Older men with low-normal testosterone levels should not rush into testosterone-boosting treatments without first considering the risks versus the benefits, said Dr. Komaroff, who goes by Dr. K at AskDoctorK.com, a syndicated health-related column.
“I’m a 68-year-old man who has been feeling more tired and less ‘sexy’ over the past several months,” a reader writes, adding that his doctor told him his testosterone levels were “low normal.” “I know that some men take testosterone gel as a treatment (for low testosterone). My doctor is not so keen on that. What’s your opinion?”
Dr. K didn’t offer direct advice to the reader since he doesn’t know enough about his health or his symptoms, but he did offer his thoughts on what the research has shown. “There’s little controversy about giving testosterone treatment when a man clearly has abnormally low blood levels and symptoms consistent with those low levels. Such a condition is called ‘hypogonadism,’” Dr. K writes. “The controversy involves people like you. As men age, our blood testosterone levels generally decrease.”
The question, Dr. K says, is whether testosterone replacement therapy actually improves symptoms associated with low testosterone, or Low T as testosterone manufacturers have labeled it in recent years. These symptoms include fatigue, reduced muscle mass, and loss of sexual desire.
Dr. K referred to a study involving men 60 years of age or older with low or low-normal testosterone levels. They were selected at random to receive either a testosterone gel or a placebo. “The study carefully measured all the relevant symtpoms that might be caused by lower testosterone levels. The study found no significant improvement in symptoms in men given testosterone treatment compared to men given placebo treatment.”
Even more concerning was that other studies have shown that testosterone therapy increases a man’s risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
“So your doctor’s disinclination to prescribe treatment seems reasonable,” Dr. K said in conclusion.
Source: Tulsa World