If you’re afflicted with low testosterone, adding testosterone alone isn’t always the answer—we sometimes use hCG for low testosterone patients who experience specific side effects (or who are concerned about fertility).
Supplementary drugs like hCG can sometimes be necessary, and we may recommend hCG for low testosterone when the conditions are right, either alone or in combination with testosterone.
However, deciding on the right combination for you is a complicated process, and we may need to revise your individual therapy to ensure you’re getting precisely what you need.
The reason? Your body is an incredibly complex biological machine—and maintaining homeostasis is not a simple matter. Dozens of biological processes are occurring within your body at any given moment, and your hormones often play a crucial role within many of those processes.
Simply adding one hormone into the mix isn’t always the best way to alter a complex system (though it may indeed be).
And don’t forget—every person is different. What works for your coworker may not work for you. The differences between men and women are much more profound—and the proper hormone replacement therapy differs greatly between the sexes.
So, let’s talk a little about what hCG is (and why you might need it).
What is hCG and When Might It Be Used?
hCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (which is very different from HGH, or Human Growth Hormone). While hCG does occur naturally in the human body, it is generally only produced by women during pregnancy. In fact, it is the hormone your standard urine pregnancy test is looking for.
Still, the pituitary gland does produce an analog of hCG, known as luteinizing hormone (LH), which can be found in both men and women, and at any age.
In short, hCG is a naturally occurring hormone—but it has a very specific use within the realm of testosterone replacement therapy.
While injection therapy for low testosterone is our preferred method of addressing low testosterone, not everyone is a candidate—we might recommend hCG for low testosterone patients who are very conscious of risk to fertility (especially if you plan to have children in the future).
hCG can also be indicated for patients for whom testicular atrophy is an issue.
Using hCG for Low Testosterone Patients Who Need to Maintain Testicular Function
This is probably our most common use of hCG for low testosterone patients. Combining hCG with testosterone replacement therapy can help to maintain testicular function, as testosterone replacement therapy can decrease the brain’s hormonal stimulation to the testes, causing testicular atrophy.
There are two side effects of testosterone replacement therapy that often concern men the most—testicular atrophy and loss of fertility. While fertility can be maintained through the exclusive use of hCG, your testosterone levels will likely not be raised optimally.
Another reason this is uncommon is that, generally, men who are suffering from low testosterone are at a place in their life where they no longer worry about their fertility (or may actually want to eliminate the possibility of having another child).
Still, using only hCG for low testosterone is a possibility if you feel strongly that you want to maintain your fertility (known as hCG monotherapy). Most patients on hCG monotherapy self-administer the injections three times a week. It’s a rigorous schedule and not easy to maintain.
Much more common is combination therapy—an injection of hCG combined with your normal testosterone injection, once a week. This can curtail testicular atrophy, and it may have a small protective effect on fertility.
If Testicular Atrophy is a Problem, Discuss Adding hCG to Your TRT Regimen
hCG is not for everyone, but it may help you deal with some of the side effects of testosterone replacement therapy.