Testosterone Replacement Therapy & Bone Strength
Posted: August 7, 2020
Recent research suggests that testosterone replacement therapy may help hypogonadal men maintain bone strength as they age. Many of us associate bone density issues and osteoporosis with women. However, an estimated one to two million men in the U.S. have osteoporosis. Another eight to thirteen million estimated men experience low bone mass. Low testosterone is a common secondary cause of male osteoporosis, which poses a serious risk to your health and quality of life. Osteoporosis can lead to long-term disability and chronic pain. Additionally, in some cases, fractures due to osteoporosis can even lead to death. Men are approximately two times more likely to die after a hip fracture compared to women. Therefore, it’s important to address bone mass issues to help prevent premature death due to osteoporosis. Several studies have found that TRT can help improve bone mineral density for men with low testosterone levels.
Hypogonadism and Bone Mineral Density
How do your testosterone levels affect bone strength? Hypogonadism is associated with an increased risk for male osteoporosis and fractures. Low testosterone can lead to more bone mass lost over time, which means weaker bones as you age. However, research suggests that testosterone replacement therapy can help stop loss of bone mass in men with low testosterone levels.
Researchers performed a retrospective review of bone density scans for men with hypogonadism to determine if low testosterone was a risk factor for male osteoporosis. The average age of the men in the study was only 50.7 years old. The time between first identification of hypogonadal testosterone levels and the bone mineral density scan was approximately three years.
Within that time period, the study showed that 39% of the men in the study had osteopenia. Osteopenia is a loss of bone mass that is less severe than osteoporosis. Another 5% of the men in the study had osteoporosis. Aside from low testosterone, the researchers in the study didn’t identify any other common factors associated with low bone mineral density scores. Therefore, evidence suggests that low testosterone increases the risk for bone density issues.
Symptoms of Low Bone Mass and Low Testosterone
The problem with bone density issues is that they often sneak up without any early warning signs. In most cases, men may not notice any symptoms of their bones weakening, especially since bone mass generally decreases gradually. However, some signs that you may have weak or brittle bones are:
- Neck or back pain: Men with low bone mineral density may experience chronic pain in their back or neck. This could be due to compression fractures in the vertebrae.
- Loss of height: A gradual loss in height can signal that the bones in your spine are weak. Over time, the vertebrae can start to thin and collapse, leading to lost height.
- Stooped posture: Another sign of osteoporosis in men is stooped posture. This is often due to weakening bones in the spine.
- Fractures: Perhaps the most obvious symptom of low bone mass in men is a bone that fractures with less force than expected. Though fractures can occur anywhere, they’re more commonly in the hip, wrist, and spine for those with low bone mineral density.
While low bone density in men is often a silent disease, low testosterone often does cause symptoms. These signs can put you on alert that you may have an increased risk for weak bones. If you have low testosterone, it’s important to discuss preventative measures to help reduce bone density loss over time. Some symptoms of hypogonadism include:
- Abdominal weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Low libido
- Loss of muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Muscle weakness
Testosterone replacement therapy can help restore testosterone levels to healthy ranges if you have hypogonadism. This can help reduce the risk of many of the complications of untreated hypogonadism. In addition, studies suggest that testosterone replacement therapy may also help protect your bones if you have low testosterone levels.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy Offers Skeletal Benefits
Due to the correlation between testosterone deficiency and low bone mass, many researchers have set out to determine if testosterone replacement therapy can help. Several studies show that TRT offers skeletal benefits for men who have hypogonadism. One such study looked at the effects of testosterone replacement therapy on men with low bone mineral density and low testosterone levels after one year.
This study found that the men who received testosterone experienced an increase in bone density and estimated bone strength. All the men in the study were given calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as either testosterone replacement therapy or a placebo. The TRT group noticed a 6.7% higher increase spinal volumetric bone mineral density compared to the placebo group, as well as an 8.4% higher increase in estimated spinal trabecular bone strength. Therefore, the study concluded that testosterone replacement therapy may offer skeletal benefits to men with low testosterone levels.
While the above study was conducted using testosterone gel, intramuscular testosterone replacement therapy injections offer additional benefits. TRT injections allow for increased dosage control to help bring your testosterone levels into healthy ranges. Other studies show that intramuscular testosterone resulted in an 8% increase in lumbar bone mineral density, which may help reduce weakening bones in the lower back.
Custom Testosterone Replacement Therapy & Treatment Plans
If you have low testosterone, then our providers will help design a treatment plan to help reduce your symptoms, optimize your health, and reduce the risk of other health complications. This often includes testosterone replacement therapy to help bring your levels into baseline ranges. When you start testosterone replacement therapy, our team performs ongoing monitoring to help evaluate how your TRT treatment plan is working. In some cases, we may adjust your dosage to help you maintain healthy testosterone levels and to help reduce symptoms of low testosterone.
Also, if bone density mass is a concern, we’ll work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan outside of testosterone replacement therapy. We may also recommend diet changes or vitamin supplements to help you receive the calcium and vitamin D you need for healthy bones. Additionally, we may recommend a weight-bearing exercise regimen to help you retain bone mass.
At Low T Center, we focus on total men’s wellness. Our team is here to help you address your whole health to help you feel your best. We make men’s health care convenient, accessible, and affordable so you can start your path toward better short- and long-term health. Schedule an appointment for a comprehensive health assessment today to discuss your symptoms and learn how we can help you improve your wellness.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.