It is tough to turn on the TV these days and not see an advertisement for testosterone replacement therapy at some point. Getting more popular by the minute, testosterone replacement therapy promises to help men who suffer from low testosterone, or low T, to gain back the chemical that made them the men they were in their glory days. However, despite the growing popularity, there is little evidence to suggest that this treatment works and is worth the risks associated.
Testosterone treatment promises to give men more energy, the libido of a 20-year-old, and ability to have the muscle definition they once showed off. However, these results come with hefty risks. The two most common and deadly side effects of testosterone treatment are prostate cancer and heart attack.
Low T Therapy Risks May Outweigh Benefits
In some men, testosterone can cause blood veins to constrict, which creates blood clots. Depending on where the blood clot occurs, this can cause pulmonary embolism or a stroke. Testosterone can also cause men’s red blood cell count to increase, making doctors recommend men on testosterone therapy give blood every few months.
When men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, they are given androgen blockers that suppress male hormones. These blockers help the over productive prostate to slow down and ensure a man’s cancer doesn’t worsen. With testosterone therapy, however, men receive extra dosages of hormones that can often lead to prostate cancer.
Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death among men, and a common side effect of testosterone treatment. In 2013, researchers noted that when compared to men who are not taking hormone replacements, men who take testosterone increased their risk of a heart attack by 30%.
Low testosterone treatment centers, including the Low T Center chain of clinics, claim that the rewards of testosterone treatment are worth the small risks. They claim that their centers regularly test men before they receive their treatment, ensuring their bodies can handle the hormone therapy. Centers like this claim that the positive results are easy to see, and that the reward of feeling and looking younger far outweigh the risks, even if that risk is death in some cases.
Low T is an actual medical condition called hypogonadism. Hypogonadism can be both secondary, where it the pituitary gland stops telling testicles to make testosterone, and primary, where the testicles stop producing testosterone. Hypogonadism affects roughly 7% of men under the age of 60, and 20% over the age of 60, despite advertisements for Low T treatment saying it is a common thing. Doctors believe men should only seek out testosterone therapy if they have hypogonadism or defective testicles, meaning sometimes men are just aging and don’t need to get injections or take pills.
The battle of whether or not Low T therapy and treatments should continue is far from over. On one side, doctors believe men just age naturally and losing hormones happens to everyone, just as it does to women. On the other side, Low T treatment clinics and drug producers believe that this is an issue men can and need to solve.
Before doing any sort of drastic treatment that alters the chemical make up of your body, go to your doctor for a full evaluation. You may be one of the unlucky ones whose body responds negatively to these treatments. For the most part, is it worth the risks to try to still bench more than 200lbs?