“Is testosterone therapy safe?” is a question I’m starting to hear more often in my office. There’s no doubt the rise in the pharmaceutical marketing of low T therapy has had a role to play — but ‘is testosterone therapy safe’ is a legitimate concern.
The marketing you see for testosterone therapy tells you all about its potential benefits, but never answer the question ‘is testosterone therapy safe’ by going over the potential risks and side effects.
Before even asking the question ‘is testosterone therapy safe’, you’ll need to see if you qualify for it. Lots of people who ask me about testosterone therapy end up not needing it.
This is proven via a lab test. Your testosterone levels are tested and then compared against other individuals in your age group to see if your levels are within a normal range.
If your testosterone levels are found to be within a normal range, then you will not need to be concerned about testosterone therapy.
If your testosterone levels are found to be below what’s considered normal for your age, then you can consider the option of testosterone therapy.
Until you get to that point it’s not worth asking ‘is testosterone therapy safe’. If and when it gets to that point then you can discuss the risks with your doctor.
I will go over some of the potential risks in this article, but it’s always best to go over this with your doctor one-on-one. Your doctor knows your medical history and can more accurately determine what is a risk for you based on that.
Here are some general risks of testosterone therapy that anyone may be susceptible to.
Is Testosterone Therapy Safe? – Know The Risks
The risks and side effects associated with testosterone therapy range from minor to severe. For example, some minor side effects may include acne, hair loss, increased red blood cell count, elevated liver enzymes and aggressive, risk taking behavior. Some of the side effects are due to the type of testosterone used as well as how it is delivered. Injectable forms of synthetic testosterone are more often associated with elevation of liver enzymes and red blood cell count.
The controversy that exists now is that a study indicated that long-term side effects may involve cardiovascular problems, like heart attacks and strokes. However, this study was criticized for choosing participants that already had heart disease and not giving enough testosterone to achieve adequate levels. They also did not distinguish between the use of injectable synthetic or transdermal bioidentical testosterone (given as a gel through the skin) . A more recent study using bioidentical testosterone gel, shows that testosterone did not increase coronary artery atherosclerosis, calcium scores or thicken the arteries.
Although testosterone has not been associated with increasing the risk of prostate cancer, those currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer may be at risk for cancer spread or recurrence.
So, is testosterone therapy safe? The article concludes by saying researchers cannot say for certain whether it raises the risk of heart problems or whether it doesn’t.
In order to determine the risks there would need to be a large study with multiple thousands of people, conducted over a period of many years. It sounds as though there’s not enough data available to prove the alleged risks.
In summary, there may be risks associated with testosterone therapy but it’s not known for certain. In order to determine whether you’re personally at risk for receiving testosterone therapy, book an appointment today to receive an assessment.
Together we can go over your medical history, your current testosterone levels, and answer the questions ‘is testosterone therapy safe for you?’