Myth vs. Fact: Testosterone’s Bad Rep

July 31, 2021

Testosterone got a bad reputation somewhere at some point. It got bullied. Research and the FDA went back and forth about treating low testosterone levels and the risks versus benefits of testosterone. Today, we have more information and know that testosterone likely has more benefits than risks. Treatment has increased tenfold over the last two decades, showing it’s not the bully and might actually be the good guy.

Myth 1: Treating men with testosterone increases their chances of and/or causes prostate cancer.

Fact: Testosterone does not cause cancer. In fact men who have had a prostate cancer diagnosis, undergone treatment and are cancer-free, are being treated with testosterone when appropriate with close monitoring. Testosterone can fuel the growth of cancer cells if undetected which is why annual prostate cancer screening is necessary: Checking your PSA, exploring your family history for prostate cancer and examining your prostate. If cancer-free, testosterone can be given and the risks don’t increase.

Myth 2: Treating men with testosterone can make their urinary symptoms worse and cause benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH). Getting up throughout the night to urinate (nocturia), frequent and urgent daytime urination, end of stream dribbling, feeling as if the bladder is never empty are all possible symptoms of benign prostate hypertrophy. It was previously believed that testosterone can actually contribute to prostate growth or obstruction making urinary symptoms and BPH develop or worsen.

Fact: Current evidence suggests that testosterone replacement therapy does not cause or worsen BPH, and that low testosterone itself is a possible risk factor for BPH. Studies have found that testosterone replacement therapy in men with metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity) may actually benefit and see improvement in BPH, as testosterone may reduce prostatic inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome.

The bullying of testosterone replacement therapy is being put back in the box as more men are being treated with safe results, and new research is proving more benefit than risk.

If interested in discussing low testosterone symptoms and possible treatment options, contact Austin Urology Institute at 512.694.8888.