Thinking about starting TRT? Here’s how you should expect to feel.
Men generally don’t know or appreciate the benefits of testosterone until it starts fading away. And it does fade. Regardless of a well-balanced diet and solid exercise regimen, your body changes as you age, and your hormone levels and testosterone naturally decline approximately 1.6 percent every year.
After suffering the symptoms of Low T, you’re ready to make a change. You’re ready to get back to normal. You’ve done Hone’s at-home testing kit for your hormone levels and you’re considering testosterone replacement therapy to get back on track. And that’s great; that’s a giant step forward in regaining normalcy.
That’s because advancements in testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) have provided men with a way to reclaim control of their bodies and their lives. However, TRT isn’t some sort of miracle, overnight cure. It’s vital to understand going into the process that the journey to self-improvement is not a sprint, but a marathon. It’s also one that doesn’t really have a set finish line, and that’s all right. As long as you follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor, you’ll stay ahead of the problem.
Let’s break down some of the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, and share what you should be expecting to think and feel, and which benefits may take longer than others to be appreciable.
1. You’ll Have More Energy
TRT doesn’t have an immediate effect; you may not even notice a change at first. But you will start feeling better within three to four weeks after your treatment begins. You might realize you’re not quite as lethargic as you felt a month earlier, or that you’re having some better nights sleeping and feeling more rested overall. One month in, you’ll find yourself feeling motivated to get off the couch and do more, and we all know how important physical activity is to your wellbeing.
2. Your Mental Acuity and Focus Return
The formidable cloud that has been hanging over your head will start to dissipate. Your mental focus and memory show signs of improvement within the first two weeks of treatment, while feelings of depression and sudden mood swings start subsiding within three to six weeks. Results can vary, but by 18 to 30 weeks, your change in demeanor will support a radically improved self-confidence and clearer mindset, plus an inner strength that’s more ready to go toe-to-toe with whatever life throws your way.
3. Your Libido Will Grow
Thankfully, TRT can quickly improve your love life with your spouse or partner. You’ll start to feel more amorous as soon as three weeks of treatment. By six weeks, you and your loved one will discover that your sex drive is back to what it once was, if not better.
Do realize, however, that even though you may feel that way, the more obvious physical benefits will take a while longer to surface. Improved erections and ejaculations can take as long as up to six months. It’s worth it, and you’ve at least regained the gumption to keep trying until everything else gets back on track.
4. Your Red Blood Cell Count Rebounds and Flourishes
Your body produces red blood cells through a process called erythropoiesis. When you suffer from hypogonadism (Low T), red blood cell formation can slow to a crawl. Those cells made in your bone marrow contain hemoglobin, an essential protein that carries oxygen. As your count decreases, you’re left feeling progressively anemic, or fatigued and weakened. Your blood pressure may also test higher than normal. The rest of your body has to work that much harder to get oxygen to your cells and keep your organs operating as they should.
TRT, fortunately, gets your red blood cell count back into the flow of things. Results will vary based on your age and the dosage prescribed by your doctor, but the improved formation of your cells will produce a noticeable effect after three months. Those bouts of fatigue you’ve been fighting will lessen, and your blood pressure should stabilize closer to within normal range.
Your maximal output should peak between nine and 12 months. By then, your body is producing enough hemoglobin on its own to keep you energized, and the measurement of your red blood cells (known as hematocrit) reaches what you and your doctor determine to be your normal levels, traditionally within the 41-50 percent range.
5. Your Blood Sugar Levels Normalize
When you’re hypogonadal, your sensitivity to insulin can be compromised, your blood sugar levels can spike, and you run a risk of contracting Type 2 Diabetes. TRT increases your insulin sensitivity, meaning it enables your body to effectively absorb glucose, or blood sugar, and give you energy when you need it. You’ll experience small bursts of “get-up-and-go” within days of starting treatment, with the full effect taking anywhere from three months to a year. Also remember, one little spark is all you need to motivate you into becoming more physically active, which also increases your insulin sensitivity.
