What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a steroid hormone which exists in many animals and also in humans. This hormone is normally produced in the testes of the male, and the ovaries of the female. There are various treatments for treating Testosterone like oral medications, injections and gels. Any individual who is suffering from Testosterone also needs to understand the side effects that are caused by these treatments. While both men and women can be affected by Testosterone, there are several factors, which can be considered before going ahead with the treatment of the same. If the patient is suffering from breast cancer or prostate cancer, then it is not right for the individual to go in for a Testosterone therapy. Consulting a medical practitioner for a counseling session before the treatment will be helpful to understand more about the treatment effects and the proper care which needs to be taken by the patient.
The treatment can make the cancer cells grow faster, and this can also be risky to the patient's life. Hence, it is important for the patient to know the various side effects which are caused by the treatments of testosterone. There are also various other side effects which are to be known.
Side effects of Testosterone treatment:
Fluid retention is a common side effect in the early stages of the Testosterone therapy. This occurs in men and most commonly with the older men than the younger ones. The fluid retention can also cause ankle and leg swelling in older men. This also occurs along with the increase in blood pressure or it can even result in heart failure. The chances are high when the patient has a history of a heart ailment. This is known to be a short term side effect in many of the cases.
If the patient is under oral treatment of Testosterone, there can also be signs of Liver Toxicity. There are no such side effects it the patient is undergoing a treatment of transdermal Testosterone replacement. Even the drug manufacturer also mentions the possible liver problems when using the oral medications. Hence, such medicines are not to be taken without a physician’s advice.
Fertility problems can also arise when undergoing the therapy. This is most common in men again as the sperm production is majorly dependent on the Testosterone production by the testes. If external Testosterone included into the body for the treatment, then the production decreases by the testes thus causing fertility problems like low sperm count etc. Excessive usage of the medication can also lead to a complete shutdown of the sperm production. Younger men who are undergoing this treatment should take this into consideration and look out for any other alternative method for the treatment. Taking extreme care when starting any treatment for Testosterone is extremely helpful for the patient.
Another majorly seen side effect, which occurs in the treatment of Testosterone, is Sleep apnea. This is a condition where the patient stops to breathe for periods in between when asleep. This can worsen the medical condition of the individual and can also lead to other complications. If, the Testosterone count increases in the body, the possibility of sleep apnea also increases and there are also studies which show that these symptoms are less in older men.
Enlargement of breasts can also be seen in some older men suffering from Testosterone. This happens due to the conversion of Testosterone to estrogen during the treatment. Individuals can also experience tender breasts due to the same reason. This side effect can be overcome by decreasing the dosage of the Testosterone.
The patients can also suffer from Polycythemia. This is the symptom where there is an increase in the Red Blood Cell concentration. This is the one of the most influential and commonly seen side effect in patients undergoing treatment for Testosterone. There is also an increase in the hemoglobin levels and shows up in older men. The symptom of Polycythemia can also cause heart related complications like heart attacks, strokes or even cl0tting in the veins. The dosage can be decreased, or the patient can also donate the blood so that the blood cell mass decreases to avoid any serious heart complications.
There is also an increase in prostate, and this has a negative effect on men in many ways. The prostate can also increase in size and is medically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia and, this causes problems with urination. If the person is suffering from any cancerous disease, then this tends to increase the growth of these cells. Prostate cancer is widely known to be the second most cause of cancer deaths in older men.
In most of the above side effects, the Testosterone levels can be decreased to treat the complications which arise during the treatment. Most of the studies do show that there has been no increase in the prostate size or change of urine flow rates, and it states that the Testosterone therapy has extremely low short term effects, but there has been no data when it comes to the long term effects of the same.
Some of the recent studies also show conflicting results stating that Testosterone is crucial in maintaining the cardiovascular health of an individual. Some of the parameters which are known to improve are the lean body mass, decrease in visceral fat mass, decrease in total cholesterol of the body, and also control over the glycemic levels. If the Testosterone levels are slightly more than average, they are less prone to symptoms like high blood pressure, heart attack and are also extremely less affected by obesity. The change in Testosterone levels is known to affect the brain, which mostly occurs due to the sexual differentiation and this differs in men and women. The Testosterone treatment always needs to be conducted with the supervision of the physician. Proper medication needs to be taken depending on the existing health condition of the patient to avoid any further risk.
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