With Testosterone Treatments Offering So Much – Just Why Are Experts Divided Over Their Use ?
Are They Worth The Risks?
It has been revealed that nearly $2 billion was spent on prescription testosterone treatments in the USA last year, a figure that has jumped dramatically over the past few years..
According to Bloomberg, these treatments have been sold to men aged between 50 and 70, many after highly persuasive TV campaigns that advise men to discuss the problem of Low Testosterone with their doctors..
The Adverts themselves have been the subject of much debate, generally telling men to go and seek treatment if they quite simply ‘Don’t feel like themselves anymore’..
The Drop In Testosterone
Testosterone is a natural hormone produced by the testes in men, it is also produced to a much lesser degree in the ovaries of women.
Symptoms of Low testosterone can be far reaching, hair loss, increased body fat, lack of sex drive, reduced muscle tone and even enlarged breasts (gynaecomastia).
Although the most common cause is simply getting older ( our testosterone levels naturally reduce by around 1% per year after we reach 30 and beyond) the problem can also be caused by Testicular injury, chemo or radiation therapy, diabetes, liver and kidney disease.
It has also been shown in some unusual studies that mens testosterone production can even change after memorable events in their lives ( the birth of a child for instance) – Read Study –
There are other opinions surrounding factors that can reduce testosterone… a study in Australia carried out over 5 years looked at 1400 men with an average age of 54.. it found a defined link between obesity, depression and reduced testosterone levels.. something that has led some experts to argue whether low testosterone would be better treated by general diet and if required, psychotherapy.. – Read Study –
Checking Testosterone Levels
A doctor will check your testosterone levels with a simple blood test… a man in his 20’s should expect to return a reading of between 300 to 1080 nano grams per decilitre of blood (ng/dl), a man in his 60’s would on the other hand, return a much lower reading of between 300 – 720 ng/dl.
If your test reveals readings of a lower amount, you will be diagnosed with very low testosterone (hypogonadism) and will most likely be referred to an Endocrinologist who will determine whether any form of supplementation or prescription treatment is required.
Prescription treatments usually come in the form of an injection, pill, gel or patch ( rather like the hormone replacement therapy patches worn by menopausal women) .
The Benefits and Risks Of Prescription Testosterone Treatments
There is no doubt that men who find that their energy levels and libido drop as they get older could benefit from testosterone boosting supplementation or treatment… there is no doubt that reversing the effects of time is very appealing, and these kinds of treatments do work in the majority of cases…There Have Been Risks Associated With These Treatments..
Problems such as sleep apnea, water retention, hypertension, hairloss, body acne, testicular atrophy, enlarged breasts ( gynaecomastia) prostate problems, heart issues and strokes.
A study carried out by the New England Journal Of Medicine – read the study highlighted cardiovascular problems experienced with some 200 men aged 65 and over after receiving treatment with a testosterone topical gel… The treatment provided some impressive results with most subjects enjoying increased ability to walk, climb stairs and perform exercise… on the down side, many of the men also suffered chest pain, and other cardiovascular ailments and because of this the trial was cut short..
Despite its worrying results, most experts do not worry too much about this particular trial, the test subjects were relatively frail who were given large doses of the treatment and although the results were worrying, as long as you do not have a history of cardiovascular problems, the general feeling is that you should be fine.. more studies are currently being undertaken..
Dr Shalender Bhasin – chief endocrinologist at Boston University School Of Medicine is more concerned with the sheer amount of testosterone treatments handed out by doctors..
He feels that doctors should take the patient more into consideration when suggesting these treatments, he tells us that many Doctors do not explain to the men in their care that prescription testosterone therapies may become a long term treatment, quite often, as a result of long term treatment these drugs can eventually stop the body from actually producing its own natural hormone… if for any reason they have to stop the testosterone treatments their body will be initially unable to make up the shortfall which could cause problems such as low vitality and withdrawal.