Testosterone therapy: Big boost or big hype?

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on May 23rd, 2014
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You may have seen ads from a Louisville clinic called Body Shapes, singing the praises of testosterone therapy. One features a man saying, "I get up in the morning and I'm ready to go, I'm zippity do-dah." In another, a muscular man says "I'm stronger, I'm faster, I've got more passion, more energy, and I'm happier than ever."

Dr. Elizabeth Bates was an internal specialist for 13 years. She says she left traditional medicine to work for Body Shapes after discovering that testosterone therapy could do what medications could not do -- including a boost in the bedroom.

"It definitely improves sexual performance and interest, it improves mental clarity. Many people who have foggy brains will find that's lifted once their on testosterone. It definitely improves mood. Many times we're able to actually pull people off their anti-depressants, because their mood is so improved," she said.

And Bates says more than 95 percent of patients see not just a small improvement, but a complete life changing transformation. She even says testosterone can do what Cialis and Viagra can't.

"Testosterone is what drives sex drive, erections. So, if you get that level up and again replenish what is missing, people perform wonderfully."

Treatments come in three forms: a cream that needs to be applied twice a day; pellets that are implanted and last about three months; and shots that have to be given once a week.

Hopes of a new "shot" at youth have propelled testosterone therapy into a multi-billion dollar industry, with the number of patients growing by ten times in the last decade.

But, endocrinologist Stephen Winters, with University of Louisville physicians, says the effects of testosterone therapy can vary widely.

As far as claims of helping with erectile dysfunction, Winters says, "Very little. Really, drugs like Viagra and Cialis are much more effective treatments of erectile dysfunction. But, they're expensive."

But, there are concerns that testosterone could actually hurt you. There are questions about whether it could increase the likelihood of prostate cancer. And, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that men who had t-therapy were more likely to have heart problems.

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Testosterone therapy: Big boost or big hype?

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