Treatment recommendations for men with age-related low testosterone vary. In 2020, the American College of Physicians recommended that health care providers consider starting testosterone treatment after explaining the risks and benefits in men with sexual dysfunction who want to improve their sexual function. In 2018, the Endocrine Society recommended testosterone therapy for men with age-related low testosterone who have signs and symptoms associated with low testosterone. Some experts also recommend offering testosterone treatment to men with age-related low testosterone without the presence of signs or symptoms.
If you choose to start testosterone therapy, your health care provider will explain the ways to administer testosterone, as well as target levels and follow-up testing.
For some men, testosterone therapy relieves bothersome signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency. For others, the benefits aren’t clear, and risks are possible.
Though further research is needed, testosterone therapy might stimulate growth of metastatic prostate and breast cancer. Testosterone therapy also can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and contribute to the formation of blood clots in the veins.
Your health care provider likely will recommend against starting testosterone therapy if your fertility is important in the near future or if you have conditions such as breast or prostate cancer, untreated severe obstructive sleep apnea, uncontrolled heart failure or thrombophilia, or if you’ve recently had a heart attack or stroke.
If you think you might have low testosterone, talk to your health care provider about your signs and symptoms, testing and possible treatment options. Your health care provider can help you weigh the pros and cons of treatment. — Compiled by Mayo Clinic staff
(Mayo Clinic Q & A is an educational resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. E-mail a question to MayoClinicQ&A@mayo.edu. For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.org.)
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