The researchers say use of testosterone therapy -- taken by mouth, gel patch, or injection to treat "low T" -- has skyrocketed in the past decade. Its popularity is a consequence, experts say, of an aging "boomer" population and heavy drug industry marketing, and has come about despite its unknown, long-term health risks. According to some surveys, use of testosterone therapy has more than tripled since 2001, with more than 2 percent of American men in their 40s and nearly 4 percent of men in their 60s taking it. Testosterone levels drop naturally by about 1 percent per year in men past their 30s.
Almost all of the clinical trials studying TRT have been inconclusive or have not followed patients long-term, so this treatment option is still a bit experimental in practice, and the treatment should not be administered to anyone not deemed an exceptional candidate. Because of the serious nature of TRT, patients with less severe testosterone deficiencies may look into safer, alternative treatment options. Any man currently taking TRT needs to see their doctor regularly for checkups, and should report any medical issues immediately. In addition, prostate screenings are essential.
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Testosterone patches are effective at treating low libido in post-menopausal women. Low libido may also occur as a symptom or outcome of hormonal contraceptive use. Women may also use testosterone therapies to treat or prevent loss of bone density, muscle mass and to treat certain kinds of depression and low energy state. Women on testosterone therapies may experience an increase in weight without an increase in body fat due to changes in bone and muscle density. Most undesired effects of testosterone therapy in women may be controlled by hair-reduction strategies, acne prevention, etc. There is a theoretical risk that testosterone therapy may increase the risk of breast or gynaecological cancers, and further research is needed to define any such risks more clearly.