It is important to check hemoglobin and hematocrit levels in the blood of patients who are undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Hemoglobin is the substance that colors the blood red and helps transport oxygen in the blood. Hematocrit reflects the proportion of red cells to total blood volume. A hematocrit of over 52 percent should be evaluated. Decreasing the testosterone dose or stopping it are options that may not be the best for assuring patients' best quality of life. Switching from injectable to transdermal testosterone may decrease hematocrit, but in many cases not to the degree needed. Many patients who experience polycythemia do not want to stop therapy due to fears of experiencing depression, fatigue, and low sex-drive that they experienced before starting treatment. For those patients, therapeutic phlebotomy may be the answer.
Therapeutic phlebotomy is very similar to what happens when donating blood, but this procedure is prescribed by physicians as a way to bring down blood hematocrit and viscosity. A phlebotomy of one pint of blood will generally lower hematocrit by about 3 percent.
A Therapeutic Phlebotomy can be performed at the Defy Medical clinic or through our mobile phlebotomy service*.
*Not available in NY or RI.
Click here to read more about Therapeutic Phlebotomy.