Five Questions to Know if Testosterone is Right for You
You choose the clothes you wear, the food you eat, and the company you keep. In fact, you make more decisions daily than you might imagine: the average person makes over 200 decisions every day about food alone. So, whether we realize it or not, we’ve got the decision-thing nailed down. But is this true when it comes to testosterone treatment?.
What men know about testosterone is highly influenced by media, especially since theFDA permitted direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription medications 21 years ago. You’ve seen the ads: Falling asleep after dinner? Sex drive down? Enjoying life less than before? Work and sports performance tanking? Gotta be testosterone, right? And so treatable!
Alas, a recent study suggests that it may not be that simple. Although drug advertising increases customer usage of testosterone products, it doesn’t follow that consumers are any healthier. Now what’s a guy to do?
You May Ask Yourself
As an avowed copilot of men’s care, I offer 5 questions that you should ask yourself when considering testosterone therapy. Consider it as a guiding light as you navigate this uneven path.
- Is your T truly low? Along with actual symptoms, 2 morning testosterone levels are needed to make the diagnosis, as T levels vary like ocean tides.
- Is something else going on? None of the Low T symptoms you hear about are actually specific for Low T. Up to a dozen other fairly serious medical illnesses can mimic the symptoms of low T. Do your body good and make sure that your provider has ruled out other reasons for feeling the way you feel.
- Why is your T low? Testosterone levels can fall because the testicle is not doing its job…or because it’s not being told to do its job. Maybe the engine isn’t running because the gas tank is empty. An important distinction with real implications for treatment.
- Can you boost your own T? If the testicle can’t make enough T, then you need testosterone. But, if the testicle is sitting idle and not getting enough gas, there’s a lot you can do to improve things without taking prescription medication.
- Are you ready for lifelong treatment? Testosterone replacement shuts down the body’s natural testosterone production, shrinks testicles and results in male infertility. Its effects on the heart, blood clots and strokes are hotly debated. Data on increased longevity with testosterone is as scarce as polar bears in Paraguay. And, at some point maybe 5-10 years into treatment, testicles will never recover the glory of their former selves if you decide to stop. Only you can decide if this is worth it.
In the words of Rwandan author Habyarimana: “Opportunity and risk come in pairs.” So aptly true when it comes to the double-edged sword of testosterone.