As a husband, father, homeowner, and perhaps boss, he’s farther up the mountain but his backpack feels heavy. He might wake up one day and discover that he now weighs, oops, 102 kgs, with very little of it muscle. He might find nothing in the tank for sex if it’s a Tuesday and past 9:30. Maybe he hasn’t met all the goals he set at 30. Worse, maybe he did. These are complicated burdens.
Attempting to fix any one of them could be a huge challenge. How convenient, then, would it be if he could pop a pill that is purported to be the rejuvenating answer? Given the choice between making life changes and filling a prescription for testosterone, it’s an easy decision. But is the easy answer an effective one?
The fight to thwart male decline has been going on ever since the first guy with hair growing out of his ears plunked down a cheque for a four-wheeled mojo enhancer. But in the few years, the struggle to stay vital is increasingly being approached as a biochemical problem, one requiring pharmaceutical intervention in the form of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). And we’re not just talking about men over 50, or even 40.
Depending on who you ask, the turbocharged rise in the use of TRT shots, gels, patches, and pills is either (1) an inspiring transformation in how doctors treat a vast and despairing brotherhood of men, or (2) expensive quackery that targets male vanity and has nonexistent benefits and deadly risks. The fact that the symptoms driving men to testosterone therapy are often subjective and can easily resemble those of normal ageing, depression, poor sleep, or bad choices at the food trough only complicates the debate.
Also not helping: Men’s hormone levels are in a historic, culture-wide decline, under assault from a steady increase of obesity, painkiller abuse, food toxins, and oestrogen-mimicking compounds in water and soil.
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration in the US announced that it had asked drug makers to add language to the labels of testosterone replacement products warning of increased heart attack and stroke risk. But in February, a large review of the literature concluded that the research indicting testosterone replacement as a heart risk is vastly outgunned by the research showing that it helps. Confused? You’re not alone. “Unless you’ve gone through low testosterone, you don’t know what it is like,” says Bharat Sharma, a 55-year-old IT professional, who’s also a testosterone user. “I’d like to take that doctor who is suspicious of the drug therapy and get his testosterone down to 259-to where he’s got erectile dysfunction, he’s about to lose his marriage, he can’t think very well, and he’s struggling in his practice.”
Men’s Health India