Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you …

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Published on April 13th, 2015
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Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you age

Considering testosterone therapy to help you feel younger and more vigorous as you age? Know the risks before you make your decision.

The promise of testosterone therapy may seem enticing, but there are a lot of misconceptions about what the treatment can and can't do for you. As you get older, testosterone therapy may sound like the ultimate anti-aging formula.

Yet the health benefits of testosterone therapy for age-related decline in testosterone aren't as clear as they may seem. Find out what's known and not known about testosterone therapy for normal aging.

Testosterone is a hormone produced primarily in the testicles. Testosterone helps maintain men's:

Testosterone levels generally peak during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines typically about 1 percent a year after age 30 or 40. It is important to determine in older men if a low testosterone level is simply due to the decline of normal aging or if it is due to a disease (hypogonadism).

Hypogonadism is a disease in which the body is unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone due to a problem with the testicles or with the pituitary gland that controls the testicles. Testosterone replacement therapy can improve the signs and symptoms of low testosterone in these men. Doctors may prescribe testosterone as injections, pellets, patches or gels.

Not necessarily. Men can experience many signs and symptoms as they age. Some may occur as a result of lower testosterone levels and can include:

Some of these signs and symptoms can be caused by various underlying factors, including medication side effects, obstructive sleep apnea, thyroid problems, diabetes and depression. It's also possible that these conditions may be the cause of low testosterone levels, and treatment of these problems may cause testosterone levels to rise. A blood test is the only way to diagnose a low testosterone level.

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