The possibilities seem to be wonderful: you can increase your muscles, sharpen the memory and mental focus, boost your libido and
improve energy level. It may sound like the perfect anti-aging formula for men, but this kind of therapy is not very clear yet.
Testosterone therapy was successful for those men having abnormally low testosterone level. This is called male hypogonadism.
Recently enough, healthy and aging men were taking this hormone for boosting testosterone levels. But true to say, scientists don't
know all the effects it may have for the health. And there were no studies researching the benefits against possible risks, like
infertility and prostate problems - all natural male enhancement pills.
However, the popularity of this kind of therapy is growing among the men. There were made 2, 2 million testosterone prescriptions
in 2003, which is twice bigger than it was in 2000. Despite the evident popularity, there are no data who (men or women) and for
what purposes is filling these prescriptions.
First of all, the main point of debates is whether waning of the hormone levels is a natural thing or it is a sign of health
condition. And doctors and their patients should decide whether to treat it or not. And before buying something, you should define
what is best for you and your health, and to make this decision you have to find out all the known and unknown facts about this
The natural decline of testosterone
When a man is 40 years old, his body produces about 1% less testosterone each year. Testosterone is the main male hormone that
maintains muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass, sperm production, sex drive, and potency.
The influence of testosterone.
The male hormone testosterone plays an important role in the development ...
Many scientists call this progressive decline of hormones "male menopause" or "andropause" and equate it to women's menopause. But
this is not an equal comparison, because in women ovulation ceases and female hormone production plummets over a relatively short
time frame. While in men there is a gradual decline in the production of male hormones.
In most cases, though naturally changing in the amount of testosterone, the level of this hormone still remains within the normal
rate during the lifetime of the man. Thus, it does not cause any serious problem. But about 2 in 10 men at the age of 60 and older
this rate is lower than the normal one. This is called testosterone deficiency.
Some effects of testosterone deficiency on the body:
- Decreased energy
- Reduced muscle mass and strength
- Decreased cognitive function
- Less sexual interest or potency
- Depressed mood
Even if you have these signs or symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have testosterone deficiency. It may also be caused
by some diseases, like liver disease, hypothyroidism and depression. It may be caused by some medications as well: beta blockers,
pain killers and certain drugs for depression or anxiety. Also, it may be caused by natural process of aging, when there is a
declining of hormones, but not testosterone.
If you have some of these signs or symptoms, you should consult your doctor, who will help you to determine the possible cause and
prescribe the most suitable treatment.
Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks
In hypogonadal men, testosterone therapy can restore sexual function and muscle strength and prevent bone loss. Also, some men
taking testosterone therapy report an increase in energy, sex drive and well-being.
Some anti-aging enthusiasts claim that increasing the level of testosterone in older and healthy men provides these same benefits.
But men should be aware that it is not good enough for all the men. If you take a high dose of testosterone, you may have sleeping
problems, infertility and excess blood production. In its turn it increases the risk of stroke. Also, high testosterone levels may
have a negative influence on prostate, a small male gland that produces most of the fluids in semen.
Testosterone is a hormone which naturally stimulates the growth of the prostate. Long-term testosterone treatment could cause
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — enlargement of the prostate gland. Also, doctors say that high testosterone therapy may fuel
the growth of prostate cancer when there is any. And this needs special attention, as prostate cancer is rather common among older
men and many of them live with this disease unaware of its existence.
To carefully weigh the potential pros and cons for you, consider the following:
- Improve muscle mass and strength
- Increase bone mineral density
- Thicken hair and skin
- Improve sex drive
- Boost energy
- Decrease irritability and depression
- Improve cognitive function
- Cause or aggravate sleep apnea (brief, repeated cessation of breathing during sleep)
- Stimulate noncancerous (benign) growth of the prostate and cause or worsen urinary symptoms
- Stimulate the growth of prostate cancer that's already present
- Enlarge breasts (gynecomastia)
- Limit sperm production
- Stimulate excess blood production (polycythemia)
- Cause acne
We should say that not only men try to define the benefits and risks of this therapy. For many years, women have struggled with the
decision whether to take hormone for treating menopausal symptoms. And women usually paid their attention to the scientific facts as
far as advantages and disadvantages are concerned. Doctors say that men should follow women's experience.
It is already known that taking hormone therapy might protect postmenopausal women from heart disease. But studied carefully, it
was found out that scientists cannot predict all the potential harmful effects of taking hormone therapy, even though it seems to be
beneficial from the first glance.
Who should take testosterone therapy?
Testosterone therapy is clearly beneficial for men whose testicles fail to produce sufficient levels of testosterone
(hypogonadism). For this group of men, it can restore sexual function and muscle strength and prevent bone loss.
But there were not enough studies for healthy, aging men. And those researchers, which were made in this sphere, give controversial
results. Still there are many unanswered questions, mostly concerned the potential risks and possible benefits, like extent and
duration of of the beneficial effects, which men might have.
Some researchers gave the results that testosterone therapy is appropriate for those men who produce little or no testosterone.
Scientists warn that the effects on the healthy men are not known. And they also say that this kind of therapy should not be used
for preventing or relieving physical or psychological effects of aging.
The debate continues
There's no doubt that there appear some emotional and physical challenges as the man gets older and older. And his body is affected
by everything surrounding him, like work, home, changes inside his body. If you think that you might have hormone deficiency, you
should talk to your doctor. If the level of your testosterone is below normal rate, you may need to take supplementary hormone. But
we will say once again that all the potential risks and benefits are still unknown.