More men are turning to prescription medications such as testosterone replacement therapy to combat “low T syndrome.” In the United States, testosterone prescriptions among men have tripled since 2001.
What some people don’t realize, however, is that a gradual decline in testosterone production is normal with aging. When this natural decline leads to symptoms like mood and libido changes or fatigue, many men are directed to turn to their doctors for solutions.
“The question is, is there really any problem here to be treated?” said Dr. Lisa Schwartz of Dartmouth College in a BBC article.
A variety of factors can influence a man’s testosterone levels. Some of them include:
- Natural aging
- Lack of sleep
- Obesity, specifically belly fat
- Underlying diseases like diabetes, pancreatitis, pituitary tumors and more.
Some medical specialists believe that testosterone replacement therapy should not be prescribed unless there is an observable physical problem associated with the decline, or a clinical diagnosis.
Not only have several studies linked low T treatments to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death, experts say that while testosterone treatments are marketed to fix a problem, there is little scientific evidence that the medications do so.
“All the testosterone drugs have been approved on the basis that they raise testosterone level – not on the basis that they make anybody’s life better,” Schwartz said.