6. Lipid Production Recovers and Energy is Properly Stored
Love to the lipids. These organic, water-insoluble compounds are your cellular membrane’s key building blocks. Lipids also serve as your energy’s personal storage warehouse and promote the signaling of electrical impulses throughout your brain. When you suffer from a significant clinical hormone deficiency, so can your lipids — your mental acuity, particularly your memory, becomes muddled, and your body stops producing the fuel needed to function at peak capacity.
It takes about a month of treatment before your lipids correct themselves and get back to storing that energy you’ve been missing, and resharpen your biochemically dulled brain. Within six to 12 months, the effect on your lipids should reach their utmost, taking you one step closer to becoming your utmost.
7. Inflammation Decreases
Inflammation is the ultimate defense mechanism. It’s a body’s best friend in that it aids your autoimmune system in combating physical injuries, infections, toxins or anything else that causes cell damage. If your testosterone tumbles, however, the physical impact it puts on your body causes more widespread inflammation, and for extended periods. Simply put, your body’s friend is overstaying its welcome, and it’s hurting you.
TRT helps regulate your body’s need to produce inflammation and how it communicates with your autoimmune system. Your body isn’t working overtime trying to combat cell damage that may not exist. It takes between three weeks to three months of treatment for your body to fully re-establish a healthy, positive relationship with acceptable levels of inflammation.
8. You’ll Build Muscle
Who doesn’t want a killer body? Diet, rest, and exercise are key to your success. However, when your testosterone levels dip below your normal range, your strength strains, your body mass gets mushy and your once-unbeatable endurance ends.
Testosterone helps with the heavy lifting to improve those areas. Over the first three months, your body mass becomes leaner, your muscles grow meaner, and you develop a stamina that won’t quit. These effects are likely to start leveling off after six to 12 months of treatment. However, it’s not unusual for your body to continue experiencing marginal progress over the next several years.
9. Bone Loss Decelerates
If a snap-crackle-pop in your morning comes from your back and not your bowl of cereal, you may be feeling the effects of reduced bone mineral density (BMD). The daily process in which your body adds new bone while breaking down old bone naturally slows down as you age. However, low T can accelerate natural bone breakdown over bone formation which, left unchecked, can develop into osteopenia or, in more severe cases, osteoporosis.
Six months of testosterone replacement therapy treatment starts to decelerate bone breakdown, or resorption, giving new bone time to fortify. The stiffness you’ve been feeling in your tendons and ligaments also lessens dramatically. With continued treatment, the effects of maintaining if not improving your BMD can last as long as three years, potentially longer, before they plateau.
10. You’ll Burn Belly Fat Faster
When your body’s testosterone thins out, it’s common for your waistband to expand. Low T slows your metabolism to the point where it can no longer effectively burn off fat mass. The only thing it builds up are fat deposits around your midsection, which leaves you to carry a growing problem wherever you go.
Testosterone replacement therapy works twofold. After three months, you not only start burning off fat mass, you also begin increasing lean body mass. The belly flattens while muscle builds, giving your testosterone even more of a boost. Before long, you can end in that vicious cycle of low T-increasing-fat-increasing-low T. If you’re following your prescribed treatment, studies show your body can continue seeing the dual effects for up to two years. Plus, you can look down and see your toes again.
Testosterone replacement treatment is not an overnight solution. It’s especially important to follow the prescribed plan outlined by your doctor and to be patient. Prescribed dosages are likely to be adjusted along your journey, and that’s fine. You want to lock into a prescribed sweet spot so that your body can produce maximum results over long periods of time, and you regain the ability to enjoy what matters most: Being you.
Saad F, Aversa A, Isidori AM, Zafalon L, Zitzmann M, Gooren L. Onset of effects of testosterone treatment and time span until maximum effects are achieved. Eur J Endocrinol. 2011 Nov;165(5):675-85. doi: 10.1530/EJE-11-0221. Epub 2011 Jul 13. PMID: 21753068; PMCID: PMC3188848.