The most common reason men seek testosterone therapy is waning sexual desire or performance. However, when tested, more than 25% of the men had normal testosterone levels. Additionally, men with subnormal levels did not have libido or performance issues, so physicians are questioning the purpose of testosterone replacement therapy. Some physicians, will suggest a trial of topical testosterone therapy for up to a year to see if sexual function or other symptoms improve.
Physicians have used synthetic testosterone, for decades, to treat men whose hormone level is unambiguously low. Low testosterone levels or Hypogonadism, can be caused when the testes do not manufacture enough testosterone. It can also occur when the pituitary gland doesn’t signal the testes to generate the testosterone the body needs. There is a natural decline in testosterone as men age, so there is an increased usage in taking testosterone to reverse the age-related decline.
Monitor your Testosterone Levels
The symptoms of testosterone deficiency are very general and can be attributed to several other health issues. Symptoms include fatigue, depressed mood, diminished muscle mass, etc., so measuring testosterone levels is beneficial. In men over 65, the goal should be 300–450 ng/dL, the middle of the normal range for that age.
Monitoring for testosterone-dependent diseases is warranted: benign prostate enlargement and prostate cancer are the main concerns, but doctors should also check for worsening of sleep apnea, breast tenderness, and elevated red blood cell counts.
The National Institute of Health is continuously studying the effects of testosterone therapy in men and how it affects their overall health and wellness. A recent study, which was also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included a clinical trial of testosterone treatment in older men. The findings were that the treated men had a higher rate of adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and elevated blood pressure. The group of older men receiving testosterone gel compared to those receiving placebo had an increase of adverse events and the trial was stopped.
The researchers published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine and noted that the high hazardous outcome could have been because the study participants had high rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol However, this may be a realistic population for those currently receiving hormone therapy.
Testosterone Therapy – Ask Your Physician
Testosterone replacement therapy has been used for years and is recommended to be done under the direction of a physician. Physicians and patients, especially older men, should consider the adverse effects along with other information on the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy. Each person is different and responds differently, so it is best to be under the guide of a physician. Test your testosterone levels to be sure you need the therapy and also to see if the therapy is working.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.