Good News Or Bad?
On average, men lose about 1% of their testosterone annually starting at around age 40.1 In addition to age, testosterone levels can also drop dramatically as a result of diseases like diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, medication and more.
Some of the reported impacts on men with lower testosterone levels can include mood changes, reduced muscle, and a loss of bone strength. Having been someone who had his testosterone lowered prior to radiation treatment, I can attest to the impact of mood swings and in my case significant weight gain.
Typically, men can maintain acceptable levels of testosterone if they keep themselves in shape and make a commitment to exercise. Doing so generally leads to a slower decline in testosterone levels.
Considering testosterone replacement therapy
However, if you are exposed to any form of media, chances are high that you will see countless advertisements touting the many benefits of testosterone replacement therapy.
One of the problems with replacement testosterone treatment, including those that rely on over-the-counter solutions, is that you can experience both negative and positive effects. Several men in our support group tried replacement treatments and found that they were experiencing increased heart rate and rapid palpitation. Some reported the reactions were significant enough that several stopped.
Others noted they were on rollercoaster ride with significant swings with energy, sex drive, and mood. One fellow was using a prescribed low dose medical patch and found it too was just too much to take after a few months.
Making other life changes
In the end, most (not all) agreed that a natural solution appeared to have the best outcome. To increase testosterone levels, several resolved to get more exercise, lose weight and make a change in diet. Several also looked at the medications they were taking and asked their doctors if the drugs had an impact on testosterone levels.
Trying to turn back the clock
Today many men look at testosterone replacement and ask themselves if it is a way to turn back the clock. While testosterone replacement can increase muscle strength and mass, apparently there are no indications that the increases translate to improved performance or athletic ability.2
The same may be true for those looking at testosterone replacement therapy in the hope that it could improve memory. Some researchers have looked into potential links but found little evidence.3 There are some indications testosterone replacement can improve sexual drive in older men when testosterone levels are low.4
Talking to your doctor
It always makes sense to speak with your physician about the impact of a certain medications on your testosterone level. The American Journal of Medicine found that men over 45 years of age with lower testosterone levels had a greater risk for heart attacks and strokes within the first couple of years of replacement therapy.5
There are also some concerns (although not proven) that patients who have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer consider refraining from taking testosterone. While no one to date has reported a direct link between testosterone replacement therapy and prostate cancer, many of the urologists I have spoken with suggest that it may not be a good idea.
If you are still interested in testosterone replacement therapy, speak with your doctor and have some testing done. In the end, keep in mind that the Jury is still out on this one.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?