Are you at the age where you are already considering this therapy in helping you feel younger and more vigorous than before? Knowing the risks involved before deciding can be very crucial. As men age, having testosterone therapy might sound promising. However, given the situation, there are many misconceptions about what and how the treatment can and cannot do for you.
In general, having low testosterone levels is a common imbalance in hormones between men and women alike. This condition has no vivid and noticeable signs or symptoms that tell you this issue is already progressing. Experiencing symptoms like having low energy and low libido, fatigue, erectile and sexual dysfunctions, decreased muscle mass, body, and facial hair loss, depression, poor concentration, and irritability, decreased motivation or drive towards life goals, or poor mental clarity may all be brought about by having low blood testosterone levels.
Nowadays, this therapy might present itself as that of an ultimate anti-aging formula. But the relationship between the health benefits of testosterone therapy and age-related decline in testosterone level is not that quite so clear cut still. Don’t worry. Today, we find out the known — and not-so-known — facts about testosterone therapy for normal aging and help you decide whether or not to consider it.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone therapy involves testosterone, hence, its name. Testosterone is a male hormone produced primarily in the male reproductive organ, the testicles. It helps maintain male:
- Sperm production
- Sexual drive
- Growth of facial and body hair
- Development of muscle strength and mass
- Distribution of fat
- Bone density
- Red blood cell production
What happens to testosterone levels with age?
In general, testosterone levels reach their climax during the periods of adolescence and early adulthood. As men get older, their testosterone levels slowly and gradually decline — with an average of about 1% yearly after 30 or 40. For older men, it is essential to determine if the low testosterone level you are experiencing is caused by normal aging or if it is caused by a disease known as hypogonadism.
Hypogonadism is a condition that hinders men’s ability to produce the average amounts of testosterone due to an issue with the function of their testicles or with a bigger picture. This pituitary gland controls not only the testicles but other hormonal glands in the body, having the problem. Testosterone therapy, also commonly known as testosterone replacement therapy, through injections, patches, pellets, or gels, can help improve these men’s signs and symptoms.
Do testosterone levels naturally decline result in the signs and symptoms of aging?
Nope, not necessarily. Men can experience and have a lot of signs and symptoms as they get older. Some signs and symptoms that can occur resulting from having lower levels can include:
- Changes in sexual drive and function. This symptom might include reducing sexual desires, having fewer spontaneous erections, especially during sleep, and infertility.
- Physical changes. Different physical changes are quite possible, such as an increase in body fat, a reduction in the body’s muscle bulk and strength, and a decrease in bone density. Swollen or tender breasts, a condition known as gynecomastia, and loss of body hair are also possibilities. In addition, having less energy than you used to can also be considered part of this section.
- Emotional changes. Having low levels of testosterone can contribute to decreased self-esteem, motivation, or self-confidence. One might experience feeling sad or depressed or find themselves troubled in though concentration or remembrance.
Some of these known signs and symptoms can be brought about by other factors like side effects of medication, obstructive sleep apnea, problems in the thyroid, having diabetes, and depression. A blood test can be used in the diagnosis of having a low testosterone level. It can also be possible that these conditions result in low testosterone levels, so treatment and testosterone therapy might be the best option for increasing one’s testosterone levels.
Does testosterone therapy promote youthfulness and vitality?
Testosterone therapy can contribute to the reversal of the effects of hypogonadism. However, it is still quite unclear whether sessions of therapy would benefit older men, compared to younger ones, who are otherwise healthy.
Although a common misconception between men believing that they can feel younger and more vigorous when they take medications, there is still little evidence to support the use of testosterone in otherwise healthy men. The American College of Physicians provided guidelines that indicate the possibility of this therapy in improving sexual functions somewhat in some men. But then again, little evidence proves that this therapy helps improve other processes like vitality and energy.
What are the risks involved in testosterone therapy for normal aging?
Testosterone therapy has different risks involved to it, including:
- Worsening of sleep apnea conditions is a potentially severe sleep disorder wherein breathing is repeatedly stopped and continuously started.
- Resulting in acne or other skin reactions.
- Stimulating noncancerous growth and development of the prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, and the evolution of existing prostate cancer.
- Breasts are becoming enlarged.
- Limiting the sperm production or causing testicles to shrink down to an abnormal size uncontrollably.
- Stimulating too much production of red blood cells contributes to the increased risk of blood clot formation. When a clot could potentially break loose, it can travel through the bloodstream and lodge itself in the lungs, eventually blocking blood flow. This condition is called pulmonary embolism.
In addition, some research indicates that this therapy can increase the risk of having heart diseases. Albeit, more research is still needed to prove this claim.
Can talking to your doctor help you know more about testosterone therapy?
Yes, of course. Apparently, in all types of medical situations, talking with your doctor about procedures you would want to undergo is still the best thing to do before even trying anything. If you are already wondering whether testosterone therapy might be right for you, especially after reading this article today, talking with your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of undergoing this therapy can be crucial in the success or failure of this endeavor. Doctors will have the likelihood of measuring your testosterone levels at least twice before even recommending testosterone therapy.
Final Thoughts on Therapy
The treatment of normal aging with the help of this therapy is not highly-recommended and advisable. In that case, your doctor might recommend and suggest more natural ways to boost your testosterone levels, including weight loss and muscle mass increase and development through resistance exercise. In the end, whether with therapy or not, or through other means, you will decide what will be best for yourself, with the help and guidance of professional medical experts, of course.
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