The question as to whether testosterone treatments are safe is more than legitimate, given that this hormone may be intimately linked to the progression of prostate cancer. But in the absence of cancer, testosterone deficiency can manifest itself in several ways. This article is to enlighten you on the role and function of this hormone.
Testosterone is the most important male sex hormone (androgen). It is needed to maintain normal sexual and reproductive function in men. It contributes to physical changes during puberty such as the development of genitalia, beard and hair, voice changes, and the growth of all muscles.
Based on the Association des médecins endocrinologues du Québec (AMEQ), testosterone deficiency occurs when your body is unable to make enough testosterone to function normally. This is not a life-threatening condition, but it can affect your quality of life. Testosterone supplements are a treatment – in the form of injections, gels, lotions, patches or tablets – prescribed to men with a confirmed deficiency, under the supervision of a doctor. The goal is to reduce hormone levels to adequate levels.
Who does it affect?
Naturally, it decreases by about 1% per year from the age of 30. In addition, most men notice a difference in their sexual response from the age of 60 to 65.
People with diabetes are also at higher risk of testosterone deficiency. Genetic problems, a physical disability present at birth, taking anabolic steroids, being overweight, chronic illness or injury (trauma, surgery, etc.) can also cause a decrease in testosterone production in men.
The diagnosis of testosterone deficiency involves several steps:
- A detailed medical history
- A complete physical examination
- At least two blood tests taken early in the morning on two different days to measure hormone levels.
Please note that erectile dysfunction is more often caused by changes in the nerves or blood supply to the penis, as in men with diabetes. Psychological causes are also common. Low testosterone levels can lead to difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, but this is not a common cause.
Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer.
However, it can make existing prostate cancer worse and should not be prescribed. In addition, testosterone can cause the prostate to enlarge and create urinary problems. Other less common side effects are acne, breast development (gynecomastia), hair loss, mood changes (including increased aggressivity). These effects should be discussed with the doctor. Normally, medical follow-up with a PSA test for slightly older men is about every 6 months.
Can I take natural supplements for testosterone deficiency?
There are several natural products that boast to act like testosterone and improve muscle or sexual function. However, there are no known natural products that can replace testosterone in humans and are therefore not recommended in the treatment of testosterone deficiency.
Is there anything I can do to prevent testosterone deficiency?
There are no measures to prevent testosterone deficiency if it is caused by damage to the testes or pituitary gland. A healthy lifestyle, such as maintaining a healthy weight, can help keep testosterone levels in the normal range.
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Sources and References
Association des médecins endocrinologues du Québec (AMEQ)
Adapted by PROCURE. © All rights reserved – 2021