Testosterone replacement therapy is occurring in record numbers among men. The benefits range from increasing muscle mass to boosting sex drive. This occurs on a number of different levels from pharmaceuticals to supplements. Drug and supplement companies have a huge market in manufacturing products to help combat low testosterone or elevate free testosterone levels. There are benefits of improving T levels, such as improving athletic performance, protein synthesis and libido. However, there is a dark side to testosterone replacement therapy. There are a number of adverse side effects, some of which can be severely damaging to one’s health.
Side Effects of Testosterone Replacement
These side effects are largely related to direct testosterone injections, as opposed to natural supplements.
More studies covering men who underwent testosterone therapy experience irregularity of hormone balance. Some symptoms include:
- Skin Irritation
- Acne and Oily Skin
- Altered Hair Patterns
- Changes In Hair Growth
- Male Breast Formation
- Shrunken Testicles
- Irreversible Infertility
Cardiac Events and Heart Attacks
A number of studies have been conducted linking testosterone-enhancing drugs to severe heart problems, such as heart attacks. In 2014, the PLoS One Journal conducted a study on men over 65 and younger men with undiagnosed heart disease. It was revealed that just after the first 90 days of testosterone replacement therapy, the risk of heart attacked was increased by 100% effectively doubling the chances.
New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published two studies in 2010 and 2013. Studies involving elderly or frail men using testosterone increased their likelihood of suffering a cardiac even. During the study, a man died and investigators linked it to testosterone therapy.
Strokes, Mini-Strokes and Blood Clots
JAMA and NEJM studies produced findings of increased risk of stroke (cerebrovascular accidents) using testosterone gels. The research states that men using testosterone drugs increased stroke risk by as much as 30 percent. Many participants had to undergo emergency procedures to clear arteries.
Men may also suffer mini-strokes (transient ischemic attacks) when using testosterone. This occurs when blood flow to the brain is briefly halted. Approximately 1/3 of the mini-stroke victims suffer full strokes inside of the year.
The cause of these two stroke categories is linked to testosterone because of its effect on how the body clots blood. Testosterone increases blood cell size leading to thicker blood and high risk of blood clotting. In turn, the risk for mini-strokes and strokes increases.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard conducted a study of mean receiving testosterone replacement therapy. Led by Dr. Terrence Shaneyfelt, the study revealed that men with above normal testosterone levels doubled their risk of prostate cancer.
Additional studies reviewing six urology practice’s medical records looked at men undergoing testosterone replacement for sexual dysfunction. A number of men, in as little as two years from the start of the therapy, were diagnosed with prostate cancer.
It is widely agreed that there is a link between above normal levels of testosterone and prostate cancer. For those who are undergoing testosterone replacement therapy, it is suggested to be closely monitored by a Doctor. It is highly recommended that men with increased risk of prostate cancer should avoid testosterone replacement therapy.