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Study Suggests Testosterone Use Not Backed By Science

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Toronto, ONA new study from Canada suggests the use of testosterone therapy in older men is not based on scientific evidence, leading to more questions about its usefulness. The study, published in June in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that it is difficult to base testosterone therapy in older men on levels of testosterone found in younger men. Testosterone lawsuits have been filed against the makers of testosterone therapy, alleging men suffered permanent side effects as a result of the therapy.

For the study, researchers examined 40 studies on hypogonadism (low testosterone) in men with an average age of 40 years old. What they found is that there is no clear standard in what constitutes low testosterone levels in men over the age of 40. That’s because from the age of 30 on, testosterone levels drop by about 1.5 percent every year, but the standard for “normal” testosterone levels may be erroneously based on the levels seen in younger men.

Older men who have low testosterone levels might also have other health problems that compound the symptoms of low testosterone. Erectile dysfunction, for example, could also be linked to diabetes, heart disease or obesity, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Furthermore, the studies included in the Canadian Medical Association Journal analysis showed a wide range regarding prevalence of low testosterone. While some studies showed the prevalence as high as 77 percent, others found the prevalence as low as 2 percent. And researchers also found the symptoms and levels of testosterone didn’t always match up - seeing certain symptoms didn’t always indicate the man had low testosterone levels.

“We found weak correlation between signs, symptoms and testosterone levels, uncertainty about what threshold testosterone levels should be considered low for aging men and wide variation in estimated prevalence of the condition,” researchers wrote. They further noted that it is difficult to use the same method to diagnose hypogonadism in young men as it is in older men.

This makes for a contradictory and confusing situation for men, who aren’t sure if they do or do not require treatment for low T. Older men naturally have lower levels of testosterone than younger men, and are also at risk of some health problems that carry symptoms similar to that of low testosterone. Given that at least part of the lower testosterone is natural and part could be attributed to other conditions, should men be using a therapy to increase their testosterone levels?

Some men have filed lawsuits against the makers of testosterone therapy, alleging they were not properly warned about the risks. They allege they suffered permanent side effects, and would not have taken the therapy had they known about the risks.

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