Testosterone Therapy: Separating Fact from Fiction
Testosterone therapy is becoming increasingly popular among men with low levels of the hormone. However, there is much confusion and misinformation about the therapy, leaving many individuals unsure of whether it is a safe and effective treatment. This article seeks to separate fact from fiction in regards to testosterone therapy.
What is Testosterone Therapy?
Testosterone therapy is a medical intervention that involves administering testosterone to patients with low levels of the hormone. Testosterone is an important hormone that regulates male physical characteristics such as muscle mass, bone density, and body fat distribution. It also plays a role in sex drive and erections. Testosterone levels decrease naturally as men age, but factors such as obesity, diabetes, and chronic opioid use can also lead to low testosterone levels.
Fiction: Testosterone Therapy is Dangerous
One of the most common myths about testosterone therapy is that it is dangerous. This is largely due to a small number of studies that have reported an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in men who use testosterone therapy. However, the overwhelming majority of studies have found no such risks. In fact, testosterone therapy has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol levels, and increase insulin sensitivity.
Fact: Testosterone Therapy Can Increase Red Blood Cell Count
One real risk associated with testosterone therapy is an increase in red blood cell count. This can lead to a condition called polycythemia, which can cause blood clots and an increased risk of stroke. To avoid this risk, patients receiving testosterone therapy should have their red blood cell count monitored regularly.
Fiction: Testosterone Therapy Causes Prostate Cancer
Another common myth regarding testosterone therapy is that it causes prostate cancer. However, there is no evidence to suggest that testosterone therapy causes prostate cancer. In fact, some studies have suggested that testosterone therapy may actually reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Fact: Testosterone Therapy Can Cause Acne and Other Side Effects
While testosterone therapy is generally safe, it can cause some side effects. Acne is a common side effect of testosterone therapy, especially in younger men. Other potential side effects include mood changes, sleep apnea, breast enlargement, and a decrease in testicle size.
Testosterone therapy can be an effective treatment for men with low testosterone levels. While there are some risks associated with the therapy, the overwhelming majority of studies suggest that it is safe and can provide numerous health benefits. Patients considering testosterone therapy should speak with their healthcare provider about the potential benefits and risks, and have their red blood cell count monitored regularly.