A person’s body produces lesser testosterone around the age of 40. Lesser testosterone levels are correlated to decrease in muscle strength, insulin resistance, and poor cognitive performance. Due to these reasons more and more men are turning towards testosterone therapy. However, the therapy has its known set of risks and benefits. The following article looks upon some of these points.
The testosterone therapy seems a great solution to increase muscle mass, sharpen the memory and mental focus, boost libido, and improve energy levels. However, the benefits of this therapy to treat age-related problems in men still needs proper research. Testosterone is the primary androgenic hormone responsible for normal growth and development of male sex organs and maintenance of secondary sex characteristics. Dr. Todd Nippoldt, M.D., Mayo Clinic Rochester said: “We just can’t predict all the potential harmful effects of taking hormones even though on the surface they may seem beneficial.”
The classical testosterone therapy is administrated as a treatment to men with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism), but lately healthy aging men have started taking this therapy thinking it to be the ultimate anti-aging formula.
Although this has a sound logic, there have not been extensive long-term studies on this subject. Therefore, the therapy must be looked at taking into consideration various side effects behind the evident positive effects. Even if there in not enough research on this subject, the possible risks of testosterone therapy include prostate problems and infertility.
To check whether your testosterone level is lower than normal, have it tested by your doctor. This can be done by performing a blood test. There are some common symptoms that show a possible low testosterone level, but they can be misinterpreted. Therefore, it is recommended to have test done before you decide on whether you need this kind of therapy or not.
The possible changes that occur in the body due to testosterone deficiency are:
1. Decrease in muscle mass and strength, with an increase in body fat.
2. Changes in cholesterol levels
3. Decrease in hemoglobin and possibly mild anemia
4. Fragile bones (osteoporosis)
5. Decrease in body hair
6. Changes in cholesterol and lipid levels
7. Decreased energy
8. Less sexual interest or potency
9. Depressed mood
If you’re experiencing the aforementioned signs and symptoms, then consult your doctor. This way you can get the proper help and he can determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan.
The possible benefits and risks of testosterone therapy are mentioned here.
– restore sexual function
– prevent bone loss, and increase bone mineral density
– protect against heart diseases (atherosclerosis)
– improve muscle mass and strength
– thicken body hair and skin
– improve sexual desire
– boost energy
– decrease irritability and depression
– improve cognitive function
– stimulate noncancerous (benign) growth of the prostate
– stimulate growth of prostate cancer that’s already present
– enlarge breasts (gynecomastia)
– stimulate growth of breast cancer that’s already present
– cause testicle shrinkage (testicular atrophy)
– limit sperm production (infertility)
– stimulate excess blood production (polycythemia, that can lead to stroke)
– skin reactions
– fluid retention
– cause or aggravate sleep apnea (brief, repeated cessation of breathing during sleep)
Make sure you find out what’s known and not known about testosterone therapy before you start using it, so that you can make the best decision for you and your long-term health.