Testosterone Therapy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

Testosterone Therapy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Testosterone therapy is used to treat low T or low testosterone in men.  As men get older they have a natural decrease in production of testosterone which can have both physical and emotional effects.  The benefits of using testosterone therapy include an increase in libido, increasing muscle and bone strength, and a cardioprotective effect.  These benefits are very helpful for male patients struggling with low testosterone levels.

In the medical field, it is important to also review any potential side effects of certain treatments. The most common risks to taking testosterone are a worsening of prostate cancer and male breast cancer, worsening benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and a blood disorder called polycythemia.  It is important to note that testosterone therapy does not appear to cause prostate cancer, however it can worsen it in a patient that already has it.   (E. Charles Osterberg, et al. Indian J Urol.  2014 Jan-Mar; Volume 30, Issue 1: pages 2-7).

One effect testosterone treatment has on male patients that is not talked about as much is the negative effect it has on fertility –specifically the decrease in sperm production.  When men take testosterone therapy, the release of gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) are all affected.  This change in hormones affects the production of sperm -known as spermatogenesis.   This often results in very low sperm counts or even azoospermia (no sperm in the ejaculate).  Sperm motility is also negatively affected creating slow or non-motile sperm.  If sperm is present, IVF (in vitro fertilization) with ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is typically the best treatment option.  During IVF with ICSI, eggs that have been retrieved from a patient are fertilized with sperm outside the body. The resulting embryos are then cultured for subsequent freezing and/or transfer to a uterus. If there is no sperm present in the ejaculate, testicular sperm extraction may be an option.

For more information regarding treatment options that are available, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii 808-545-2800 or visit our website at https://www.ivfcenterhawaii.com.




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