The Top 10 Testosterone Myths
When I recommend testosterone to patients in my Los Angeles clinic, I get a lot of what I call “bro-science,” or, “But I heard” responses. You know, the kind of pop science stuff that travels by word of mouth and is asserted in glossy magazines with lots of certainty but not much research. “You want me to take testosterone? But I heard…” Worse yet, many of these myths are propagated by physicians themselves!
To dispel these prominent myths, I’ve collected the top ten in this counterpoint countdown. Here are myths 10-6. Check out the blog next week for the Top 5!
Myth: Testosterone will make your sex drive out of control.
Fact: Testosterone can help optimize your sex drive.
It’s no surprise that men often seek testosterone therapy because they want their sex drives and sexual function improved. At the same time, they often express anxieties that taking testosterone will send their sex drives into crazy, uncontrollable places. The simple truth is that sex drive doesn’t work that way. A decrease in sex drive is usually multifactorial: lack of sleep, psychological causes, stress, poor diet, and more, all contribute. So while testosterone can be effective in improving sex drive, it’s just one component.
That said, the vast majority of patients I put on testosterone in my Los Angeles clinic improve in sexual drive and function, without it getting out of control. On top of that, they have an overall better functioning and feeling, which assists in correcting other factors like sleep, stress, diet, and exercise. In fact, the number one thing that men on testosterone therapy report is “an overall better sense of well bring.” They simply feel better.
If anything, testosterone helps stabilize an “out of control” sex drive: After all, having an undesirably low sex drive is also “out of control.” It’s not an optimal state to be in, and without the help of an Age Management physician, a person may be helpless to address it.
Myth: Testosterone will cause liver problems.
Fact: Currently available forms of testosterone do not cause a burden on the liver.
This myth has its basis in truth, but it’s no longer a valid concern. Prescribed testosterone used to come primarily in the form of oral supplements. In order to make it digestible, the molecules were altered to make it processable by the liver. Those supplements did cause elevated liver enzymes, putting undue burden on the liver. But those forms of testosterone are no longer used: Now testosterone is made in absorbable creams, gels, or injectable forms. An oral supplement does exist, but it’s a superior formulation that no longer burdens the liver.
Myth: Testosterone will make you permanently sterile.
Fact: While testosterone may decrease sperm count, this is almost always temporary and easily reversible.
This is another myth that has its foundations in truth. Supplementary testosterone will slow down sperm production, which can decrease fertility. In fact, the World Health Organization has considered labeling testosterone as a method of birth control. The myth here is one of overstating the case. If a patient stops taking testosterone, sperm count almost always goes back to normal. In addition, in my clinic in Los Angeles, I prescribe hCG or clomifene (brand name Clomid), instead of or along with the testosterone, which are beneficial in many ways, including their ability to stimulate the testes to make sperm and testosterone. Those medications are my treatment of choice for younger men who wish to preserve fertility and increase testosterone.
Myth: Testosterone will make you look like a “roided-out” meathead.
Fact: Testosterone, when administered by an Age Management physician in appropriate dosages, helps optimize lean body mass and burns excess fat.
This one is pretty simple: Testosterone has different effects on each person’s muscles. This includes not only supplementary testosterone, but the testosterone your body is producing on its own. The key is not the testosterone, but knowing how to supplement it. If you see a roided-out guy, you’re usually seeing someone who’s not using testosterone properly, or who is using other anabolic hormones in addition to testosterone..
Myth: Testosterone causes prostate cancer.
Fact: Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer, and may even protect men from it.
Up until only a few years ago, it was widely accepted as medical fact that testosterone caused prostate cancer. In fact, the man who linked prostate cancer and testosterone won the Nobel Prize for his discovery in the 1950s. Sounds impressive, until you find out that he only found the link in patients. Yes, you read that right!
In most studies done since then, it’s been clearly demonstrated that there is not a causal link between testosterone and prostate cancer. In fact, there is growing evidence that low testosterone may be a risk factor for the development of prostate cancer in men!
Say tuned next week for the Top 5 Testosterone Myths!
To optimize your testosterone and other key hormone levels, come in for an evaluation: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (323) 874-9355. We care for patients from all over the world, so you do not need to be living in the Los Angeles area for us to help.