3 Myths of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
There are many myths and misconceptions about hormone replacement therapy for men. Some of these myths are testosterone causes prostate cancer, problems with lipids, anger and other mood issues, cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure and more. We will explore 3 of these myths and explain why hormone replacement therapy for men actually does more good than harms for most older men.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men | Cause Liver Problems
This myth stems mostly from a few isolated cases of liver cancer and hepatitis in those people abusing large doses of testosterone for anabolic purposes. Outside of this anecdotal evidence it appears that oral forms of testosterone cause damage in the liver in tow ways. The first is that it is difficult for the liver to break down the oral forms of testosterone. The second is that it changes lipid metabolism. This change can damage the liver if triglycerides are elevated. Topical and injectable forms do not cause the same inflammation, however.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men | Lipid Dysfunction
There is some older research showing that testosterone therapy causes an increase in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and a decrease in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This research was done using oral testosterone therapy. A more recent research study was done on topical and injectable testosterone therapy which refutes this older research. The new research actually shows that topical and injectable testosterone therapy decrease LDL and increases HDL.
There is a link with athletes taking large amounts of testosterone therapy and cardiovascular disease (heart attach, stroke, and high blood pressure). The same is not true for physiological levels of testosterone.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men | Prostate Cancer
A common myth in the medical and lay community is that using testosterone in prostate cancer is like pouring gasoline on a fire. If this were true it would follow then that testosterone promotes prostate cancer. Both of these are simply not true according to recent research.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. In fact most men that live to older ages will have prostate cancer but likely die from something else. A recent 2011 study in the Journal of Urology reveled some dramatic results for testosterone therapy in men with existing prostate cancer. It was a small study in only 12 men and they were followed for 2.5 years. Upon doing a follow up biopsy none had progression of cancer and 54% no longer had cancer.
Another Italian study showed that men with higher testosterone levels had less aggressive types of cancer. These seem to be favorable results for hormone replacement therapy for men with regard to prostate cancer. Still these studies need to be backed up with larger cohorts to confirm this trend. The trend is that we no longer need to worry about testosterone therapy causing prostate cancer.
Over all there is very little risk for the average male to start hormone replacement therapy. Being aware of the potential risks and being followed by knowledgeable doctor is important to minimizing any harm.
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