Long term risks of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

5 minutes

Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT) is used by millions of men in America for boosting their testosterone levels. Today let’s discuss the long term effects of Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

Available forms of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

TRT can come as Gel, Patches, Injection, and capsule and in a different category you have anabolic androgenic steroids that are usually bought on the black market and they are given in Cycles. They can come as Injections, Patches, Gels, or Capsules and they are essentially testosterone derivatives. 

Often athletes use anabolic steroids to improve their performance or regular people take it to improve their physical appearance and help to lose weight.

Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy

You probably already know that testosterone levels decline with age. However, for some reason, testosterone levels are lower in the male population today than they were nearly three decades ago.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT) has been used in millions of men worldwide and has been proven to 

  1. Improve libido
  2.  Improve erectile dysfunction
  3.  Improve overall sexual functions
  4. Increase energy
  5.  Improve mood
  6.  Increase bone mineral density
  7.  Decrease body fat
  8. Increase lean body muscle mass

What are the long-term risks or adverse effects from using Testosterone Replacement Therapy?

Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT) is commonly prescribed to older men who are at risk of heart disease anyway. So the big question on everyone’s lips “is there an increased risk of heart disease from taking TRT long-term?”.

Now I have to tell you that the evidence is really conflicting and that we don’t have an answer to the long-term. But some studies that were funded by the pharmaceutical industry show there is no increased risk of cardiovascular events from taking Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT), While other big studies that weren’t funded by the pharmaceutical industry say there is a detrimental effect and you have to keep in mind who is funding these studies because it is very important when it comes to bias and outcomes.

In 2010 researchers stopped the testosterone treatment in an older men study when early results showed that men on TRT had noticeably more heart problems. However, this study has been criticized because many of the patients were sick with heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. 

The bottom line is despite all the studies on this there is still not a clear answer. Be cautious especially if you have underlying heart disease and again have a really good chat with your doctor about it so that you can make a decision that is best for you. For many men that don’t have heart problems the benefits of having a good quality of life from Testosterone Replacement Therapy far outweigh these potential risks.      

what is the risk of prostate cancer using TRT long-term?

Firstly I should say that this theory comes from several studies that show that Testosterone Replacement Therapy(TRT) increases blood levels of prostate-specific antigen or PSA  for men. This is used as a screening blood test to check to see if people have prostate cancer. We also know that using medications that block testosterone can successfully treat prostate cancer. Essentially there’s a concern that testosterone therapy could stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells and unfortunately, there has been no randomized control trial that has had enough patience in it to answer this question probably. It’s a pretty controversial area and I would imagine that most doctors would feel quite nervous about prescribing Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) to men at risk of prostate cancer.

It should be a decision that you make together with your doctor.

Lower urinary tract symptoms

So when men get prostate enlargement which is called benign prostatic hypertrophy, testosterone was thought to make this worse because it increases the size of the Prostate further. Thankfully research has shown that Testosterone Replacement Therapy doesn’t worsen these symptoms and may actually help in some cases.

 Long-term risks from anabolic steroids

 I’m sure you know millions of people have used these at some time in their life and in the short term there are very few serious medical consequences but over the long-term, it’s a  different story. 

Again studies have demonstrated that there are toxic effects on the cardiovascular system with long-term anabolic steroids use or abuse. However one would have to argue that the same controversy exists with Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and that there are many confounding factors in these studies.

There are potentially long-term serious effects on the reproductive system from using anabolic steroids. 

Reversible changes are

  1. Decreased sperm production
  2. Shrinking of the testicles which make lower testosterone levels

 Irreversible changes include

  1. Gynecomastia so swelling and pain of the breast tissue
  2.  Male pattern hair loss and
  3.  Problems with fertility for both males and females.

There is not a strong link between liver cancer and steroids but there is strong evidence that long term use of anabolic steroids can cause liver damage.

One of the most important questions is

How does long term use of anabolic steroids affect mood and behavior?

Well, there is definitely more anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia. Also when withdrawing from steroids it’s a very difficult process and often people use other drugs like they start heroin to try to counteract these symptoms which obviously add to the problem even more.

What can people do to boost testosterone levels naturally? 

It is always better to avoid medications if it is possible. So here are the five ways to boost your testosterone levels

  1. Losing weight and I know it’s really easy to say this but it is absolutely true losing weight will boost testosterone levels and men who are overweight. 
  1. Exercise and lifting weights now this is probably even more important than losing weight as by itself it really helps increase testosterone levels.
  2. Vitamin D – Some evidence has shown that supplementing with vitamin D can increase testosterone levels.
  3.  Getting enough sleep and reducing your stress, try to get at least 7 hours of sleep at night, and reduce repetitive stressful situations in your life so that your cortisol or stress hormone levels don’t swing wildly.
  4.   Avoid estrogen-like compounds specifically alcohol and soya products and these are your friends when it comes to boosting testosterone levels.