January 12th, 2017
Testosterone levels decline gradually with advancing age due to a number of reasons. Depending upon the cause, testosterone levels respond to different type of therapies. In some men, testosterone can get back to normal levels by reducing extra pounds which can be done via healthier and physically active life style whereas some men will require testosterone replacement therapy. Sometimes, testosterone levels decline due to another underlying medical condition and treating that disease or problem can restore normal levels of testosterone. In United States, some doctors prescribe testosterone therapy (off-label) to treat low T related sexual problems in women.
Testosterone is administered in different ways, including:
To find out how well a person is responding to the given therapy, regular blood examination is required.
Testosterone replacement therapy is less likely to produce any adverse effects when given to treat male hypogonadism – a condition in which problems in pituitary gland or testicles restricts the body from secreting enough testosterone.
But, when given to boys with delayed puberty, it can stop the growth of bones and cause premature fusion which results in dwarfism. Therefore, adolescents must be examined after every 6 months for bone development.
Sometimes low T is due to the old age factor. In such case testosterone replacement therapy, can induce a number of side effects such as:
A safety alert regarding the use of testosterone replacement therapy due to age related low T was issued by FDA in March, 2015. Evidence suggests that men who use testosterone containing drugs have much higher risk of developing strokes, heart attacks and even death. Since there is much hype about testosterone replacement therapy and it is being used extensively without any appropriate reason, FDA recommends healthcare professionals to prescribe these drugs only when there is a medical condition leading to low T and it is confirmed via laboratorial tests.
If men experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain in chest, slurred speech or weakness on one side or part of body they should immediately seek medical help.
The testosterone therapy associated risks in women are not known much clearly however, it is thought to be linked with breast cancer (no decisive evidence). Getting in contact with towels, clothes or skin of a men using testosterone gels can harm women and children. Children if exposed to testosterone drugs may develop male secondary sexual characteristics i.e. enlargement of genitals, hair growth in pubic area, aggression and increased libido. While women when exposed to these drugs may get acne, irregular periods, body hair growth, male pattern baldness or other manly features. Its use is not safe during pregnancy or lactation. Since it is associated with birth defects, pregnant ladies should stay away from such products as much as possible and if they have contacted such preparations accidently, skin should be washed thoroughly with soapy water.
Testosterone replacement therapy is prohibited in following conditions:
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