Noble McIntyre on March 11, 2014
Lots of people think that changing hormones and the need for hormone therapy in later life is a women’s issue, but that is not the case. Men, too, experience the effects of aging and, in recent years, have been turning to hormone therapy more and more to reduce those effects.
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is produced in the testicles. It maintains bone density, fat distribution, muscle strength and mass, red blood cell production, sex drive and sperm production. As men age, they sometimes find that their bodies are not producing normal amounts of testosterone, which is sometimes attributable to normal aging (testosterone levels decrease about one percent per year after age 30) or if it’s because of a disease like hypogonadism (where the testicles do not produce the normal amount of testosterone).
If a man has low testosterone (also known as Low-T), he might experience changes in sexual function and sleep patterns. As well, he could experience physical changes like increased body fat, reduced muscle and strength, and decreased bone density. He could also notice swollen or tender breasts or hair loss, along with hot flashes and decreased energy. There are also emotional changes associated with Low-T, including decreased motivation and self-confidence, sadness, depression or memory issues. Be aware, though, that sometimes these symptoms are simply the effects of aging, and they may not be signs of Low-T. The only way to know for sure is to have your physician administer a blood test to determine your testosterone level.
However, while research suggests that only about two percent of men actually have hypogonadism, many men are being unnecessarily treated for Low-T. It’s been said in the medical community that this “disease” has been created by manufacturers of testosterone-enhancing products, sales of which are currently over $2 billion per year. In fact, just this week, the U.S. FDA approved Aveed, another Low-T therapy. The harm is that the implants, gels and injectables come with serious health risks. Use of testosterone therapy has been linked with stroke, cardiac arrest and death.
Studies to this point have shown that most of the men who are receiving testosterone therapy don’t actually have Low-T. Rather, they have been prescribed testosterone therapy for having symptoms of Low-T, but have not actually been diagnosed with a disease. Instead, they are experiencing normal signs of aging. Because the risks associated with testosterone therapy are so high, though, it is a treatment that needs to be taken seriously. Men with existing heart disease and older men who have not been diagnosed with heart disease need to be particularly mindful of the risks.
The bottom line, really, is that more studies are needed before it can be conclusively determined what are the risks of testosterone therapy. If you are currently undergoing testosterone therapy, do not stop treatment without consulting your physician.
A lawsuit was filed last month against Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, Inc., which manufacture AndroGel, which claims that the heart risks associated with the treatment have been downplayed. McIntyre Law is working on testosterone therapy lawsuits for men under 75 who have been negatively affected by AndroGel, Axiron, Foresta, Striant and Testrim. If you believe that you have suffered side effects from one of these treatments, contact us immediately so that we can review your options.