Treating low testosterone levelsTestosterone is a hormone that is necessary for proper muscular development and masculinity. Testosterone is made in the testes testicles. Women also have testosterone, but in low t treatment smaller amounts than in men. If testosterone levels are below normal, a doctor may prescribe one of several types of treatments. However, there is debate about who needs to be treated. Low t treatment levels decrease as men age. Sometimes this lower level of testosterone is termed "andropause" or "male menopause.
Treating low testosterone levels - Harvard Health
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. The male hormone testosterone plays an important role in the development and maintenance of typical masculine physical characteristics, such as muscle mass and strength, and growth of facial and body hair.
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 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. 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. Testosterone therapy can help reverse the effects of hypogonadism, but it's unclear whether testosterone therapy would have any benefit for older men who are otherwise healthy.
Although some men believe that taking testosterone medications may help them feel younger and more vigorous as they age, few rigorous studies have examined testosterone therapy in men who have healthy testosterone levels. And some small studies have revealed mixed results. For example, in one study healthy men who took testosterone medications increased muscle mass but didn't gain strength.
In addition, testosterone therapy may impact your risk of heart disease. Research has had conflicting results, so the exact risk isn't clear yet. If you wonder whether testosterone therapy might be right for you, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits.
Your doctor will likely measure your testosterone levels at least twice before discussing whether testosterone therapy is an option for you. A medical condition that leads to an unusual decline in testosterone may be a reason to take supplemental testosterone.
However, treating normal aging with testosterone therapy is not currently advisable. Your doctor will also likely suggest natural ways to boost testosterone, such as losing weight and increasing muscle mass through resistance exercise. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Potential benefits and risks as you age Considering testosterone therapy to help you feel younger and more vigorous as you age? By Mayo Clinic Staff. References Bhasin S, et al. Testosterone therapy in men with androgen deficiency syndromes: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Testosterone replacement therapy faces FDA scrutiny. Journal of the American Medical Association. Longo DL, et al. Disorders of the testes and male reproductive system In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. The McGraw-Hill Companies; Overview of testosterone deficiency in older men.
AUA position statement on testosterone therapy. Association of testosterone therapy with mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke in men with low testosterone levels. FDA adding general warning to testosterone products about potential for venous blood clots. Food and Drug Administration. Nippoldt T expert opinion. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Takahashi PY expert opinion. See also Pre-ejaculation fluid and pregnancy Birth control options Cancer treatment for men: Possible sexual side effects Discolored semen: What does it mean?
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