October 15th, 2014
The study of the use of exogenous (or supplemental) testosterone has been widely documented. Used by men of all ages for a variety of reasons, the systemic effects of testosterone supplementation are immense. Younger men use exogenous testosterone injections as a means of “bulking up” and adding more lean muscle mass. Older men which may experience a decrease in testosterone production may use testosterone injections as a means of hormone replacement therapy.
As men age, their body’s production of testosterone may decrease. As a result, they may experience signs and symptoms of low testosterone, which may present itself similar to other disorders. When diagnosing low testosterone, certain blood tests need to be conducted in addition to a comprehensive medical history and physical exam.
It is important to note, however, that the use of testosterone supplementation does have associated side effects. One of the most notable is a decrease in the size and mass of the person’s testicles. Testosterone is created in our bodies, by cells in our testicles, as needed. Once exogenous testosterone is introduced into the body, the body detects the presence of this testosterone and, deeming the amount sufficient for the body’s needs, reduces the amount produced from the testicles. As the testicles produce less testosterone, the cells within the testicles degenerate in a process known as “atrophy.”
A reduction in testicular mass and size are consequently what is reported with the use of exogenous testosterone. Unfortunately, the effects of atrophy are rarely removable, as once the testicular cells have degenerated, they do not grow back. Therefore, as the cells degenerate, the amount of testosterone produced by the testicles permanently decreases. If you or someone you know is under supplemental testosterone treatment, have them consult with a doctor regarding the potential side effects, and options to help prevent them.