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Testosterone Myths


Written by Dr. Chris Smith, Updated on July 27th, 2023
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years. An increasing number of men (and their physicians) have finally understood that TRT when used correctly and with medical supervision, can deliver incredible benefits to middle-aged men and rekindle their zest for life.

However, myths concerning testosterone still abound.

That’s right. Even though TRT has been proven safe and effective, there is still a ton of misinformation that flourishes non-stop. Let’s take a look at these blatant falsehoods concerning the manly hormone.

  • Excess testosterone causes prostate cancer. This idea is absurd, and here’s why. For starters, young men experience powerful surges of testosterone in their teen years. With testosterone erupting in their bodies like a rumbling volcano exploding, you would think that the incidents of prostate cancer would be escalating. Considering that men’s testosterone levels begin to taper as they age, rates of prostate cancer in elderly men should be low. But the exact opposite is true. Prostate cancer is a disease that strikes older men; it rarely occurs in young men.
  • This prostate cancer link with testosterone can be directly traced to a study in the 1940s by Dr. Charles Huggins that found a link between androgenetic hormones and prostate cancer, according to Dr. Arthur L. Burnett II, MD, professor of urology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Recent guidelines, however, are varied and do not confirm the findings of Dr. Huggins. The Huggins study was incredibly flawed; there were a grand total of 3 participants and one man with prostate cancer who lived longer after being castrated. ONE MAN! Since then, numerous studies have found no evidence of testosterone suppression and a reduction in prostate cancer.
  • Testosterone causes heart attacks. This myth began with results from one study published in the medical journal PLOS One. The study tracked men undergoing TRT for 90 days and concluded that younger men with a history of heart disease increased their risk of further heart problems by 2 to 3 times. The 65 and older group doubled their risks. There are several problems with this study. Ninety days is a short window; the study did not ask about TRT before or after the study. Red blood cells and estrogen levels were not measured, critical issues that may cause heart attacks with or without TRT. Another testosterone study conducted at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute monitored 755 men between the ages of 58 and 78 who were diagnosed with low testosterone levels (aka “Low-T”) and found that after one year, the control group who did not receive TRT had 64 had a severe cardiovascular event (CE) like heart attack, stroke, or death. Twelve patients on medium-dose TRT had a significant CE, while only 9 of the high-dose TRT suffered the same events. The control group had an astonishing 80% greater chance of having a CE, and the follow-up after three years found the same results.
  • Testosterone causes men to become hyper-aggressive. It sounds ironic, but the exact opposite of this myth is true; it is usually the Low-T men who are depressed, unhappy, have little self-confidence, and often try to overcompensate by acting mean and aggressive. As a general rule, strong, masculine men have no need to prove their manhood. The exception to this could be men taking extremely high doses of testosterone and combining that with anabolic steroids.
  • Testosterone causes baldness. Baldness is usually due to genetics and age, two things totally unrelated to TRT. Consider the fact that most of the men on TRT are older; that should put this myth to rest.
  • Testosterone is only suitable for dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED). This myth is pathetic beyond words. In addition to unleashing your long-slumbering libido, restoration of testosterone levels can vaporize body fat, skyrocket energy levels, pump new life and strength into those lazy, weakened muscles, vanish brain fog, kick depression and moodiness to the curb, and give men the courage and desire to take the initiative and make good things happen by taking action! No more sitting around and wasting time with idle, useless daydreaming. TRT can boost self-confidence and get men off the recliner.
  • TRT is not for women. More nonsense. Similar to men, low-T can wreak havoc on a woman’s body. A little-known fact is that a healthy woman has nearly ten times more testosterone than estrogen. Low-T can make women fat and depressed, causing them to lose energy and sex drive and suffer bone and muscle loss, thus setting women up for the onset of osteoporosis. It is critical for women to remember that it is vital to work with a medical professional who is well-versed in treating women with testosterone.
  • TRT will make you sterile and shrink your testicles. Could this happen? Yes, but it is usually a temporary situation that will reverse a few weeks after stopping TRT.

References

  1. Morgentaler A. Testosterone and prostate cancer: an historical perspective on a modern myth. Eur Urol. 2006 Nov;50(5):935-9. PubMed.
  2. Feneley MR et al. Is Testosterone Treatment Good for the Prostate? Study of Safety during Long-Term Treatment. J Sex Med. 2012 Aug;9(8):2138-49. PubMed
  3. Huo S et al. Treatment of Men for "Low Testosterone": A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2016 Sep 21;11(9):e0162480. PubMed.
  4. Intermountain Medical Center. Study finds testosterone supplementation reduces heart attack risk in men with heart disease. ScienceDaily. 3 April 2016.
  5. Wang C et al. Testosterone Therapy Improves Mood in Hypogonadal Men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1996 Oct;81(10):3578-83. PubMed.

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