Kristen was still distraught after losing her hubby Rob, a year earlier. What had been planned as a trip for two to Barbados this year ended up a trip for one. The saga isn't new and will likely unfold in many more households as low T mania continues unabated. How bad is it? According to the article, 'Low T: Real Problem or Ad-driven Fad?' in the AARP Bulletin (July-August, p. 18):
"A 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found testosterone prescriptions grew more than threefold between 2001 and 2011. Data from IMS Health shows T sales rose from $324 million in 2002 to nearly $2.3 billion in 2012. Sales could hit $5 billion by 2018."
As the article also notes, most of this increase isn't based on any genuine medical issue. It is based on ads shamelessly playing to male insecurities. The loss of muscle mass , sex drive or energy - once described as "getting older" - suddenly was transmogrified into a condition dubbed "low T" by the Madison Avenue Ad makers. Thus were unleashed a torrent of print and TV ads from the makers of testosterone replacement meds and gels. One ad actually advised: "Millions of men 45 or older may have low T so talk to your doctor!"
Really? Gimme a break!
In Kristen's husband's case, Rob (then 47) felt he needed an edge at work so began the low T prescription solution. He did feel his energy rebound, his muscle mass increased and his renewed sex drive pleased Kirsten. Only she worried about taking increased testosterone which as a medical person (urology RN) she already knew provided a fuel for prostate cancer.
According to Dr. Mark Scholz, in 'Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers', p. 42:
"testosterone fuels prostate cancer growth and prostate cancer is the only type of cancer susceptible to testosterone inactivating pharmaceuticals"
Alas, Rob dismissed all such concerns, according to Kristen, and even increased his testosterone use. If some is terrific, more got to be better, right? Not quite. Within a year Rob's PSA had doubled, and six months later tripled. Finally, under pressure from his wife he reluctantly submitted to a prostate biopsy and prostate cancer was found in five cores with Gleason scores 4 + 5, and two with 5 + 5. The urologist pronounced "advanced prostate cancer" and recommended radical prostatectomy in combination with female hormone treatments.
The next year or so was 'hell' as he descended into depression following the surgery which left him incontinent, his penis shrunken, zero sex drive and with large breasts - arising from the hormone treatments. Kristen confided that at least he hadn't ended up like another T-using patient who - after his operation around the same time - experienced a vesicularectal fistula- farting through his penis and saddled with other complications before having to get a colostomy.
Despite all the horrific side effects Rob had to endure, the prostate cancer spewed secondaries into bones and lungs - and he died 6 months ago. Kristen said if she had one wish it would be to "get men to back off from this silly, idiotic non-solution".
She may well have a point. Even if by some miracle prostate cancer isn't spawned, other negative medical impacts abound. According to Dr. John La Puma, quoted in the AARP article,
"When you take testosterone your body shuts down production. As a result the testicles shrink and you could be using supplementation indefinitely."
He noted this circumstance meant "expense, inconvenience and worst of all, possible catastrophic health consequences."
Think aggressive prostate cancer. But as the AARP article also pointed out:
"A study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a 30 percent jump in the risk of stroke, heart attack and death among men undergoing testosterone therapy."
It would seem that any guy seriously thinking of aspiring to be muscle-bound and energetic using T, would be advised to watch the video below first and pay close attention! Note the particulars of treating low testosterone, including the fact: a) testosterone can vary during the day so the time you get the blood test is critical, and b) the low testosterone can be due to multiple other causes than natural, including stress, fatigue, diabetes or other hormonal imbalances.
The AARP article also adds (ibid.):
"But what is a healthy T level for an older man? Doctors can't agree. Many laboratories use wildly varying reference numbers based on the average testosterone levels of young men, anywhere from 300 to 900 nanograms per deciliter."
The Bulletin adds that, incredibly, just about any purported "symptoms list" will ensure a low -T diagnosis.
The fact is, as Dr. La Puma observes, most men (maybe 80%) don't need this "therapy" at all, period. As he puts it:
"All men need to do is eat a healthier diet and be more active."
To reinforce that, "it's found that when obese men shed an average of 17 pounds, testosterone levels climb 15 percent."
This in addition to quality sleep and regular exercise can help any guy improve his energy and muscle mass as well as sex drive.
Trouble is, too many guys want the "quick fix". For those who want the T-quick fix to “muscle up” to look better or get more energy, I'd say just be prepared for what’s coming later. It might also help to imagine yourself long past the cancer treatment stage when your dick is U-shaped, your breasts are bigger than Mariah Carey’s (so much you want to hide from your wife) and you have to wear giant diapers just to go to the corner 7-11.