What Happens When You Stop Taking Testosterone?

Some people believe that testosterone replacement therapy is only for men experiencing andropause or low testosterone levels due to aging. But many men of all ages have successfully used TRT to improve their quality of life. 

However, people are also concerned about testosterone replacement therapy’s potential risks. Knowing what to expect is essential if you discontinue using TRT. So, what happens when you stop taking testosterone therapy?

In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect when discontinuing testosterone therapy, both in the short-term and long term. We’ll also provide you with some tips on how to minimize the side effects of stopping TRT. 

What is Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?

Before delving into the effects of stopping TRT, it’s essential to understand what it is.

Testosterone replacement therapy involves synthetic testosterone to supplement the body’s naturally-produced hormone levels. This treatment can be in the form of injections, gels, patches, or implants. It helps promote muscle mass in one’s body, improve energy levels and sex drive, and reduce symptoms of depression.

TRT is often prescribed for men with low testosterone levels due to aging, a medical condition, or treatment for prostate cancer. 

As testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, this therapy can also treat conditions such as delayed puberty in boys and disorders of the testicles, pituitary gland, or brain that cause a hormonal imbalance.

Moreover, TRT provides testosterone supplementation to the body with low testosterone levels. This can be due to natural causes, such as aging, medical conditions or treatments like cancer or surgery. Only some natural testosterone production has to be low for TRT to be effective. 

Some men may have a naturally lower testosterone level and find that TRT helps them experience better well-being.

How Long Will Testosterone Levels Return to Normal After Stopping TRT?

Whether you’re taking prescription testosterone supplements or boosters, the effects of stopping TRT vary from person to person. Generally, it can take time for the body to readjust and produce its testosterone again.

If you’re taking prescription testosterone, it might take several weeks for your body to start producing its testosterone again. However, if you’re taking a supplement or booster that contains natural ingredients, your body may be able to adjust and start building its hormones more quickly.

In most cases, it can take several weeks or even months for test levels to return to their natural levels after discontinuing TRT. Some people may experience a temporary decrease in testosterone levels gained from testosterone replacement therapy withdrawal. 

Therefore, it’s important to note that discontinuing it without medical supervision can be dangerous. It’s also best to discuss any changes in your TRT regimen with a doctor before making any decisions.

Common Testosterone Withdrawal Symptoms

When discontinuing TRT, you should expect some common symptoms. Whether taking natural testosterone supplements or medical treatment, your levels will drop as the body readjusts to its hormone production.

Even stopping testosterone replacement therapy can result in symptoms that can affect your hormone levels and well-being. 

To sum up, here are some common testosterone withdrawal symptoms to keep in mind:

Erectile Dysfunction

Stopping testosterone supplements can significantly affect sexual performance as testosterone helps in increasing sex drive. These withdrawal symptoms are common and may last for some weeks during the withdrawal period.

Testosterone plays a significant role in libido, so it’s not surprising that stopping TRT can result in a decrease in sex drive. However, this may improve as your body readjusts, but if it becomes a concern, talk to your doctor about other options or solutions.

Fatigue

Just like low testosterone can cause fatigue, dropping levels after stopping TRT can also lead to feeling tired and lacking energy. This symptom may improve as your body readjusts to producing its hormones, but it’s essential to listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

Weight changes

The decrease in hormone levels can result in weight fluctuations or increased body fat. Along with this, there can also be changes in muscle mass and strength.

Mood changes

The hormone imbalance can also lead to mood changes, such as feeling depressed or irritable. So, it’s essential to talk to your doctor if these symptoms persist or become a concern.

Sleep disturbances

The hormone changes also lead to difficulty sleeping or insomnia. Again, this may improve as your body readjusts, but if it persists or becomes a concern, talk to your doctor about solutions.

It may take time for your body to readjust and start producing its hormones again, but some solutions and options manage any symptoms or concerns.

Side Effects of Testosterone

what happens when you stop taking testosterone

Some common side effects of TRT include acne, increased cholesterol levels, red blood cell count, and mood changes. Before starting TRT, you must talk to your doctor about potential risks and discuss the benefits and drawbacks.

When you plan to stop testosterone replacement therapy, there may be side effects as your body readjusts to its hormone production. Unless you’re taking natural testosterone boosters, we recommend stopping taking testosterone supplements on the side.

Depending on your TRT, there may be long-term and short-term side effects. Here are some potential risks to be aware of:

Increased risk of heart attack or stroke

Changes in blood pressure and cholesterol levels can increase the risk for cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any potential risks before starting testosterone therapy.

Prostate enlargement

TRT may also increase the risk of prostate enlargement, which can lead to urinary issues. Having regular check-ups with your doctor and discussing any concerns is essential.

Acne or other skin reactions

TRT can also result in acne or other skin reactions. Therefore, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about potential risks and discuss possible solutions, such as using a topical medication for acne.

Liver toxicity

In rare cases, TRT may lead to liver toxicity. So, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about any potential risks before starting TRT and to be monitored for liver function.

How to Naturally Increase Testosterone

Exercise and Weight Lifting

Weight lifting can help improve muscle mass and strength, which can, in turn, increase testosterone levels.

Eating a Healthy Diet

A healthy and balanced diet with plenty of protein, fats, and vitamins can support overall hormone health and increase testosterone levels.

Managing stress

Chronic stress can lead to lower testosterone levels, so finding ways to manage stress can improve hormone levels. Some examples include practicing relaxation techniques, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks when needed.

Prioritizing sleep

Getting enough quality sleep is essential for overall health and can support healthy testosterone levels.

Reducing alcohol intake

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to lower testosterone levels. Therefore, limiting alcohol consumption or completely cutting it out can increase testosterone levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to wean off testosterone?

Weaning off testosterone should be discussed with a practicing medical doctor, as it varies depending on individual circumstances and the type of treatment used. In some cases, a gradual decrease in dosage may be recommended. They may also advise you to stop taking testosterone supplements.

How much testosterone do I need a week?

It varies and depends on individual needs and circumstances. Therefore, talking to a doctor about the proper dosage for you is crucial, as taking too much testosterone can have harmful side effects.

Can testosterone therapy cause infertility?

In some cases, long-term or excessive use of TRT can lead to decreased sperm production and potential infertility. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns or risks regarding fertility before starting TRT.

Can women take testosterone therapy?

TRT is not typically used for women, as naturally-occurring testosterone levels in women are much lower. However, there are certain medical conditions where a woman may benefit from TRT under the supervision of a doctor.

Final Thoughts

what happens when you stop taking testosterone

As with any medication or treatment, there can be risks and side effects to stopping testosterone therapy. Talking to your doctor about any symptoms or concerns you may experience during the readjustment period and potential options for managing them. Some common signs to watch include fatigue, weight gain, mood changes, low sex drive, sleep disturbances, and decreased energy levels.

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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.

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