Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a medical treatment where a synthetic male hormone is provided or administered by a specialized health center as a result of a clinical laboratory deficiency of the sex hormone in the blood. Testosterone replacement treatment is intended to replace a person’s natural level of testosterone with synthetic testosterone so as to relieve his hormonal insufficiency. But is testosterone therapy right for you, how affordable is it, and are Low-T clinics putting patients in danger?
The aim of this article is to provide my formal assessment of TRT clinics as a whole with the possibility or intention of instituting change. My evaluation of testosterone clinics come from 5 years of patient experience and dealings with men’s health clinics and Low T Centers. My intention to supplement myself with synthetic testosterone has always been to restore my testosterone level to a normal laboratory reference range.
My review of testosterone therapy clinics is not positive, although my analysis is more optimistic than medical care given to a patient from a local medical professional or general practitioner. Anyway, this is my formal review of testosterone replacement therapy clinics.
Is testosterone therapy right for you?
Testosterone therapy, sometimes called androgen replacement therapy is used to treat low testosterone levels, which occur with age or because of a medical condition. The normal ‘total testosterone’ laboratory reference range in males is 270-1070 ng/dL.
But a mans total testosterone value isn’t what’s most important. That’s because 97% of the testosterone circulating throughout the body is bound to albumin or sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG). The 3% that's left is termed “free testosterone”, which should be 0.3 to 2 pg/mL, or 0.1 to 0.3 percent of your total bound testosterone level. Free testosterone is what makes you feel like a man. It provides the necessary development and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics, muscle growth, spermatogenesis, and most importantly in men, libido.
A laboratory test is the most important blood test for detecting low testosterone. The most popular testosterone test is one that measures a man’s testosterone, total and free; and sex hormone binding globulin. The test cost $57 at ultawellness.com. The lab tests can be ordered on line without a doctor referral (in most states) or insurance needed.
If your testosterone level results are mid-range but you have symptoms of low testosterone, it could indicate a condition of disease, such as estrogen dominance, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, thyroid problems or heart disease. Low-T symptoms can result from common deficiencies or illnesses, such as obesity, poor nutrition or sleep deprivation. If you live an unhealthy lifestyle, no amount of testosterone replacement therapy will make you feel good. It is my recommendation that you fix your lifestyle before going to a testosterone replacement clinic.
Testosterone therapy clinics are expensive!
Because testosterone is regulated, prescription-only mediation, schedule III controlled substance according to the Anabolic Steroids Control Act. Doctors are in fear of prescribing the medication. When they do prescribe it, it’s usually nothing more than testosterone gel, which is highly ineffective and expensive, especially without health insurance.
It is disheartening that so many medical doctors refuse to treat an abnormally low level of testosterone caused by certain medical conditions simply because of the controversy surrounding testosterone therapy. Physicians’ legal duty should be to relieve suffering with an adequate and affordable dosage of testosterone. It is their lack of responsibility that lead people like me into financial crisis and the dangers of being overmedicated by going to a clinic.
Testosterone clinics cost a lot of money. The role of testosterone clinics goes far beyond the practice of giving just testosterone to treat conditions in which the testes produce insufficient amounts. It’s a businesses like any other where maximum profits is the game. So when you go to a testosterone clinic for therapy, their aim is to sell you a thousand different medications or supplements you don’t need. To justify the need for these unnecessary supplements, they ask you to get numerous blood panels and test for specific blood components. If any test result is on the low side of normal, they insist your buy their medication or their in-house pharmaceutical grade supplement at CRAZY inflated prices. If you refuse some or all of their recommendations, they won’t treat you.
If you don’t have health insurance, this might be a big problem, financially. Even if you live in a state that permits laboratory tests to be performed without a doctor’s order, it will still cost a lot of money. When you get your results back from the laboratory you need to schedule an appointment with the endocrinologist or nurse at the TRT clinic and have your results interpreted. The doctor will make his recommendations and pass it to the sales team. Depending on your results, they will most likely insist you take their in-house, over-the-counter supplements (which they insist are a higher quality than store bought brands), and medication of which they source form compounding pharmacies, also at highly inflated prices.
This is the cost of going to testosterone replacement clinic, give or take a few hundred dollars. The clinic will insist you buy all or almost all of these supplements and medications, most of which aren’t necessary. This list also includes the cost of bloodwork and the initial doctor consultation…
- Bloodwork = $400 to $1000
- Doctor consolation = $125 to $275
- Testosterone (medications and supplements) = $550 to $750
Total = 1,075 to 2,025
Keep in mind that one vial of 10ml 200mg generic bottle of injectable testosterone cypionate at Walgreens Pharmacy cost $42.44. Oh-my-freaking-GOD! Syringes needed to inject testosterone cost $11.55. The cost of bloodwork without all the unnecessary blood panels would cost $120 maximum. If regular doctors would do their damn job the average person who suffers from Low-T wouldn’t spend more than $175 every three to five months on testosterone replacement therapy.
But there’s a catch. Testosterone replacement clinics insist you take the maximum amount of their testosterone and supplements so that you need more of it. The more you buy from them the more money they make. Should a TRT clinic insist a person who has clinically low SHBG to inject 200mg of testosterone weekly? I think not!