time on TRT, your body stops making enough testosterone hormone on its own. If you stop TRT cold turkey, the shock of sudden testosterone deprivation may cause your libido and energy to drop. As a result, you may feel anxious, depressed, or irritable.
Generally, the longer your body has been taking testosterone treatments, the longer it is also for your body to adjust back to normal testosterone levels.
Here are some reasons why people stop taking testosterone injections:
- Cost of medicine
- Concerns about fertility
- One starts to feel better
If you’re ready to talk to your doctor about ceasing or lowering the testosterone dose, here are ways to wean off testosterone injections without the side effects or, at least, minimize them.
How to Wean Off Testosterone Injections and Avoid Side Effects
First and foremost, follow your doctor’s advice for the requisite testing to plan and understand the potential issues to mitigate the side effects. The most commonly reported side effects are mild; your doctor could work with you to find solutions to offset these problems.
So, to wean off testosterone injections, you do it gradually and with your doctor’s guidance. Your healthcare provider may suggest a series of doses to successively lower (and eventually taper off) the testosterone injections over time.
Your doctor’s goal is to avoid shocking your system by drastically stopping hormone therapy. That shouldn’t be the method. Weaning off testosterone typically takes several weeks or even longer. That’s the safest way to stop testosterone replacement therapy.
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) After Stopping Testosterone Therapy
Another way to lessen or avoid the side effects of stopping testosterone treatment is to include non-drug tactics and medications.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics found that Metformin helped reduce the side effects of stopping TRT. Metformin is a medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Another study mentioned that Clomid might stimulate T production in men stopping testosterone replacement therapy. Aside from medications, exercise can keep testosterone levels higher longer after weaning off testosterone injections, according to a randomized controlled trial.
Pairing testosterone therapy with HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) may also ease the process of ending testosterone replacement therapy. HCG works by maintaining T levels in the body and keeping men’s testicles in good health. Both of these effects are important for fertility and maintaining the natural production of testosterone.
Effects of Stopping Testosterone Replacement Therapy
In most cases, stopping testosterone replacement therapy will cause your body to revert to its state before commencing the treatment. Many patients report feeling weaker, and tired, having increased fat, losing muscle mass, having a lower sex drive, and thinning hair.
Discontinuation of long-term and high-dose TRT may also lead to testosterone withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, fatigue, lack of appetite, decreased libido, sleep problems, headache, and joint pain.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From Testosterone Withdrawal?
Testosterone withdrawal can happen when the body forms a chemical dependency on testosterone injections or supplements. The body’s testosterone decreases to accommodate the testosterone booster in the body.
Some men experience testosterone withdrawal, but their symptoms vary. It depends on the speed at which they started the therapy or how long they took the supplement or hormone. The dosage similarly plays into the withdrawal factors.
Although the testosterone symptoms withdrawal may seem scary, most of it only lasts for one to two weeks after weaning off the testosterone shot. Of course, it will depend on other factors, like the nature of the testosterone therapy, a person’s stress level, age, and period of high-dose testosterone.
Related: VirMax Testosterone Booster Reviews
People Also Ask: FAQs About Testosterone Injections
What happens when testosterone is injected?
When testosterone is injected through testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), it will help the body produce enough testosterone. It will slowly disperse into the bloodstream for days or weeks. Some people may experience an injection site soreness for a few days after the shot.
Why do people take testosterone?
Men with low testosterone take testosterone injections to reverse the effects of their condition. It will also help their body maintain natural testosterone production.
Why do men have testosterone injections or undergo hormone therapy?
Men with low T start testosterone therapy to regulate male hormones. Some of the benefits they’re after from these injections include increased sex drive, improvement in sperm production, red blood cell production, and reduced depressive symptoms in men.
How long does a testosterone shot last?
Testosterone can peak in the blood within hours after being administered and will metabolize after three days. Doctors usually suggest administering testosterone shots every two to three days.
Are testosterone shots healthy?
While testosterone shots can help reverse the symptoms of low T due to medical conditions, the FDA does not recommend using them to treat changes caused by natural aging because it may increase the risk of specific health issues.
Various risks of testosterone shots include worsening sleep apnea, skin reactions or acne, and growth of existing prostate cancer.
Should I stop testosterone replacement therapy?
It’s all up to you. It’s a personal preference, and it would be best if you make a consultation with a medical professional to ensure you consider all medical matters.
Testosterone injection or therapy is not a fountain of youth, but it is beneficial in many ways, especially for men with low T.
If you decide to stop testosterone injections, you may experience side effects that are unique to other men. After all, your hormone balance shifts, and testosterone is a powerful hormone.
Gradually reducing testosterone intake for several weeks is recommended to wean off testosterone injections. Doing so minimizes the shock felt by your body.
We suggest you talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks for anyone who has yet to undergo the therapy and is wondering if it’s right for them. Your doctor will likely measure your testosterone levels first before recommending the treatment.
For access to more exercise and fitness articles, lifestyle tips, celebrity workouts, nutrition and health info, visit ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.