Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men: What to Know


Posted: September 27, 2017 at 6:50 am

Overview

Hormone replacement therapy is a bit of a misnomer. Its natural for mens testosterone levels to decrease as they get older. So, hormone therapy doesnt replace anything that is naturally missing.

Testosterone is required for:

However, the natural decrease of this hormone in men typically doesnt affect overall health any more than the aging process does. Medical experts disagree about the significance of a testosterone level decrease. They also disagree about the health benefits of hormone therapy use to combat the natural aging process in men, especially given the risks.

Learn more: Is low testosterone dangerous to your health?

Uses

Some men with unnaturally low levels of testosterone can benefit from hormone therapy. For example, the condition hypogonadism can cause unnaturally low levels of testosterone. Its a dysfunction of the testicles that prevents the body from producing the right amount of testosterone.

What's less certain is whether testosterone therapy can benefit healthy men whose testosterone decline is simply caused by aging. This has been a difficult question for researchers to answer. Not many studies have observed the effects of testosterone therapy in men with healthy levels of the hormone. The studies that have were smaller and had unclear results.

Read more: Testosterone levels by age

Types

If your doctor suggests testosterone therapy, several options are available. These include:

Risks

Side effects are a primary drawback of hormone therapy with testosterone. While some of the side effects are relatively minor, others are more serious.

Minor potential side effects of hormone therapy with testosterone include:

More severe potential side effects include:

An increased number of red blood cells can cause:

Takeaway

Hormone therapy can be a helpful treatment for men with unnaturally low levels of testosterone. However, it doesnt come without risks. These risks may outweigh the benefits if youre considering hormone therapy to make up for a natural decrease in testosterone levels.

Talk with your doctor about safer alternatives. Resistance exercise can help you build muscle mass, and walking, running, and swimming can help keep your heart strong.

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Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men: What to Know

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