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Study: Testosterone May Not Treat ED

Researchers Say Testosterone Replacement Therapy May Not Be Helpful for Erectile Dysfunction

Checking for Low Levels of Testosterone

Part of the problem is that men are getting their testosterone from non-expert sources, including their buddies in the gym and online, says Joseph P. Alukal, MD. He is an assistant professor of urology and the director of male reproductive health at New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Testosterone replacement does have a role in treating some men with erectile dysfunction who also have low levels of the hormone, he says. "Testosterone is one of the treatments we have, but it's not the only one."

The first step is to measure a man's testosterone levels to see if they are low. This needs to be done on more than one occasion to make sure the results are accurate, he says.

If levels are low, and there are no other health problems that may be causing the problems with sexual functioning, testosterone replacement therapy is an option, Alukal tells WebMD.

In some men, ED can be a red flag for heart problems. In these cases, men will likely need to see a cardiologist, he says.

"Hormones are powerful," Alukal says. "They have tremendous benefits and significant risks, so to go on them requires proper monitoring by a physician who understands their risks and benefits and knows how to monitor men."

Doctors who prescribe testosterone should monitor the prostate gland closely, he says.

"We know that there is some relationship between testosterone and the growth of the prostate and the development of prostate cancer, but we don't fully understand the relationship," Alukal tells WebMD.

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