Is Testosterone Therapy Right for You? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 17, 2013

Is Testosterone Therapy Right for You?

Testosterone deficiency isn’t exactly an issue most men want to talk about. But considering the fact that testosterone replacement therapy has been in the spotlight lately due to the growing concern over abuse of the hormone, as well as the fact that June is Men’s Health Month, it’s a topic worth discussing.

Testosterone levels naturally begin to decline in men at age 30, but it can also be influenced by other factors including stress, alcohol abuse, and obesity. Aside from the more well-known benefits, testosterone also is important for maintaining muscle mass, reducing body fat, and improving bone health — and an increasing number of men are taking it to boost their libidos and feel younger. Since 2001, the number of prescriptions for the therapy has tripled.

Yes, hormones are necessary for maintaining our health, and testosterone is no exception. However, this particular type of hormone therapy is only recommended for those with abnormally low levels of testosterone, which is identified from a simple blood test. Long-term risks of hormone therapy are currently unknown, but some immediate ones include acne, fluid retention, breast enlargement, reduced sperm counts, sleep apnea, increased aggression and mood swings, higher risk of heart disease and prostate cancer, and more.  

Unfortunately, it seems as though a lot of men might be exposing themselves to these risks unnecessarily. A recent study discovered that a quarter of the men prescribed with testosterone never received a blood test before starting the therapy. Additionally, they also estimated that only a third of men ages 40 to 79 actually have the deficiency.

For those with deficiencies, hormone therapy has become a godsend, allowing men to finally treat common issues that can threaten their overall well-being. And many are reaching out to their doctors for some assistance… whether they truly need it or not.

While a blood test is the only way to determine whether testosterone therapy is needed, men are also considered candidates for the treatment if they experience symptoms of testosterone deficiency, including: 

  • Loss of sex-drive
  • Depression
  • Decreased sense of well-being
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased muscle mass and increased body fat
  • Changes in cholesterol and lipid levels
  • Decrease in body hair
  • Osteoporosis
  • Decreases in hemoglobin

To find a Crozer-Keystone doctor who is right for you, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258).

Reviewed by Thomas Yuen, M.D., of the Crozer-Keystone Center for Family Health in Springfield. Dr. Yuen can be reached at (610) 690-4490 for an appointment.

 

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