Can You Abruptly Stop Taking Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a regimen for men with low levels of testosterone. Usually prescribed to older men, the treatment includes injection or gel forms of testosterone to restore normal levels of the hormone, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and it has many effects on your body. It is made in the testicles — testosterone is needed to make sperm — and is important for sexual development and functionality, explains the Urology Care Foundation.

As men age, many things change, including testosterone levels. However, research has shown that age by itself does not lower testosterone, explains WebMD. It's more of a consequence of other illnesses that happen to men as they get older, like cardiovascular disease. Still, if you are diagnosed with low testosterone, your doctor may prescribe a TRT regimen. Low testosterone is defined as having less than 300ng/dL and a simple blood test called a serum testosterone test can determine your levels, according to Healthline. But what happens if you abruptly stop taking TRT?

Do not stop any medical treatment without speaking to your doctor

Like any medical treatment prescribed by your doctor, it can be dangerous to abruptly stop taking it. The treatment is meant to be taken for a prescribed amount of time. Testosterone Replacement Therapy is no different. Since testosterone plays such an important role in the male body, suddenly ceasing TRT can be a shock to your body, according to Premiere Wellness. TRT is supposed to be done indefinitely and is not a cure for low testosterone. Once you stop, your symptoms of low testosterone may return, explains WebMD.

Of course, stopping TRT may be preferable to the potential side effects. TRT can worsen sleep apnea, cause acne, limit sperm production and shrink the testicles, and may contribute to blood clots, explains Mayo Clinic. However, even if you feel like the side effects are worse than the benefits of TRT, no changes should be made to your TRT regimen without the consultation of your doctor. There are also natural ways to increase testosterone levels if TRT does not appeal to you.