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Men's Health

Experts Call Male Menopause a Myth

Not All Men Will Need Testosterone Replacement Therapy
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Testosterone Risks

Buyer beware, Anawalt says. "It’s easy to get testosterone off the Internet or from people who have low standards for prescribing it. Many men are started for questionable reasons, and their dose keeps getting ratcheted up," he says.

Some doctors are also prescribing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to stimulate testosterone production. HCG is sometimes used to treat women’s fertility problems and is at the center of the controversial HCG diet.

"HCG should not be used for testosterone replacement," Anawalt says. "This raises a lot of red flags."

"The best thing men can do is not start testosterone therapy unless they have been fully evaluated by an endocrinologist or knowledgeable internist," he says.  

Henry Anhalt, DO, an endocrinologist in Hackensack, N.J., agrees that the indiscriminate use of testosterone supplements is risky business.

"There is a role for testosterone replacement therapy in those who are evaluated by an endocrinologist and who understand the issues around lab testing," he says. "The abuse of testosterone in both older people and younger people is rampant. It could be very very dangerous.'

 Risks may include:

  • Shrinkage of testes
  • Decrease in HDL "good" cholesterol levels
  • Acne
  • Prostate gland enlargement

Second Opinion

Jed Diamond, PhD, contends that male menopause isn’t a myth. “In my opinion, it is very real,” he says. Diamond is the director of MenAlive, a male health program in Willits, Calif. He’s also the  author of Male Menopause and Surviving Male Menopause.

"The term itself is not literally accurate," he says. "Men don’t have a menstrual cycle so they don’t stop having one. Hormonal, physical, and psychological changes do occur in men at midlife."

"Testosterone is not something we do for every man," Diamond says. "Not all men need it or would benefit from it."

Other treatments including counseling may also help men cope with the symptoms of this time of life.

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