Is Testosterone Overprescribed?

Dr. Rozenn

22851505_sPrescriptions for testosterone creams, injections and patches have risen dramatically over the last decade. Why? Because it works! That’s right. Testosterone supplementation makes many men have more energy, increased libido and muscle mass, in addition to feeling more positive about life. Having the right amount of testosterone is critically important for cardiac health.

The downside?

Testosterone prescriptions are often used as a bandaid to mask the underlying causes of low testosterone such as: obesity, diabetes, or even subtle blood sugar imbalances. Liver and kidney disease as well as different hormonal imbalances can also result in low testosterone.

Sounds like serious stuff, doesn’t it?

It is! There are many causes for low testosterone, yet far too often these causes are not fully investigated. Patients request a testosterone prescription and well-meaning practitioners write them.

Occasionally, I see a patient who makes an appointment because of his fatigue. This typical patient doesn’t get enough exercise, eats way too much sugar, therefore he is carrying around a few extra pounds. He is depressed and his libido is non-existent. Sound like anyone you know? I would imagine you know a few men who could be this typical patient. In this scenario, I like to run labs to assess overall health, especially thyroid, blood sugar, adrenal and testosterone status. If testosterone comes back low, typically I will find the reason in the other test results.

Once the underlying cause is treated, the testosterone comes right back up!  This can happen without the use of hormones (which can rub off on women in his life if he uses topical creams) and without the side effects. Shrunken testicals, hair loss and INFERTILITY can all be side effects of testosterone supplementation.

Suddenly, looking for the root cause is sounding much better than the bandaid. It is usually a better option.