Risks and Benefits of Testosterone Replacement Therapy


If you’re considering testosterone therapy, you need to know the risks and benefits of this prescription medication. There are several serious side effects of testosterone therapy. Some of these include elevated red blood cell counts, an increased risk of heart attack, and endangering a fetus. While the FDA requires monitoring of men taking testosterone therapy, it is not advisable to use this medicine if you’ve experienced prostate problems in the past.

Endangerment of fetus

Endangerment of the fetus with testosterone replacement therapy is a significant issue for women taking testosterone during pregnancy. This hormone increases the levels of amino acids in the mother’s blood, which may affect the delivery of these nutrients to the fetus. The increased levels of testosterone in the mother do not cross the placenta, which could cause the fetus to grow poorly. Testosterone also alters the activities of a specific amino acid transporter, System A.

In one study, testosterone-treated pregnant rats had smaller placentas than the mothers’ littermates. The reason for this is unclear. Some researchers speculate that the elevated levels of testosterone in the mothers’ blood might reduce the placental capacity, which could affect the fetus.

There is no evidence that testosterone increases the fetal growth. In fact, increased maternal testosterone does not affect the levels of other pregnancy-related hormones such as progesterone and estradiol. The level of thyroid hormones total T3 and free T4 are not affected by this treatment. However, this may not mean that increased testosterone has no effect on the mother’s metabolic status. 

Drug dependence caused by intramuscular testosterone injections

Injections of testosterone can lead to drug dependence and subnormal testosterone concentrations, which can result in serious adverse effects, including cardiovascular and psychiatric events. There are also risks of edema, which can lead to congestive heart failure. Hence, it is important to be aware of all of the potential risks involved in intramuscular testosterone injections.

In addition to these risks, intramuscular testosterone injections can cause injection site reactions such as inflammation, bruising, local urticaria, induration, and furunculosis. Although rare, patients should be monitored closely for injection site reactions. In one study, 12.7% of patients had an injection site reaction; however, none of them discontinued treatment because of the reaction. The most common reactions were bruising and inflammation of the injection site, which may be temporary or permanent. Some patients also experienced extrusion or migration of testosterone pellets from the injection site.

Another risk of using testosterone is increased red blood cell mass. Using a high dose of the hormone can cause polycythemia. To prevent this, patients should have their hematocrit and hemoglobin concentrations monitored periodically. If they are too low or too high, they should consider reducing their dosage. Higher hematocrit concentrations also increase the risk of thromboembolic events.

Increased risk of developing prostate cancer

The relationship between testosterone and the risk of prostate cancer is not linear. There is a threshold of androgen levels that are associated with an increased risk of cancer. These findings are still being researched, but if they are confirmed, they may open new avenues of treatment for prostate cancer.

Researchers in the Veterans Affairs health system followed 147,593 men diagnosed with low testosterone. The majority had normal PSA results within six months of starting testosterone therapy. In addition, they studied 58,617 men who received testosterone therapy. The median follow-up period was about three years. The researchers were particularly interested in men who developed aggressive prostate cancer and those who did not receive any testosterone therapy.

Despite the risk, testosterone therapy is still considered a safe treatment for prostate cancer. There are a number of benefits. One of these is that testosterone therapy can improve the quality of life of men with hypogonadism. Other side effects of testosterone therapy include decreased risk of venous thrombolism and improved health.

Increased risk of scrotal hypertrophy

There are several possible side effects associated with intramuscular testosterone injections. These adverse effects are often mild, although in some instances, they can be serious. These complications include heart problems, stroke, mini-stroke, and liver disease. They also include a higher risk of seizures and mental health issues such as depression and mania. Some individuals may also experience hallucinations or have bizarre thoughts.

Increased blood pressure

High blood pressure is a serious condition and should be treated as such. While it is often referred to as the “silent killer,” it can be managed through testosterone replacement therapy. In the event of increased blood pressure after intramuscular testosterone injections, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine if you should continue taking the steroid.

In the study, 750 men who were being treated for hypogonadolemia were treated with intramuscular testosterone undecanoate, which is a type of testosterone treatment. The dose ranged from 750 mg to 1000 mg per injection. The injections were given every 9 weeks to 14 weeks. In some trials, additional doses were given immediately following the first treatment. The results of this study showed that 3% of patients developed erythrocytosis. The study authors likely underestimated the rate because the hematocrits were not consistent.

There are several risk factors for erythrocytosis. These risk factors include age, prothrombin gene mutations, and high Factor VIII levels. High homocysteine levels are also risk factors. Injections of testosterone should be given only to patients who are at high risk for erythrocytosis.


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