In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautioned doctors against overprescribing testosterone replacement therapy to men because it has not been established as safe or effective for common age-related issues such as low libido and fatigue. Still, men are intrigued by the promises testosterone manufacturers have made in the treatment of so-called “Low T,” and continue to ask their doctors for the hormones by name.
But before you make that appointment to get your testosterone booster, here are some things about the hormone treatment you should consider:
1. They have been linked to heart risks. In 2015, the FDA ordered that the safety labels of testosterone replacement products be updated to include that there is the possible increased risk of heart attacks and strokes for men who use the products.
2. They can make you crazy and dependent. Last month, FDA issued new warnings about testosterone treatments as well as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) for heart and mental health effects, and the risk of abuse and dependence.
3. They won’t help your erectile dysfunction. In fact, they might just make those with ED even more frustrated. That’s because testosterone therapy doesn’t help men get good erections – men will still have the same problems getting and maintaining an erection. However, hormone therapy can increase sex drive.
4. Don’t think your doctor will just hand over a prescription for testosterone just because you say you have symptoms of Low T. Your doctor will – or at least should – order a complete hormone panel to ensure that levels are actually low for your age. If so, he may conduct further tests to find out why, because hypogonadism (low testosterone) that is not related to age can be a sign of disease or injury.
5. They can make you grow breasts. Although uncommon, testosterone replacement therapy can trigger breast development. This can occur if the testosterone is converted to estrogen in the body, which diminishes the effectiveness of testosterone.
6. They can shrink your testicles and make you infertile. That’s right. Testosterone treatment can cause the testicles to atrophy and unable to produce enough sperm, which impedes fertility. Furthermore, long-term testosterone therapy can impair the body’s ability to produce the hormone naturally.